Friday, July 23, 2010

L11 Day 13 & 14

This jog was good because I finally conquered Cotton Mills Road.  Its hills aren't that bad, but there are several of them, and combined with the heat and humidity, I hadn't been able to put it all together.

Then I went back to Burke Lake.  This time, I had my #$*&# handed to me.  But, it was one of the hottest days on record, so I decided to cut myself some slack.  (Nevertheless, my *(&$#% was most certainly handed to me!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

L11 Day 11 & 12 - Night and Day

After my weekend jogs, I kept going with jogs on Monday night and Tuesday morning.  For Monday night, I decided to make it short (5 km / 3.11 miles) and easy (140 avg heart rate):

It rained on me the last quarter mile or so, but just a light sprinkle.  Too little and too late for any cooling effect.  If I recall it was 86° when I started.  Then, early the next morning, I embarked on my first ever interval workout.

I programmed it on my computer and then exported the workout to my Garmin.  Then, it spent the next hour telling me what to do and when to do it.  Sadly, I misprogrammed the warm-up and cool-down to say "try to stay in zone 2".  So the watch beeped at me for the 1.4 miles to the track and the 1.4 miles back (I can't jog with a zone 2 heart rate!).  But, the important stuff went well: jogging six faster quarter-mile intervals separated by 2:15 minute recovery jogs.  If you click on the stats picutre, you can read what my pace was for each of the six.  It ranged from an 8:45 pace to a 9:15 pace.  All of them well below my 5K pace of 10:23.

On the last interval, I was thinking "Make it good, because I may not do anymore workouts like this one."  But, five minutes later on the jog home, I was thinking "Hmmm, that wasn't so bad."  This is certainly the most distinctive HR chart I've produced to date:

I've got to read a book to figure out what this workout is supposed to do for me.  But, in the meantime, I've got to confess a mistake I made on the way back.

After I got off the track, I started to jog across the street.  I had my hand up ... I think I was thanking the lady in the truck for slowing down so I could scamper across.  Well, then she slams on her brakes and started doing the "I'm not happy with you" thing.  Oops, guess I only imagined that she was slowing down for me. So, I pantomimed the "Please forgive this sorry idiot" thing.  She readily accepted and I jogged on without a concern in my head.  Had I just been walking, I would have been shaking or something.  But, after six quarters, it seemed to be inconsequential.  Note to self: don't run out in front of vehicles! In all, I did 5.25 miles, and decided to take Wednesday off.  Both ankles were a bit sore immediately after the workout, but after a few hours they both felt peachy and my legs are revved and ready for Thursday.

Here is how often I've been jogging lately.  The calendar is starting to get a little red!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

L11 Day 10 - Monumental

To start this day's jog, I drove all the way to just north of the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, to a park called Gravelly Point Park which is along the Mount Vernon Trail.  I got there right at six, and the entrance had a sawhorse across it, but the exit was not blocked, so in I went.  At this point, you're only a few football fields away from the planes, but it was early enough that there weren't any landing.  (They were taking off to the south.)

I had read online that there were facilities, so I ... um ... came prepared to use them.  Horrifically, there were only about five extremely used porta-potties.  Yours truly did not touch anything except the door! I managed to escape without barfing, so I decided to think things were off to a good start.

I jogged a couple of miles, under a slew of bridges, past the Navy and Marine Memorial, to the Arlington Memorial Bridge.  This bridge symbolizes the North and South reuniting after the Civil War; and it points directly to the Lincoln Memorial.

I would go right around the Lincoln Memorial, right past the World War II Memorial, touch the shadow of the Washington Monument, and go around the tidal basin to the Jefferson Memorial.

But first, I've got to tell you about this weird creepy feeling that I got.  I was running through trees on the south side of the Lincoln Memorial.  In the heavy shade, I see these oddly dressed people standing stone still.  I knew what it was, but it still gave me all-over goosebumps.  It's the Korean War Memorial.  The picture below does no justice to the angle, light, and feeling I felt.  I'll have to go with a camera someday.

I have to advise people over four foot tall to not attempt to jog right around the edge of the tidal basin.  Turns out those Cherry tree branches are pretty low.  Also the sidewalks are very slanted, and water occasionally covers most of the concrete.  After going around the south side of the Jefferson Memorial, it was time to merge onto the 14th Street Bridge.  (It's the left-most one in the picture.)

