Monday, May 31, 2010

L10 Day 25 - Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

For Memorial Day weekend, Tami and I took the kids to Rehoboth Beach.  We'd never been before, and we had a great time.  In fact, the first day there (Friday the 28th), I got several compliments on my tie-dye shirt.  I later learned that rainbow colored shirts are sported by a good number of beach visitors.  To learn more about this aspect of Rehoboth Beach, you can click here.  Or, you can take my word for it - there are numerous places that cater to the GLBT community:

But, I must say that everyone is very well behaved and I couldn't care less about what other people do in designated areas, so we all had a fabulous time.  Here is the view from our hotel:

We stayed at the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel, which has to be the best place on the beach.  It makes the other hotels look like concrete block bomb shelters from the 1950s.  The service was great, and the Victorian decor was unique.  The kids loved the exotic birds in the lobby.

The hotel has a good restaurant, but half the fun on these trips is to explore the space. The first night, we went to Fins Fish House and Raw Bar.  It was worth the wait.  The only place we ate twice at was Mariachi Restaurant.  We used to live in Tucson, and since moving to Northern Virginia, we hadn't run across Mexican food this good.  The best breakfast award goes to Retro Cafe.  Max had French Toast with M&Ms.  The pancakes were superb.

We ate like pigs - everyday, all day.  Ice cream, french fires, gyros - right next to the beach.  We had room service deliver decent wines at night with some crab dip. 

By far, the kid's favorite attraction wasn't the beach.  It wasn't watching Daddy fly a kite.  And somehow, it wasn't even the french toast with M&Ms.  It was Funland.  Here they are riding in a traffic jam of helicopters:

I rode it with each of them for their first time.  And we also did bumper cars.  But, they mostly enjoyed playing the games of skill and luck.  I played too, winning numerous stuffed animals for the kids.  I'm number 4 below, on my emergency trip to the outhouse.  I won a sheep.

Here's Elaine and Max after a couple three trips to Funland:

Now for the jogging ...

My left hip had been a bit strained, so I let it rest until Monday morning.  I jogged for 3.6 miles in 45 minutes, three miles of it was on the boardwalk.  There were a good number of joggers out there, and I thought I fit in pretty well.  I didn't wear the Garmin, I wore my dress watch for time and used Google Earth afterwards.  It was about 70° and 91% humidity.  We put my clothes in a plastic bag for the long drive back to DC - the traffic was the pits because we didn't leave early enough.

I enthusiastically recommend Rehoboth Beach.  It was crowded, fun, safe, and easy on the eyes.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

L10 Day 24 - Cool Shades

When it comes to exercise and diet, I'm not very consistent.  For example, I ate a bucket of chicken over the last 24 hours.  But, if there is any constant in this year's journey, it is bling.  After work I picked up my cool shades.  Despite not looking a thing like Jack Nicholson, I know I'm channeling him mentally:

It was fairly miserable out there.  And I'd bet a sibling that the humidity was actually in the seventies.

Accordingly, my plan was to take it easy, and not just because the weather.  I'm taking a long Memorial Day weekend, and I want to get in a nice long jog during that mini-vacation.  So, I want my body and mind to be nice and chipper.  Secondly, I got a couple of miles on concrete this past Sunday and a lot of mileage in the past few weeks, so it's time to dial it back.  I hope to get to a point where I'm less hobbled between runs and/or at the start of runs.

For the first time since receiving my Garmin, I didn't look at it while I was jogging.  I heard it beep every quarter mile, but I didn't look a single time.  My thoughts were "take it easy", "keep an external focus", etc.

