Thursday, August 30, 2007

C25k: Week 6, Day 2

Today is a milestone: it is the last day in the Couch to 5k program that includes intervals of walking and running. Today's routine was:

  • 5 minute warmup walk
  • 10 minute run
  • 3 minute walk
  • 10 minute run
  • 5 minute cooldown walk
From here on out it is solid running, straight through. Still with the warmup and cooldown though, of course. I'm glad to say goodbye to the intervals, because I find that when there is a walking segment a few minutes away I focus on it and it is harder to keep running. If running for a good long uninterrupted stretch of time, I'm better able to "zone" and the minutes fly by. It also means that I'll be able to move away from the C25k podcast and start running to my own music again. My first time through C25k I religiously listened to every second of the podcasts. This time, since I know the routine and what is said, I know I'm not going to be missing anything if I listen to my own music for 25 minutes, rather than Robert's.

From the Cool Running website, it looks like changes are afoot and that there is an impending corporate takeover. It may be that they will start charging for access to the C25k plan, which I think is a crazy idea. Hopefully, rational minds will prevail. Good thing I have the C25k plan reproduced in one of my first blog entries, and the One Hour Runner reproduced as well...

Update: It's been a few entries since I blogged about my run-ins with spider webs. Don't for a second think that this means that I haven't been running into webs. Rest assured, it is still happening with regularity. Twice on this morning's run, in fact. Nothing quite like this, though. Glad I don't live in Texas...

Seriously - I think I may have to start running along the beach. At least I wouldn't have to deal with all the webs, then. Then again, maybe that's not such a good idea, either.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

C25k: Week 6, Day 1

Today's run coincided with the total lunar eclipse. The eclipse started right about when I did and reached its height right as I was concluding.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, earth, and moon line up (in that order) in such a way that the earth's shadow falls against the full moon. It's not as visually stunning as a solar eclipse (earth-moon-sun, with the moon blocking the light of the sun), which is the astronomical equivalent of you (the earth) holding out your arm and blocking the sun's light with your thumb (the moon). Still, I'll take it - it was a fun distraction during the run, and unlike a solar eclipse you don't need to worry about blinding yourself while watching it. Incidentally, all lunar eclipses are also solar eclipses - if you are standing on the moon looking at the sun, that is. This whole thing got me to thinking about the difference between a lunar eclipse and the "new moon" phase of the moon, and whether they are the same thing. Turns out, they are not: The PHASES of the moon are caused strictly by the percentage of lunar surface illuminated by the sun. That in turn is determined by where the moon is in its orbit around us. On the other hand, a lunar ECLIPSE happens when Earth is directly between the sun and moon, thereby throwing a shadow across the lunar surface. Got it? There will be a quiz tomorrow.

The best part was coming back inside the house, at 5:55 AM, to wake up Zoe and Lila. I told Zoe about the lunar eclipse and explained it to her, and she ran to the window so excited to see it. She went from sleep to awe in 20 seconds.

The run itself was great - back to intervals again for this one and the next, but the third day of the week is an uninterrupted 25 minute run: something to look forward to.

Monday, August 27, 2007

C25k: Week 5, Day 3

Yesterday was The Dreaded W5D3, and it was fine. To date, all of the C25k "runs" have actually been intervals of running and walking. Yesterday, however, was the first uninterrupted 20 minute run of the program. I did it, and it was great! 20 minutes is not quite a marathon, I know, but it still feels like an accomplishment. I feel like I'm entering the home stretch of C25k. I really prefer the uninterrupted runs to the intervals that characterize the first half of the program. It also means that I'm nearer to the point that I can switch over to my own music rather than using the C25k podcast for the spoken interval prompts.

Friday, August 24, 2007

C25k: Week 5, Day 2

Another early morning run. It is starting to become a habit again, which is good. Wake up with the first alarm, at 4:25 AM. Turn off the alarm, go back to sleep until the second alarm at 4:45 AM. Go downstairs with my running kit (my shoebox containing all my running paraphernalia - shoes, clothes, reflectors, electronics, etc) and get dressed while watching 15 minutes or so worth of backlogged shows on the downstairs TiVo. This week I'm making my way through a recent "Doctor Who" episode, 15 minutes per day. Head out the door by 5:00 AM. Do the run, back in the door by 6 AM. Wake up the girls, get showered, load up the car and take them to school by 7:00 AM. Lather, rinse, repeat.

During my run this morning I noticed that the reflective/LED armband I wear on my right arm is dying. It is very hard to see it glow now - it used to have a bright neon glow visible even in daylight when turned on. Even if the lights go out completely, it will still be reflective. Nonetheless, I think I'll try to pick up a replacement at Sports Authority. I'm pretty sure that's where I got this one from.

