Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Running is Like a Box of Chocolates

Apparently I should have done intervals or a shortest distance while trying out a 189 cadence. I felt fine until yesterday evening, I started to feel... dun dun dun.. my left hamstring get tighter.  I didn't think a lot of it. As a precaution, I moved my rest day to today (Wednesday) in hopes of getting ahead of it. I wake up today, and it is worse. Blah.

I was sat too much today I guess, because once I started walking for the CTA, I couldn't even do more than barely shuffle that leg like a zombie... Depressing.

I am kinda bummed that this happened when I wasn't even doing anything that ambitious, but at least I don't have to worry about missing any training days. I'm trying to stick with light stretching and foam rolling, and keeping from staying in a seated position helps loosen it up.

I have my doctor's appointment tomorrow for just a yearly check up, but I'll just toss him my complaints while they are nagging me.

Back on bench until I can at least walk normally! I really hope this is just a bad cramp or something. I really don't want to go back to PT already.

Hopefully tomorrow I can say, oh it was just a short thing and I'm feeling a lot better, but as this is basically my running journal, I had to put this down.

No worries on comments today! Crossing my fingers now for some break in the rain tomorrow for trick or treating!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Running to the Beat

Monday night I started thinking on what I should do for a run on Tuesday morning. I wanted to do 9-10 miles, but what kind of miles? I reminded myself that any type of speed work right now would either slow down my healing in my crumby calf even more or risk getting it worse.  I decided to start working on cleaning up my stride.

If you recall my Video Gait Analysis of My Run, I have a cross over stride and some other minor issues. I'll restart my strength training exercises for it next week, but I decided now is good time to start practicing the 5% increase on my cadence (180 steps per minute to 189). Theoretically, the uptick in my step count should remove the extra time my legs have to do crappy things, like knee touch, cross over, and my feet kicking each other (see the break in my sneakers ankle support for proof I do this). My biggest issue doing this is doing this cadence while not pushing my speed.

Back to my 4am alarm, coffee, bio break, out the door by 4:30am, turn on my christmas tree worthy LED vest, and set my metronome app to 189, volume low, and the noise set to a dull sound so I don't feel like clawing out my eyes to the default DING DING DING DOOP.
I said doop...

It was a balmy 48 degrees when I stepped outside! My legs didn't that limber, but my well being was very happy to get outside. I jogged slowly to the lakefront path (~1.2 miles), set the split on my watch, and aimed to hold a 189 cadence for 7 miles, hopefully around an easy pace. I saw a few more regulars that I had seen pre Chicago Marathon, so I was happy to get some friendly waves again.  I am sure my bright lights made people feel safe that I wasn't going to mug them.

The first mile was a lot of mental coordination to becoming one with the beat, figuring out what it feels like. Miles 2-5 was settling into the groove, monitoring my body for any aches ( a few light ones), and seeing if I noticed my stride cleaning up.

I stopped for a couple photos at Belmont Harbor:
Hey, who turned off the lights? (Whovians?)

The boats are gone :(

Miles 6-7 my legs started to get a little tired of the increased amount steps I was taking and I had to pay more attention to matching the beat again.

Then I did a 1.2 mile slow jog back home to cool down.

Results: I did the 7 miles at about 7:30 pace, which was perfectly fine for today. I didn't notice my knees grazing each other or my feet strike each other at all. I'm interested to see if I get sore from this and how this progresses over different paces. I'll be doing a lot of these types of runs until I internalize the pace.

So what's up with you?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Catching Wind of Sugar (Language Warning)

Hey you..
This is how I feel I need to approach people when I want them to run with me. Okay, now that we are clear, let's start this post.

Sunday morning, my morning to catch up on some sleep, so 7:15am! I started my run about an hour later. My goal this morning was 8 miles or 1 hour, whichever happened first. Considering the entire week I haven't been able to really run faster than 8:15s, I figured 1 hour was more likely going to happen. But as I went out the door, I decided it would be 8 miles, no time constraint.