I did 3.54 miles at a 4.8 mph pace, average heart rate was 140.  I'm surprised at how fast my first half mile was, given that I was honestly just being comfy.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

L10 Day 23 - Hill on Old Bridge Road

I got a couple of new shirts and socks yesterday, and picked a bright orange Adidas shirt for my mission of conquering one of the worst hills in Woodbridge:  The hill on Old Bridge Road.  I got a late start, thanks to staying up too late, and it was 70° out with a humidity at 90% when I started at 10:30.  Here is some information on the hill:

This is six sidewalk squares from the storm drain, which is pretty much the lowest elevation at 125 feet.  In four-tenths of a mile, with a constant grade it will be at 275 feet.  The other side of the road is unjoggable, so I had significant mileage on concrete.

I didn't feel too comfortable thanks to the humidity, and while going down Minnieville, I elected to make my run less than epic by cutting back to Colby to get to Old Bridge.  On the other hand, it's nice to snap off a run and still be able to get six miles out of it.  When I got back to Old Bridge, I walked the hill up.  Some combination of humidity and mind fog simply was not in the mood.  In cooler, drier conditions I'm sure I would have kept going and I wouldn't have been back to that stretch of Old Bridge.

As you can see, that mean old hill got my heart rate up to 160+ for a good stretch.

I don't really have any excuses for why the last mile was so slow.  When I got home, I was ushered to the basement where my clothes were slung over a shower rod.  I just sat there, staring at the clothes dripping.  they're still pretty wrecked!

So, I didn't get an awesome pace or an epic distance, but I conquered a tough hill and broke into some new neighborhood areas that I can explore in the future.  That will have to do.

Friday, May 21, 2010

L10 Day 22 - Thanks, Ben Brenman!

I treadmilled last night with 1 mile at 7% incline and 1 mile at an 8% incline, then I walked a little bit of a cooldown.  I'm thinking it would be good for the legs to mix in some walking.  But, that treadmill is something of a chore. (45 minutes, 400+ calories)

Anyhow, my plan was to go jogging ultra early today (Friday).  I didn't set the alarm early, because I was confident I would wake up without it.  Sure enough, I did, and at 5 am.  I just ate a South Beach Living peanut butter bar, and headed out the door.  I got to Holmes Run at a few minutes after six.


Just before I started jogging, I realized that this getting up early business had made me forget about doing some personal business.  "No problem", thought I, "after a mile or so I'll forget all about it."  That turned out to be correct until the 2 mile mark, where instead of jogging in place and waiting for a light to change, I did an about face.  No sense in pressing my luck.

But at about three miles, I felt pretty good again.  Having shortened my jog, I steered across a footbridge to Ben Brenman park to find some more mileage. I had been hoping for 6.7 miles this morning.

After about one-half lap around the park, I had a "Houston, we've got a problem" feeling.  Fortunately, this park had the solution, which is the heavenly little building in the upper left corner.  It was a blessed moment when the door turned out to be unlocked!

I hit the lap button so as to fuse the two jogging segments together, as might be noticeable in the heart rate chart below.  This might be a little crass, but I like to think of the first segment as BC and the last segment AD.  That stands for Before Crap and After Dump.

Despite all the adversity and form-killing tenseness, I still managed an 11:40 pace.  The funniest thing is how chipper I was for laps 20, 21, and 22.  All together, I did 5.56 miles in 1:04:55 (5.13 mph, 11:40 pace).  Any max lap speeds about 15 mph indicate when I was in the tunnels.  The temperature ranged from 58° to 65° during the run, and the humidity was crazy 80s or worse.

~ Note to Self ~
Next time this shuttle will not launch unless all systems are go.
(Or have gone.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

L10 Day 21 - New 5K Record!!

Conditions: 59° F with a 75% humidity and a cool, but moderate breeze.  I had spent most of the day thinking I wouldn't run, but in the late afternoon my legs got that "ding" that said they were ready to go.  (By the "ding", I mean all of the sudden I realize that my legs don't feel tight and hobbled.)

I mapped a new course, that adds an out-n-back on a new street to my normal neighborhood stuff.  I started the jog at 7:31 PM, which doesn't give me too much time before sundown.