Now, with Day 2 behind me, the uninterrupted 20-minute run of Day 3 is dead ahead. I can't wait! Speaking of wait - my weight was 172.1 this morning, so I'm headed back in the right direction again. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep the momentum going.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

C25k - Week 5, Day 1

Today was a day of Firsts:

  • First Day of Week 5 of C25k
  • First Week that the C25k routine changes multiple times within the week, rather than being the same routine for 3 times in a row.
  • First Day of School for Lila and Zoe
  • First Day back to my early morning "hit the ground running at 5AM" routine.
  • First time Lila turned 4. (Today is her 4th birthday!) Happy birthday, Lila!
The run went well. One snail stepped on, a couple of spider webs run through: so pretty much an average run. My left ankle is a little sore, but nothing too bad. One thing I had forgotten about, with these earlier runs, is the lawn sprinklers. They were on in full force as I made my way back home. Also out in full force as I rounded the final bend were lots of kids standing in the dark at their bus stops. At 5:45 AM! I don't remember being out that early as a kid. My heart goes out to them.

Since I'm now at about the half-way point of my second time through C25k, I thought I'd take a look back at my earlier blog posts to compare where I was then, as compared to now. Turns out I'm amazingly consistent. Apart from the fact that I'm slimmer now, the run itself was nearly identical. Pretty amusing, since this morning I miscalculated the timing of my half-way turnaround and wound up doing a LOT of extra walking at the end, to get back home. Looks like I did exactly the same thing the first time I did Week 5.

Today's run is on the left.
My first time through C25k run for Week 5, Day 1, is on the right.

Now that I'm in Week 5, the new annoying repeated techno song lyric of the week is spoken by a guy saying "Is this for real, or just another dream?" over and over. He should hook up with the "My love is your love, and your love is mine" lady - they'd make a good couple.

Monday, August 20, 2007

C25k: Week 4, Day 3

Week Four wrapped up this morning with an early morning run up Pinehurst. It was beautiful out! Not muggy at all, and the before-dawn air was still relatively cool. I didn't see the moon but there were plenty of stars. Picking out constellations helped distract me and allowed the time to pass as I ran. With Week 4 behind me, the 20 minute run that caps Week 5 is now dead-ahead. I've done it before, so I can do it again. I just have to keep telling myself that.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

C25k: Week 4, Day 2

Today was a weekend run through Greenacres Park, just after sunrise.

Zoe and Lila spent last night at their Nana's condo, giving us time to get the house ready for Lila's 4th birthday party this afternoon. It's going to be a Dora the Explorer-themed party. Just two kids, plus our own, but Lila (and we) are really looking forward to celebrating this milestone with her.

Have I mentioned in this blog how much I am in love with my wife? Um... according to her, I have not. So let me just say, for the record: I love you, Stacy! Seriously, I do. I ask myself every day how I managed to be so lucky. Stacy is always supportive, no matter what I do, and supporting me in my running has been no exception. She is my biggest cheerleader, and I don't know what I'd do without her.

P.S. According to her I am now forgiven and brownie points have been awarded.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

C25k - Week 4, Day 1

Week 4 Day 1 - done! My calves are aching a little bit, but not too bad. For the first time, I noticed that my left foot was starting to feel a little numb at the end of the run. Maybe I had my shoe tied too tight? That's never happened to me before. This week's C25k podcast features my favorite song from all of the 9 weeks - "Operator", by dePresleys, which I mentioned one post prior. I did this run at 5:30 AM. The kids start back at school on Wednesday next week, so I have just a few more leisurely late runs left: the second half of C25k will commence at 5:00 AM.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

C25k: Week 3, Day 3

I am so very pleased to report that on today's run I encountered a grand total of zero arachnids of any size. I only saw a half-dozen or so small mollusks, and I inhaled zero suicidal mouth-dive-bombing flying insects. This is great news to me, but no doubt it will come as a disappointment to the person that was referred to my blog the other day after doing a search for "bugs swallowed stats" on Google. My apologies to you for such an uneventful run. As it turns out, my blog is ranked #8 on Google (out of 834,000) for that particular search, coming in just below Amazon's listing for the children's book There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. I take that to mean it is time for me either to redirect my focus or to start writing a children's book about my adventures.

Today marked the end of Week 3. I almost did the beginning of Week 4, by accident, as I couldn't remember if I had already done day 3 of Week 3 or not. It was a bit of a let down to finally remember (by looking back at my blog, actually) that I had only done days One and Two. It was particularly disappointing because it meant I had one more day of listening to the Week 3 C25k podcast. While I love Robert Ullrey's podcasts and appreciate him so much for having put them together, the music on them is hit or miss for me. Some weeks contain songs that are quite catchy and have actually made it into regular rotation on my playlist (like "Operator" by dePresleys), but Week 3 contains a particularly annoying track that just keeps repeating the lyrics "My love is your love/and your love is mine" spoken by a woman with a vaguely eastern European accent. She must say it literally hundreds of times. Over and over. Argh! I'd much prefer to eat a fly than to listen to that particular song for another day. Luckily, now that I'm done with week 3, I can move on and be done with her. (Though I have a vague recollection that the song may be back on the playlist in week 8 or 9 -- something to look forward to).

