The courage to stay in bed

Location:  Home, in bed
Miles:  0.0
Time:  Early-ish
Pace:  Had some salsa, last night
Temp:  75 degrees
Weather:  Dark
People I saw:  My wife and children
Pain/injuries:  Yes

For just about over a year, I’ve wanted to start resting.  The problem, though, is breaking bad habits.  For over a year, I’ve fallen into the trap of waking up early, dressing, and then going for a moderate run.

There have been signs that I need to start resting.  As I’ve been getting older (Have I mentioned that I’m almost 40?), my muscles don’t heal like they used to.  I have various, minor injuries that, without proper rest, will likely become larger problems if I don’t take the advice of doctors and friends, who I know mean well.

And it’s not just the morning run.  Sometimes at night, while I’m watching TV, I’ll launch into a vigorous core workout.

It started innocently enough.  I’d pretend to be watching Conan with my wife, but would throw in a few calf raises at commercial break.  Things deteriorated and now it’s gotten to where, I execute donkey kicks, scorpions, hip hikers and even modified side planks with leg lifts.  Sometimes this can go for upwards of an hour.

There are signs of improvement, though.  Even though I’d set my alarm last night to wake me up at 6 am (one of the many habits that will, if not guarded, turn you into a runner), I sat up in bed and hesitated.  I knew that if I put my feet over the side of the bed, I’d just fall back into the same routine and go for a run, putting my left hamstring at greater risk.

But something happened.  I slowly rocked backward, swinging my legs back over the bed and slipped under the warm covers.  I even slept a little.

At 7 am, when I got up to take my shower and get the day going, it felt good to know that I’d accomplished something important, which not a lot of obsessed runners do.  This morning I found the courage to stay in bed.

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Ryan ties his shoes. Again.

Location:  Provo River Trail
Miles:  4.5
Time:  6:35 am
Pace:  0:9:08
Temp:  20 degrees
Weather:  Slightly cloudy on horizon
People I saw:  Ran with Ryan, saw a guy who refuses to wave- must fix this.
Pain/injuries:  Some left groin pain, which was getting better, but the progress is receding, again.

Notes:  Yesterday I carried some very heavy boxes, full of food for members of our church who are having a tough time, financially.  This was hard on me, as I don’t life, bro.  My back needs more planks and more core work.  That said, I was tired when we started this run.

I told Ryan, straight off, that I was not feeling fast, today.  He was affable and allowed me to drag us down to a 0:9:00 minute pace.  However, he did his part to slow us down, when he stopped to tie his shoe.  I can never tell if tying the shoe is a ploy to rest, or just a lack of knot experience.  Geez, Ryan.

Barry did not grace us with his presence, this morning.  I am willing to bet that we’ll get him out for another couple of cold runs, this winter, though.  It might take some doing, but we’ll do it.

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The great rebellion of the ducks

Location:  Provo River Trail, down to North Jetty
Miles:  6 miles
Time:  0:48:55
Pace:  0:8:15
Temp:  15
Weather:  Mostly clear, moon slivered
People I saw:  One other guy, dressed head to toe, plus a walker

Notes:  Today I wasn’t feeling it.  Even when I was putting my running clothes stack together, last night, I was sort of dreading this run.  It’s interesting how close the run seems to me, the night before.  I have to be in bed by 11 pm, or else it’s almost a guarantee that I won’t have enough sleep for the next day.

I managed an 0:8:47 for my first mile, but just didn’t feel great.  Nothing in particular, but energy, stiff muscles- not working in my favor.  So I spent the first couple of miles talking myself into this run.

It definitely wasn’t as cold as yesterday, but it was cold enough.  At one point in this run, about a hundred ducks, all perched on the freezing river, took me by surprise when they started quacking loudly.  This is always a little creepy for me, this early in the morning, in the dark.  It’s hard to explain, but the morning calm is shattered and my heart speeds up.  My stride speeds up, too.  It’s like my body reacts to a chase.

I don’t trust those ducks.

There was no doubt in my mind that I was going too fast.  Recently I read (have I already mentioned this- forgive me- short term blog memory) that you need to get your base mileage up before you start worrying about things like hill, speed, interval workouts.  The logic is that people don’t have a high enough base mileage.

 

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Strong legs at 3 am

Reagan, while I’m tucking her back into bed, at 3 am:

“Daddy, your legs look really strong.”

It’s pitch black.

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11 degrees of bliss

Location:  Provo River Trail
Miles:  1 mile warmup, 5 miles run with Ryan.
Time:  Started at 6:23 am
Pace:  0:8:58
Temp:  11 degrees
Weather:  Cold and clear
People I saw:  Ran with Ryan

Ryan and I started our run without Barry.  He felt that the idea was bollocks.  He wasn’t wrong.  But we ran, anyway.  The thing that made this run a little unique was how many ducks we saw.  They were all in the water, splashing around.  When we’d run by them, they’d make all kinds of noise, carrying on.

With my extra layering (added a balaclava, a tight shirt and another pair of tights) I felt considerably warmer than yesterday.  I have hope that I can come up with a combination of clothing that will suffice for those 0 or even less than 0 days.

It took me slightly less time to become completely warmed up (was warm by 9 am).

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Cold and dark (but mostly cold) (but also very, very dark)

I started running about two hours ago.  My run has been over for more than an hours.  My hands, ears, chin and butt are still cold.  It will take another two or more hours to really feel warm, again.  This is cold weather running.