The first mile: 10:44 (and I felt okay, maybe huffing a little bit)
The second mile: 10:59
The third mile: 11:10 (half of this was down, the other was up)
The 5K time: 34:03  (38s better than previous record, 10:57 pace)

Now I'm going to show a chart from this run and the previous 5K record run, and see if you can spot anything significantly different:



Yep - today my average heart rate was 148, last month it was 158!

In total I did 5.3 miles at a 11:03 pace (5.4 mph) with an average heart rate of 148.  I know I'm silly-slow in the grand scheme of things, but I felt energetic and I felt like I was running (except lap 13, where I recovered a bit).

I've been tracking all my runs at RunningAhead, and I classified this run as "easy" - not because I thought it was really easy, but because my heart rate wasn't at a race tempo.

And I'm still wondering.  If my heart rate was 164, could my breathing keep up?  But mostly I'm celebrating tonight.  This was the best run I've had in awhile.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

L10 Day 20 - Merry-Go-Round #2

Today's run wasn't the greatest.  I didn't take advantage very well on the down hill sections, and I just wasn't in the game mentally.  My heart rate got clear down into the lower 130s.  In fact, 10 of 24 laps were in the 130s.  I was 4 minutes slower on this course than last time, or 0.3 mph, or 8 beats per minute.  I'm starting to wonder not only how fast I would go at 165 bpm, but even if I have the will power to exercise that strenuously anymore.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

L10 Day 19 - Kelsey's Crew

On the last Sunday of April, I did my first fundraising/charity walk for the March of Dimes (link).  Today, I involved the whole family in my second fundraising walk - this time for the National Arthritis Foundation.  My company's Chief Operating Officer has a daughter with arthritis.  Thanks to an early diagnosis (18 months), smart doctors, and given that Kelsey is a real trooper - things are looking good.  Kelsey is a teenager these days.

We walked a mile around the Washington Monument, then did a two-mile lap that took us to the Lincoln Memorial and back around the Washington Monument.

I held my daughter's hand most of the way.  After the first lap, she grabbed a bagel.  She nibbled on that thing for a good mile, and on the last mile she started wanting to sit on the park benches. Poor little pooka.  Both Elaine (8) and Max (6) made that entire 5K distance.  Max was wiped!  Strangely enough, my legs felt a bit tired.  I think I'll wait until tomorrow to dial up another jogging session.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

L10 Day 18 - Neighborhood Jaunt

I got back from my Boston trip just soon enough to sneak in a little run around the neighborhood.  This run was interesting to me for three reasons:

First:  My average heart rate and my maximum heart rate was identical to my 8.45 mile run in Boston.  But, the asphalt surface of this run enabled me to go 1/2 mph faster. (5.3 vs. 4.8 mph)

Second:  I scored my second-fastest 5K time at 35:28.  (My fastest so far is 34:41.)

Third:  I was breathing a 2-2 rythym, and it seemed like I was working hard.  But, I realized I didn't need to be breathing that hard and I started working on de-coupling breathing rate from footfall rate.

It's very nice to feel that a 40 minute jog is a short one!!

In my fastest 5K my average heart rate was 158 and my average speed was 5.4.  Today, my average speed was 5.3 and my average heart rate was 142.  The courses weren't identical, so I can't press this comparison too far, but I can say that today's course was hillier.  I think my friend was right - I need to just keep pouring on the miles, try to avoid my lowest granny gear, and toughen up.  My legs were not overly fresh or chipper tonight, so I'm very pleased with what I was able to do.

L10 Day 17 - Battle Road

I stayed in a hotel near Lexington, Mass these past couple of nights, and on Tuesday night I went jogging in a park called the Minuteman National Historic Park.  It was pretty awesome.  Here is the map. This is the old road that goes between Lexington and Concord.  It's where Paul Revere was riding and was captured.  There are a ton of landmarks along the way and a few gravestones of "British soldiers are buried somewhere around this spot".  There is preserved architecture and a preserved farm from those very distant days.