EDITED TO ADD: Update! This just in! Apparently, including the phrase "bugs swallowed stats" in this post (I just did it again!) has pushed me to the number one site on Google for that phrase. Take that, Old Lady!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

C25k: Week 3, Day 2

So how many days can I post about giant spiders before I need to rename this blog "Running With Spiders" or something like that? On today's run I saw another one. Up close. Ran right into its web. It was sitting in the middle of its web, right at my eye level. I screamed a little girly-scream. This new one was just big as the other one - he's still in his spot, as well.

Enough about spiders - on to the details of my run: Did I mention I ran into a spider?

Friday, August 10, 2007

C25k: Week 3, Day 1

Today was the first day of Week 3, Day 1. Supervising my run was that same monster spider, sitting in the same place on the same web. I'm thinking about taking a camera with me on my next run so I can post a picture of it if it is there again.

The run itself was fine. I tried waking up at 5:00 AM today but that plan quickly went south. I wound up hitting the road at 6:00 AM, after falling back to sleep for an hour, which still gave me plenty of time for the run.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

C25k: Week 2, Day 3

This morning, week 2 of C25k drew to a close with an unremarkable run. That notwithstanding, here are some remarks about it:

I rolled out of bed this morning 20 minutes early - I'm trying to acclimate myself to the start of the girls' upcoming school year. I figure it will be easier to make the adjustment by waking up a little earlier each day, rather than all of a sudden. So I was a little bleary-eyed this morning, but I was shocked into full alertness just two steps out of bed as I stepped right into a puddle left courtesy of Buddy, the puppy we are dog-sitting. Lovely start to the morning.

The run itself was great. Low humidity, low snail count. Not too buggy, and no rain. I couldn't ask for better. I wore only one shirt, and that really did seem to help keep me cooler. Who'da thunk it? Right at the tail end of the run, as I was doing the final cooldown walk, I spied a ginormous spider sitting in the middle of a web which spanned the sidewalk and attached to a telephone pole. The spider was easily the size of my fist! (Well, maybe the size of my fist if you were looking at me from across a football field). But it was pretty big. I'm pretty sure it waved to me as I passed underneath its web. I'm also pretty sure that, woven into the web and sparkling in the moonlight, were the words "Some Dog," so when I came back home I decided to forgive Buddy for the wonderful wakeup he gave me.

Today's weight: 172.4
Song of the day: Itsy Bitsy Spider

Monday, August 6, 2007

C25k - Week 2, Days 1 and 2

On Saturday, I did a gentle circuit through the park as my first run of Week 2. It was so pleasant and uneventful that I forgot to blog about it later that day. No pain or soreness afterward, though I definitely felt the burn in my calves by the final run. Today, Monday morning, I did Week 2 Day 2. It, too, was pretty smooth sailing. Very muggy and buggy, but far fewer snails. I almost didn't go, because there was a lot of lightning throughout the night. The light show had mostly died down by the time I headed out at 6 AM, and by then the storm was so far away I couldn't even hear the thunder. By the end of the run I was sweating up a storm of my own, and I was grateful for the slow, fat drops of rain that started in the final leg of my run. Not enough to soak me - just enough to cool down a bit.

Winter morning runs in South Florida start cold but after running a bit you no longer feel the cold at all. Summer runs, on the other hand, start hot and stay hot. Turns out I definitely prefer the former. For my next run, I'll not wear my inner wicking tee and just wear the loose outer one. I'm sure that will make a big difference. I started the habit of double-layering when running last time around, in the winter, both for warmth and so that the inner compression shirt would help keep my fat from jiggling as I ran. This time out I don't need the warmth and my fat is gone, so it's time to lose the compression layer. W2D3, here I come.

Today's weight: 173.6 (still right about where I started, but I'm not concerned).
Bugs swallowed: 1

Friday, August 3, 2007

Rest Day

For this go-round of C25k, I've been on the fence as to deciding on a schedule to follow. The first time, I ran every other day. That was a slight deviation from the "official" C25k schedule, which suggests you run 3 days a week (in other words, have two days off in a row each week, plus/including a day off between each run). So, in other words, I pushed it the first time. Maybe too hard, since I wound up injured at the end. This time out, I'm not sure whether I'm going to follow the official schedule or do every-other-day again, like last time. I'd prefer to do the latter but I am worried about getting sidelined with an injury once again.

Ironically enough, if I went every-other-day then today would have been my first run of Week 2. I wound up not running this morning, but not because I decided to follow the "official" schedule. Rather, I took a day of rest because yesterday I tripped while trying to avoid falling over David, who was underfoot. I threw myself into a bookcase so as to not have my weight land on him, and I wound up jamming my toe real good. It still hurts a day later, but it's nothing major. I figured a day of rest might be a good thing. Somebody call a toe truck!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

C25k: Week 1, Day 3

Week 1, over and done. This morning's run was fine. The most challenging part was paying attention to the ground in front of my feet so as not to step on the many snails crossing the sidewalk. I missed all but one. Crunch-Ewww. This was never a problem my first time through C25k. Maybe it's because that was winter and this is summer? Or maybe it is just that I've been running at 6:30 AM instead of 5:00 AM. When the girls go back to school at the end of the month I'll be back to running at 5:00 AM and I'll see if that makes the difference - hopefully the snails will still be asleep.

I'm looking forward to Week 2, snails and all.