After the bridge, you're right back on the Mount Vernon Trail about a mile north of Gravelly Point.  Even in the last mile I didn't pick up the pace.  I knew I was going super slow, but I also knew I was going to go all the way without stopping.  In this muggy weather (75°; 85% humidity) that is victory enough.

Because I believed this park had real facilities, I brought a change of clothes.  Needless to say, there's zero chance of me even looking in the direction of those porta-potties.  I probably shouldn't say a whole lot about how I managed to dry off and change, but I will volunteer that the passenger seat of my Audi goes way, way back.

In all, I did six miles without a walk break and without getting lost!  My average heart rate was only 142, so I was nice and comfy the whole time.  (Except for the buckets of sweat dripping off me.)  Here is the standard set of jogging documentation:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

L11 Day 8 & 9 - STOP-N-GO

Well, on occasion I STOP during a run with all the heat and humidity - and Thursday was no exception.  But today (Saturday), I was able to GO the distance.

Thursday's Jog

I just tooled around the neighborhood for four miles.  It was dusk when I got back home.  There was actually a slight breeze, and during my walking break I got a creepy cool/clammy feeling.  Jogging the 1.25 miles back home was easy.  Always easier when the direction is homeward.  It was 85° with 72% humidity. 

Saturday's Jog

I didn't really pop off the pillow on this morning, and I decided to jog a little bit later in the morning: 8 AM.  I went back to Burke Lake for the first time in 2.5 months.  If you are ever nearby, I encourage you to check it out (link).  The temperature started at 80° with 80% humidity.

At about 2.5 miles in, I started arguing with myself a bit over whether or not to take a little walk break.  I won the argument, and jogged all the way around the lake.  My legs and breathing were always comfortable, but it was around that time (2.5 miles) that my hat began a nice steady drip.  The drip always seemed to hit my right hand.  There were a ton of people jogging and walking around out there.  And, jogging through the trees around the lake is very pleasant.  I shouldn't have waited 2.5 months to be back out here.  But the reason I waited is that I had taken a walk break out here and had felt kind of jinxed.  But, this time, I took it easy and talked myself into a jog I could be content with.  Here is a history of my outings to Burke Lake:

As you can see, I went faster this time - and I most certainly was not trying to be faster.  The first three April sessions were done in the mid-50s; the 4/18 jog was at 72°; and the 5/1 jog was at 83° but the humidity was only 45%.  And lastly, my heart rate was only 146 on average.  That's right where I want it.

I jogged five days this week, and racked up 21.2 miles.  One highlight was jogging across the Wilson Bridge from Virginia to Maryland, and the other was my successful reunion at Burke Lake.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

L11 Day 6 & 7 - Experimentation

When summer started getting bad, my performance seemed to go a bit down hill.  I started jogging very early in the morning.  My heart rate is higher for a given amount of work, I seem sluggish, and I've turned into a 'quitter' (don't tell nobody - but my eight mile runs seem to be history!).  So, over the past couple of days I've done some experimentation and I've looked to regain my mojo.

Monday Night's Jog

One thought was "Hey, I'm a night person".  I have no business getting up at 5 am every morning.  My body isn't awake yet, no wonder jogging got hard.  So, I went jogging on Monday night.  Rain had just cleared away, and it was relatively cool.  (72° and 90% humidity).  Well, let me tell you ... this run sucked.  Thus, I conclude that it is the humidity plus temperature that's thrown me into a tailspin.

Tuesday Night's Jog

When I got home from work, it started to rain HARD.  So, I sat at the table and ate dinner with the family like the typical non-super-hero runner dude.  Well, as soon as the chicken hit the bottom of my stomach, I'm starting to get that hankering for a jog.  But, now it's dark outside - what to do??

Yep, I resort to that zillion dollar treadmill in the basement.  And there were so many firsts associated with this workout:

1:  I used a fan.  I had it blowing hard up on my right side.  I could drift back a couple of feet on the belt for maximum cooling effect.  It was pretty sweet, and made me wonder why in the fudge I'd never taken advantage of it before.

2:  I drank some water during the jog.  I basically have to hold my breath for 10 seconds to get an airlock on the bottle and get a good swallow down.  And it probably takes me twenty-five seconds to recover from the trauma of trying to drink water on the jog.  But, I figure it's good practice if I ever decide to go for distance running.