I got kind of a late start, and by the time I got back to where I had begun it was dark.  So dark I couldn't find the little feeder trail back to the hotel:

Oh great, I'm lost without money or ID in a strange state.  I'm cold, tired, and hungry - practically shaking at a combination of those three things.

I gave up on finding the trail and started walking streets.  Narrow awful streets without sidewalks.  Somehow, I had dead-reckoned correctly.  It was such a relief to find the hotel.  I ordered a pizza and a movie and afterwards crashed like a rock star.  I'm not sure what that means, but I crashed like Bandicoot. Like the stock market did in '29.  Like a Zildjian symbol.

What's interesting to me is how my effort went down so dramatically.  But even when my heart rate was down in the 130s, I was doing 4.5 mph.

In total, I did 8.45 miles at a 12:25 pace (4.8 mph speed).  This is a new distance record for me! My average heart rate was 142 and my max heart rate was 152.  These two numbers will be important for the next post.  The surface was sandy gravel.  I did 15 of the first 16 laps at 5 mph or better, so I really slowed down on the way back.

This was an awesome trail, and I hope to visit it again some time.  The weather was a little nippy at 57°, and speaking of nips, I really should have had the anti-chafe for that run.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

L10 Day 16 - Woodbridge Merry-Go-Round

I designed a new course for today's jog.  And, I've got to admit, I designed a wonderful course!!  This has a bit of everything Woodbridge has to offer.  You've got the busy street of Old Bridge Road - with strip malls, grocery stores, and fast food joints.  Then you've got the major county road with greenery on either side.  Next, you take a spin by some county government buildings, a minor league baseball stadium, and a BMX race course.  All of the sudden you're jogging through an affluent golf course neighborhood.  Then you segue past high-density apartments (or townhomes).  Finally, you're back in the middle-class neighborhood where you started.  It's like jogging around the game of Monopoly.  Or, at least the Woodbridge version of Monopoly.

This course had two major hills.  An 80ft hill on the Northern leg, and a 160ft hill on the final (Eastern) leg.  Each of these hills was over about 1/2-mile.  And they were each steady, consistent hills.

First and foremost: I felt wonderful during the whole jog - even on the hills!  I looked at the first 1/4-mile and didn't know what to think.  For me, starting at 2:40 can mean running out of steam later.  But, I never did.  My breathing was fine.  My eyes were looking straight ahead.  My legs were eating up the terrain like Stephen King's Langoliers.  When I stopped jogging, I didn't even feel that I was walking funny.  I just wanted to do that whole loop again.  Didn't get that runner's high or anything, but I had a super time.  I will definitely be doing this course again!  I averaged 5.1 mph and 148 bpm.  It was 62° and 15-25 mph winds - very windy but my attitude defeated the winds today.  I looked at lap times, but the first time I ever looked at distance or overall time was at 3.86 miles.

I got my wife a flatscreen TV in our bedroom for Mother's Day.  I'm hoping we can order pay-per-view and have some ka-chicka-wow-wow.

I have a trip to Boston this week.  My ambition is to jog in a very awesome park.  Weather permitting, this will happen - please keep your fingers crossed.  I really don't want to miss a jog opportunity while on travel.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Max - Workout #1

Today, it was my six-year-old's turn to have a work-out.  We went to the middle school track and Max ran an entire lap.  Then he did the 100 yard dash.  Then he ran another entire lap.  The only real dissapointment is that I couldn't get that heart rate monitor belt on him.  But, he was wearing my Garmin for the laps (see it on his arm above?)

First lap: 2:57.92 (11:52 min/mile).
100 yard dash in 32.94 seconds.
Second lap: 2:56.93 (11:48 min/mile).

Max in his 100 yard dash

Good runnin', little buddy!  When you can do four miles at that pace, you can help your poor ol' Daddy!