I was happy to see people again running, as the entire week consisted of 1-2 people total each morning. My first  mile was pretty normal, about 8 minute mile, I decided to try to increase my cadence a bit, just to poke at my lungs to see if they were breathing a little bitter.. I know I know, you are saying:

I hit mile two, check my watch, 14:30. I felt comfortable, I pretended I was listening to a metronome in my head and hit my pace to that. The next 6 miles I looked like this:

And I felt like this after I realized I was doing 6:45s with relatively normal effort:

Averaging in my slower first two miles, it was 8 miles in about 55 minutes. I was happy with it, but I should have done jog for a mile afterwards to cool down, but I did stretch and use the tennis ball for awhile afterwards.

In the afternoon, I went to the Andersonville Dessert Crawl with my ladies and Jeannie at I Drink Soda While I Run and her hubster Jeff (Who I just realized I never had his blog on my feed, added now!).

The theme of the afternoon was:

My plan was to take a photo of each dessert.. yea didn't happen. There were two routes to choose from, my wife got one, I got the other so that we could try everything. We took the crawl a lot slower than previous years, and shared with our toddler, so for once, we were able to finish all 11 places! Score.

I very much enjoyed it!

I need to look back at the flyer that got lost somewhere at home to recap what I even ate (TWSS). And to my stomach..

Afterwards, I still had a sweet tooth and bought:

Jeannie and I discussed getting into running and exercise while in line for one exercise, and I thought I'd share my thoughts on it as well. This focuses more on morning exercise.  I would like to say, people ask me how do I do it.. but nobody does. You have to want to do it first to be interested right?

Anywho, this isn't a capture all statement, just one argument for just doing it..I began thinking about it after seeing this:

That is half the battle, but the first half is getting out of bed. I know people love their sleep, and that  60-90 minutes of less sleep just seems like the worst thing in the world.... But you know what is wurs(t)? Spending the next 15-16 hours of the day saying you'll exercise later, or tomorrow, and it doesn't happen. Then feeling bad about yourself and starting a sedentary pattern that is hard to break. To me, that one less hour of sleep to exercise and feeling good about yourself is worth way more than a little extra sleep... Unless you are Winnie the Pooh:

And this hit me pretty strong as well, feeling like you are just never on par with your friends or other accomplished runners (in this sports arena at least)

And it is almost time for the Bull's season opener!

Need another photo of Lil Smokie? Here she is at a friend's house!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

More Dadness than Running

So what morsels of blog fodder do I have for you today? (does that even make sense? it does now)

For those of you that don't read more than the first two lines:

For the rest of you...
If you want to listen along to what I am writing:

I heard he got that hot new thing, it's called Switch
Friday: Easy 50 minutes of running. It feels... nice again to be running butt crack of the day early. I saw maybe two people in that time period.

I've been mulling over what the heck is wrong with my chest since the marathon when I suddenly couldn't suck wind like I was an air chicken head. (props if you know what I mean)

I just tossed it up to exercise induced asthma, and the week off after I felt normal. But now.. every day, the middle part of my chest up to my throat is.. tight.. jankie. It happens when I try to read to my kid, randomly in the afternoon and evening, and when I try to run faster than 8 minute miles.

Now we are listening to:
Oh I'm Party Starter!

It was scary initially, I started thinking. F............. is something wrong with my heart?
Nope wrong area.

Okay, less scary. Did I strain a chest muscle that is pressing on my wind pipes or whatever the hell that ish is called. I called my doctor's office and their first opening is Halloween morning.

At least this literally forces me to keep my runs slow. I'd be fibbing if I said I wasn't jealous seeing my friends hustling like they robbed a bank and been PRing 5ks  and running awesome tempos. (BRC represent!)

Watch whatever is wrong clear up by then. Oh well, I need a check up and flu shot anyways.

Next Track:
I'm writing this post.. Just to Get By

Aside from breathing, my left calf is still a mess. I'm pretty sure running the marathon on a LOT of advil masked a lot of issues and I'm set back a bit on progress, but I'm cool with it. Just gotta keep taking it easy with my runs and just get by until I'm healed again. Last year at this time I sprained my right calf to a rather unpleasant level, so tis this season I guess.

