The 4 mile run is in the bag

Ok, first of all, I’m well aware that a 4 mile run is but a drop in the bucket, however, I haven’t run more than a 5K in 8 years, so I see this morning’s run as one of those seminal moments in my return to a healthy life style. I suppose that could be overstating it, but I really felt great at the end of the run. Just like I remembered, 4 miles really isn’t any different than 3, it just takes a little longer.

For the next couple of weeks I won’t be running any longer than 4 miles, I’ll just be adding one more day of running to the mix. I’m getting impatient, but I know it’s very important that I take my time establishing some base fitness. My weight loss has leveled off. I hope that’s going to change once my mileage starts picking up. The thirty or so pounds I took off between May and August isn’t anything to sneeze at, but there’s still some weight I need to get off my frame if I want to run at the level I know I’m capable of. I guess the most important thing is that the weight hasn’t gone the other way and I still haven’t missed a scheduled run.

This running at 5am stuff isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, though I still find it to be a little creepy being outside at that hour. On my first few runs I came across a couple of other runners which made me feel better about being out there, but I haven’t seen another soul besides the paper delivery guy in the past week.

The creature in the basement

I took the rest of the week off from work, so I could relax, spend time with the family and otherwise just veg before things get really crazy from now until Election day. I imagine I’m going to be spending nearly every waking minute writing code, rewriting code, then writing a little more code from now until a few days after the election. I had to wrap up loose ends last night, then a few more this morning, but that’s it, I’m done until Tuesday! (yea right)

I got my 3 mile run in yesterday morning before work. It was soggy. Tropical storm Fay just won’t go away. I wore my old rain shell on the run, I think that was a mistake. I got just as wet as I would have without it, only it was sweat and not rain that drenched me. Live and learn. Funny, I don’t remember it having that effect back in the good old days.

This morning was interval work on the treadmill and tomorrow is a 2 mile run with a 4 miler scheduled for early Saturday morning. I’m hoping the wife and I can take the boy down to the Silver Comet trail and get a nice walk in sometime this week too. Of course, if it never stops raining, I guess that won’t be happening.

Naturally the week I decided to take off was our (ok, my wife’s) week to host play group. Since I didn’t really want to sit around with a bunch of ladies I don’t know watching kids I don’t know play, I took that opportunity to finally put the second coat of paint on the basement/my workout area. It’s now a nice solid Georgia Bulldog red just in time for football season. I put the first coat on back in early June. I guess you could say that project took a little longer than anticipated thanks to a resource crunch.

Anyway, I guess the roller sounded funny from upstairs, so my wife got to explain the situation, so they probably think I’m either some anti-social creep or a leper, but I got the job I’ve been putting off done, avoided doing something I didn’t really want to do, and probably burned some good calories all at the same time. All in all, I think that’s a win for me :)

It takes all kinds

None of my current group of friends nor my family are into running, which makes me the odd duck. It also means none of them really care to hear about me talk about running. They don’t care about the struggle, and the intestinal fortitude required to gut through a tough mile, a cramp, or a huge hill.

That’s part of the reason I set this blog up, as a place to get it all out. Along with that, I also decided I’d try to use Twitter to connect with other runners out there. I set up an account that nobody in my “real” world knows anything about. There are some folks that run a few podcasts I’ve started listening to that are wide open and encourage communication with their listeners, so I started out with them, because that some how felt less creepy.

Also, since I’m training for a half marathon, I decided I’d eavesdrop on the Twittersphere and see what others were saying about the subject. Using one of the Twitter API’s, a little PHP, a little JS, and a cronjob I set up the box you see in the right column. Every 5 minutes there’s a cronjob that runs in the background that pulls the latest 50 “tweets” that contain the words “half” and “marathon”. I’ve gotten pretty good results so far, but since the two words don’t have to be in order I’ve had a few tweets get through that don’t fit the context of the site.

Sorry, that was a tangent. The point of the post is that following what people are saying on Twitter has helped me see that people of varying levels of experience and ability are training for the same thing I am. That’s pretty cool, though I still feel a little creepy adding random strangers to my list of people I’m following. Maybe as I assimilate into the community I’ll start to feel like I belong or maybe some of them will start following me. Until then, I’ll just hope it doesn’t rain all week. Thanks Tropical Story Fay.

Running in the rain

It’s 7:35am on a windy, somewhat rainy Saturday morning here in Atlanta, Georgia and I finished my run over an hour and a half ago. Most people aren’t even up yet, and I’m already finished running for the day. That’s pretty crazy huh? Well, I’m not as crazy as I seem, I run so early out of necessity, not desire.

This morning was a 3 miler, which went surprisingly well considering I broke down and had a couple of beers last night. I hadn’t had a beer in over a month, and wow, that makes a difference. No beer for a month + losing weight = cheap date. Anyway, I’m straying from the point, the point is that amazingly the beer didn’t hurt my run this morning, though I have no intentions of making that a habit. It was pretty hard to motivate myself to get out of bed at 5:15.

It was a good run. It was really windy, as the remnants of Hurricane/Tropical storm Fay are swirling around to the south. 2 miles into the run it started raining, which brought back fond memories of my days in college where I was like the USPS and wouldn’t let rain, sleet or snow deter me from getting my miles in. Unfortunately, it stopped raining after about half a mile, so the rest of the run (yea yea, it’s only half a mile) I was wet and hot. The humidity was in the 80% range, so not too much evaporation going on.

Well, week 2 of my return to running is in the bag. I don’t think I’m doing too badly. The biggest challenges are mental. I can’t get down on myself for not being able to run 6 or 7 minute miles like I used to. Maybe I’ll get back there, maybe I won’t. You can follow my progress on my running log.

Terribly lazy

No, not terribly lazy about working out, just terribly lazy about updating things here. Don’t worry, I’m collecting all the data, through the magic of my GPS watch/HR monitor, so one day I’ll get around to updating. The bad thing is, that cuts out the meat of the update, and the primary reason I though this blog would be a good idea. I wanted to document how I feel as I evolve from a couch potato back into a runner again, but there just aren’t that many hours in the day.

I’ve been getting up at 4:30am, out the door by 4:45am and done running by 5:15am. After that, it’s shower, pack the lunch, get in the car and head to work. Once I get to work (around 6:30-6:45am), I eat my cereal, go through emails, plan out my day, catch up on my rss feeds, then legitimately get to work. Leave work anywhere from 4pm to 5:30pm, usually closer to 4pm, which gets me home generally around 5pm. Once I get home, twice a week I have to lift weights, the other days I play with my son, help with dinner, mow the grass, or just generally do family time. Around 8:30pm, it’s bed time for the boy, at which point we spend 10 minutes or so cleaning up, then settle in for an hour or so of web surfing/tv watching/book reading before heading to bed, at which point the cycle repeats. The whole point of telling you that, is to illustrate there’s not a lot of free time in there in which I feel like updating this site.

A brief update on the weight, 1.5 weeks after “Body for Life”. I’m bouncing back and forth between 184-187, so on the aggregate, I believe that line is still going in the right direction. To be perfectly honest, until my miles start ramping up a little more, I expect the rate of change to slow down for a little while. As long as it doesn’t go the wrong way, I’ll try to consider that a success and the price I pay for attempting to get back into distance running.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I really have the love for running I once did. I’m going to continue training like I’m definitely going to run this half marathon until the 5K in October. If I’m not feeling the love by then, I may drop this idea and go back to short, intense workouts.