Mile Marker

Mileage 5
Time 6PM
Location Indoors – Treadmill
Weather Cold

Felt really great tonight during my 5 miler. There was a Star Wars marathon going on TV (the first three unfortunately) so I turned off the volume and listened to an episode of Phedippidations. I have not listened to Steve for a while actually since hid rant about Jenny McArthy and vaccinations in his episode # 200. He seems to be against the ropes as far as the future of his podcast (questioning his own future) but I think he underestimates the number of people who listen because he is controversial and not just a boring ‘I ran this much today’ podcaster. I for one will continue to listen as I enjoy his opinions even though I don;t alway agree with them.

A Quick Five Miler

I had a long day today with a few deadlines to meet. One customer was going live with a new system we installed and I was on call remotely (they are in Calgary, AB), while another customer needed some changes to an existing system for a new group that is coming online for them. The go live went very smooth with just one frantic phone call which turned out to be an admin error (she was pointing to a test server instead of the new live production box). I assured her all was well, pointed her in the right direction and let her know that mistakes like that are normal. We sometimes get overly excited and nervous about a brand new system, even though we have done lots of testing and UAT.

The customer was on Mountain time so I was on call till about 6:00 my time and still had to package up some changes for the second customer so I could do some testing that night and Saturday. That meant I would not get my run in until almost 8, which is close to my do not run after rule. If this was Saturday night, I could break that rule as I could sleep in on Sunday, but I have class tomorrow morning so  no such luck.

I was able to get in a quick 5 miles on the treadmill and it felt very good. All the pain I had in my ankle is completely gone and I no longer feel or hear the creaking that I had following the marathon. It has taken 3 weeks to rid myself of the pain and swelling so the doctors estimate was pretty close (he estimated 4-6 weeks).

My run took place during the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympics so I had that turned on with the volume off (I recorded it for later viewing as well) and was listening to my This Week in Google podcast. I did get a bit of a speed boost as I watched the US athletes enter the stadium. The look of pride and excitement on their faces made my exertion feel very minimal. I am amazed by the dedication and sacrifice many of them have to make in order to achieve that level of athletic ability. I wish them all the best of luck and I will be cheering for them during my workouts over the next 10 days.

Shielded Metal Arc Welding we were introduced to Shielded Metal Arc Welding. The first two and a half hours of class were concepts and video demos while the second hour and a half was actual hands on practice time. The flow of this new process took a little getting used to compared to last weeks Oxy process. SMAW requires a consumable metal rod instead of just a flame from a torch. With Oxy you just need to worry about keeping the flame the correct distance as you move across the work. With SMAW, the rod is used up (deposited) onto the work surface, so your hand(s) are getting closer and closer to the work as you use up your rod. It took a little getting used to but after about 30 minutes I was comfortable moving left to right (I am right handed) while constantly getting closer to the work surface while keeping the arc (electric spark or heat source) 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the work.

I mentioned yesterday that I listen to podcasts while I run but a process like welding would not be conducive to a distraction like that. I have to tell myself (in my head so people don’t think I am talking to myself) to go slow and keep moving the rod in…. go slow and keep moving the rod in. Trying to concentrate on spoken word would make it impossible for me to keep the correct distance and speed to produce anything other than a worthless blob line on the metal. The only acceptable background music might be classical which is calming and does not require focus to enjoy. But even that kind of music would only be audible between welds. The unavoidable distraction produced by the welding process is the bright glow of the arc and the sizzling bacon sound that it makes which drowns out all other sounds. Its a good thing that it does not SMELL like bacon or we would need to keep taking snack breaks. The glow of the arc actually helps me relax and I think, lets me slow down a bit more than I normally would. Time will tell if I need to adjust my perception of the glow as a help or hindrance.

Happy Birthday to my lovely wife who turns just one year older today. She surely does not look her age (you look much younger dear) since she is a runner as well, and her daily mileage keeps her young and really puts my mileage to shame. We are on our third treadmill (because of usage not age) and are still searching for a good durable home model (read not commercial type expensive). If anyone has a suggestion for an inexpensive durable model (if such a thing exists)I would appreciate a comment with usage experience over at least a year or two. Thanks in advance.