Also my reflection vest came in Friday!

Next Track!
Taking you on the Freeway

Saturday: Another 50 minute run. Almost a carbon copy of Friday's run. A few second difference, same distance, same issues. Except this time I got to use my vest!
Selfie when I got back from my run!

Next Track and genre! Watch these bloggers jump when I get loose!

We went with the Erin and her daughter. Here are some images from the day:

There are a few more photo's on my wife's phone, stay tuned for more!

Almost done track: Watch out for that Big Truck!

This evening all the moms in the new moms group my wife attends are having a ladies night out, so I'll be hanging with the dads and kids.  Will any of them want to talk about running or the Chicago Bulls? I hope so..

OH YES! Annebelle (See Fluency's Folly) alerted me yesterday that the Dr. Who 50th anniversary special would be in theaters on 11/23!

 We totally scored tickets to go! I can't wait!
I'm counting down the days

Lets roll this post to an end:
Take a descent with me

 Tomorrow is the dessert crawl in Andersonville! Last call to let me know if I should look for you, I'll be making this face!

Your face as you finally finish this post:

Now go ahead and tell me how horrible this experience was:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hey Bro, Whatcha Thinking About?

So what is going on since my last super exciting post? I've done a couple easy runs based around a time rather than a distance, slowly working my way back to being..

My right leg is perfect, much like this:

My left leg.. the problem leg.. is more like this:

It feels much more crampy and strained feeling throughout the day. Mostly in my calf. I'd say maybe at 60-70%. Running feels better at least than walking. I'll keep my pace fun until this clears up. Not having timed pressure makes it easier to deal with if I end up feeling actual pain while running. I restarted my weight routine I cooled off of the last 10 days, and will be restarting the exercises I was doing at physical therapy during my lunch breaks as well.

I'm still trying to get a handle on eating like mortal, and fail miserably every day.. eventually feeling like this:

I posted this next part on twitter the other day, but as more of your runs may happen in the dark, PLEASE invest in some reflective gear, a vest, jacket, lights, something. Even though in Chicago we are pretty lucky to have the lakefront path and not get hit by a car, it would be nice to see someone running towards you from more than 40 feet away.

I just bought one of these: MAXSA Innovations Reflective Safety Vest - Model 20026

I'm pretty sure you'll see me and give me a side five right?

Not much else. Tomorrow, easy run for about 50 minutes. 

Side thought: Should we start a morning motivation crew to make sure you get out for your run?

And now I hope your reaction to the end of this blog post is more like this:

And not this:

Happy Friday Eve!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Did I Stop Running?


I forced myself to take a full week off from running after the marathon. Reminding myself I'm still fairly amateur at the sport, I painfully sat around watching my more seasoned friends start back up!  To try an ease my mind, I read any literature I could find that supported my decision to take an extended break. While the Hanson Marathon Method suggest two weeks for all its runners, I don't plan on going H.A.M. anytime soon, so I decided to start after one week.

I looked forward to the positives, healing up, catching up on sleep, not having to worry about the time of my dinner or how it would affect my running start time. The sleeping part didn't work too well, I still woke up almost every day a little after 4am and had trouble falling back asleep for more than short intervals of sleep.

So what has been up? Well here are some photos (Mostly repeats from Instagram):


Here mom, carry my leaves

Throw Back Box

Snake and a Hedgehog


A nap before the most epic tantrum ever

Reading to her skeleton
Unauthorized Decorations

And my first run post marathon - Pint Night!
We're Fabulous!
And what is on my agenda? Today I'm taking a day off of work to see my kid in gymnastics as they no longer start after work.

Agenda for the near future: Catch up on blog reading/commenting (I haven't done this in like a week). Do easy runs only, try to get the house in order (see more unpacking and furniture assembly), get in 100% Halloween mode, write my review of the Hanson Marathon Method, and stay connected with the running community! (More social runs through the winter?)

Okay, family calls, leave some love!