3:  I never slowed the treadmill down.  I started at 5.1 mph and towards the end I went to 5.3, 5.5, and then 6.0.  (I did 6.0 mph for less than a minute.)  The entire exercise was done at an incline of 1%.

4: I used my Garmin in a non-GPS mode.  I told it I was indoors and wore the heart rate strap.  Like a dolt, I waited over a minute to turn the Garmin on.  I jogged 5K, but it took 36 minutes, not the 34:30 that the graph below shows.

It makes sense that my heart rate went up towards the end, because I punched in faster speeds.  But, I'm not sure why it drifted up between 10 and 27 minutes.  I was watching my Mamas and Papas DVD ... so it may have been Michelle Phillips.  I'm looking at footage of her from when I was a baby ... and I'm thinking about building a time machine.  In the words of the group's tenor, Denny Doherty, she was "the slurp of the century".  Now, I'm not going to interpret that statement.  But, nevertheless, I am going to agree with it wholeheartedly.


So, I've concluded that I'm not necessarily a night person.  I don't do too well in humidity.  And, the treadmill isn't really all too terribly bad.

And ...

I have now jogged five days in a row!!!  Yes, it's another first ... and best of all, I feel good.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ah, So in Love!

No offense Safeway ...

Nor to you, dear Giant ...

But, I am so in love with you Wegmans!

They have zillions of wines, cheeses, chocolates, meats, veggies, fruits, ethnic foods, pastries, breads, drink mixes.  'It's like Six Flags for stomachs' - said me.

~ Here is a sampling of the treats I got there yesterday ~

Scrumptious dark chocolates with Black Currant; Manjari Orange; Cayenne Pepper; Cinnamon; and Red, Pasilla, Guajilo, Ancho, and Chipotle Peppers!!

This is a sampling of what I bought as far as Indian Cuisine goes.  Tami went to dream dinners yesterday, but I told her my dream dinner was sitting on the counter in an Indian version of a MRE (Meal, Ready-to-Eat).  I had half a Palak Paneer and half of a Navratan Kurma.  Add in a slice of bread with spicy hummus, and a half cup of teeny-tiny tomatoes, and it was ... in the immortal words of Dora's backpack ...

Mucho Delicioso!!!

And my lunch today?  It was exactly the same!  Alrighty, time to take the kids to see Despicable Me.  I've jogged three days in a row, and aside from my left ankle, everything feels pretty good.  I'm taking a few days to get through each chocolate bar, so I should really start making progress on the weight loss now.  At least my fingers are crossed.

(If you haven't, you might want to take a look at the last post ... it was a pretty cool route, going from Virginia to Maryland and back via the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge.)

L11 Day 5 - The Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge

I've jogged the last two days, but the weather is relatively good with temperatures in the lower 70s and humidity also in the 70s (early in the morning).  So, I decided to treat myself to a new course since I've been shuffling along in the neighborhood for awhile.  My boss recommended this particular stretch, and I've got to admit - it was very excellent.

I started on the Mount Vernon Trail about a mile south of the bridge.  Here is a couple of pictures to give you an idea of what it looked like.

Next up, you turn right on the north side of the bridge and start heading over to Maryland.  It's neat seeing the planes floating overhead on their way to Ronald Regan Washington National Airport, a name that is almost bigger than the airport itself!  There is a lot of touristy stuff on the bridge with sings and free telescopes.  It is a tremendous view.  And, if you ever need any adrenaline, just imagine being tossed off ... it's a long ways down to that river - yikes! 

From where you get on the bridge to where you jog up in circles to cross over and exit the bridge is 1.3 miles.  National Harbor is about a mile from the bridge's exit.  All-in-all, it was about 3.5 miles from where I started to finishing on the pier.  Here's the view from National Harbor and some interesting art.

I jogged another mile back to the bridge, and took a breather at 4.5 miles.  That's farther than I've gotten in the last few jogs, so that's good.  I jogged the bridge part that's over water (one mile) and then had an interesting conversation with a man who had run out of gas on the bridge.  The path is behind the sound-proof glass on the right side of the picture.

Then, once I turned south off the bridge, I jogged the last 3/4ths of a mile back to the car. All told I did 6.25 miles jogging and 3/4ths of a mile walking.  And when I got home, my daughter was still asleep!