Tomorrow my mileage increases by the 10% rule.

Two In A Row

Had another great run today on my road to recovery. It was just a short 4 miler but I felt really good and I did not break the two rules I broke on Wednesday night (tonight I started the run at 6:30 pm and waited till after the workout to eat). Not being so rushed makes a big difference in my attitude towards the run and allows me to concentrate on what I need to accomplish.

Wednesday I talked about using my iPod and Nike+ to help track my progress and crank through some of the podcasts I listen to. The Nike Running site, which is where you upload your workout data from the ipod, has added some really nice motivational features in the last year. In particular, I like the goals section where you can set a goal for yourself and track your progress on line. You can challenge yourself to run faster, run farther, run more often, burn calories or set a coaching program for yourself. The coaching section is helpful if you are training for a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon or some other custom distance.

The challenges section allows you to participate in pre built challenges like the January challenge to rack up the most miles in one month per team. In this case, team participation was determined by the state you live in. Other challenges let you select the team you wanted to run for, like you alma mater if it is a college based challenge.  I just joined one that challenges you to run 210 miles in 2010. You can also create your own challenge and invite the public to participate.

Once I get rolling with the Nike add on, I like to listen to podcasts via headphones or some small computer speakers that I Velcroed to the treadmill. Tonight it was ‘Buzz Out Loud (BOL)’, one of the many great CNET technology podcasts you can find at BOL is usually just over an hour long so I can get a nice 10K in per episode including a warm up and cool down. I have a backlog of podcasts left over from my injury time so I have a bit of catching up to do. I plan on squeezing in a few audio books as well that I have form I will post a review of those in my book section once I finish each book. You can’t beat feeding the mind and the body at the same time.

On The Road (Treadmill) Again

I finally got back in the swing of things after my marathon induced deltoid ligament injury. I was able to squeeze in some time on the hotel treadmill following a client site visit, but I broke two of my basic rule of training.

  1. Don’t eat right before you run
  2. Don’t run after 8pm

Breaking these rules resulted in a very painful return to my road to recovery. I returned from the client at 8:30 and was dying to work up a sweat so I got changed and headed down to the exercise room for a quick 5K. The exercise room was just one treadmill and one bike but it was good enough to stay my craving for a workout.  The treadmill was angled so I could see the TV for some no volume distraction, but I could also see myself in a full wall of floor to ceiling mirrors. That was pretty depressing. I knew I felt heavy from not running full on for almost 3 weeks but the giggle factor was not very attractive, at least not for a guy. I felt like and it looked like I had swallowed a small balloon which was hovering just below my rib cage. The bloat from dinner was very distracting and I felt like I was working harder to cover the usual distance at my usual speed. Sure I have lost much of my capacity (you can loose up to 70% of you training capacity if you stop your workouts for 1 month) but the recent meal was just messing up my focus.

I always travel with my 4GB 3rd gen iPod and a Nike+ add on for my shoes so I can multitask and catch up on the podcasts I subscribe to. I don’t believe you can regularly multitask as you are dividing your attention or time slicing instead doing two or more things at the same time. Running requires very little concentration so it does allow me to focus my attention on something else and podcasts are perfect for that activity. Pacing is the only thing that usually requires my concentration. If any part of my body wants me to pay attention I know pretty quick and I can focus on that ache or pain instantly then get back to the podcast if I determine it is not urgent or a threat. I had just a tiny bit of swelling in the previously bad ankle and no noticeable pain so all in all, a good return to my training.

I am looking forward to the races in 2010 and want to get some of my old friends involved. If any of you in the Chicago area want to get off that couch and join in, there are many great local running clubs that can help you with that goal. I highly recommend Dick Pond Athletics and Runner’s Grove as sources for encouragement and mentoring. See you on the road.