Woke up, much too early.  Had set my alarm 15 minutes earlier for 6 am, so that I could slip another mile in.  But woke up at 5:30 am, anyway.  Dang.  Felt good enough to just start getting ready, though.

Went out the door and was hit hard by the change in weather.  It’s cooling off, folks.  This is where the runners start going their separate ways.  Some to the treadmill, others to the periodic gym workout and the rest hibernate and call it a season.  Then there are those like me, who, after years of trying the off and on running schedule realize we have only been fooling ourselves.  If we’re going to run, we’re going to need to go year ’round.  And if we’re going to go year ’round, we’re never going to make it on treadmills.  We’re going to just have to make this work with whatever warm clothes we find.  Some of us cold weather runners know that as soon as we start to drop workouts, we’re going to go into hibernation with the rest of our runner siblings.  And some of us can’t afford this.  Some of us are about to turn forty and have very lofty goals.  But some of us digress…

The first mile was disconcerting.  It’s hard to remember whether or not I’ll ever warm up when it’s 10 degrees.  I wore a technical T, technical long sleeve, my Costco Paradox long sleeve with a zipper that comes up halfway on my neck, my new running jacket, my Underarmor underwear, my thick tights, Injinji toe socks (to prevent blistering), gloves, somewhat warm NHL Sharks hat and…that’s it.  My winter ensemble almost creates its own load of wash.

Once I got down to the end of the third mile to turn around, I was cold and knew that I just needed to concentrate on not stopping or slowing down.  The last two miles were tough, because I was still tired from Saturday’s run and knew that my body was supposed to be recovering today, not working too hard.  But it was definitely working harder than normal.

When I get home from these cold runs, it’s all about getting warmed up.  The shower can only do about 1/2 of the job.  After that, it’s just time.

It’s a whole different thing, running in these Utah winters.

Location: Provo River Trail, down most of the North jetty’s arm
Miles:  6.1
Time:  5:57 am
Pace:  0:8:35
Temp:  10 degrees, F.
Weather:  Clear and cold
People I saw:  One other runner, at my mile 5 (I waved; no response.  It is too cold for formalities)

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The Bonneville Shoreline Trail, in the SLC

Today found me at work on a Saturday.  But I managed to get out for a couple of hours, to explore more of the trail that had me enamored last winter.  I have already run the stretch of the BST, from Spanish Fork, to Provo…but on the recommendation of a friend from work, I headed up to the Hogle Zoo, to see what some of the SLC BST could provide.  I was not disappointed.

Spent some time thinking about my sister, Lindsay, on this run.  She is such an inspiration to me and a great example of what hard work accomplishes.  I’ll never be as fast or as dedicated as she is, but having her around as an example helps me to focus on the smaller goals that I have in running.  Anyway…

There were some brutal hills involved in this run.  I think that if I were to concentrate on hills each week, I could get to where I can run this route without walking.  But that would be a huge accomplishment, because I had to walk.  A lot.

Location:  BST, from Hogle Zoo, to the Red Butte Creek
Miles:  6.5
Time:  2:45 pm
Running time:  1:28:03
Pace:  0:13:29
Temp:  32 at start, colder when I finished (sun was going down)
Weather:  Overcast and cold
People I saw:  Surprisingly, there were several runners and bikers on this trail.  I have a feeling these guys go strong through all four seasons.

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Icy, back-breaky run

Notes:  Saw Michael, just entering the PRT from Lakeshore Drive and chatted or a bit.  He saw that I was wearing my new (last year’s ‘new’) Sharks beanie and asked about it.  Turns out he’s a big Sharks fan.  We discussed the last three games and how well we think Wilson is doing with the team (not great).  Felt bad, but I had to cut off our conversation so that I could catch my train.  Cool guy, that Michael.

On this run, there were a couple of comical slips on an icy road.  Even I chuckled.  But I wasn’t laughing on Slip Three.  My left foot lost it’s…footing (seems redundant) and in order to avoid anything that would integrate my skin with asphalt, I flung my right arm up, wildly (sort of funny, I guess) and stabilized.  But not before really messing with my back.  Somehow, this motion, which wouldn’t have done a thing in my twenties, aged me another three years in less than two seconds.  I run for my health.  *cough*

Not a bad run, anyway.  Slow, because of my chat with Michael, plus took some cool pics.

A cold light.

You can see the steam coming off of my back porch light. Cold.

Location:  North boat harbor drive to the lake
Miles:  5
Time:  6:33 am
Pace:  0:9:51 with all of the breaks/0:8:30 without
Temp:  A comfortable 25 degrees when I left
Weather:  Overcast, beautiful,
People I saw:  Michael, Angela and Nichole (way up the road)

 

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Beautiful Utah Lake

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For some reason, I find snow on these docks to be beautiful.

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A vile, hateful buoy, which is still showing signs of life. Would like to see it destroyed. You know why.

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Four miles with Ryan and Barry. (It was bollocks, FYI)

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Was very happy to see Barry show up for this run.  His attendance was in doubt, due to some things I read in a group text (above).

The run went well, but I always prefer going toward the lake (west).  However, I have to admit, I really enjoy seeing new places and shaking things up, too.

When they finally release Run an Empire, I’ll probably venture out more, for the sake of taking more territory.  It’s like Settlers of Catan (I’ve heard; never played), so it’s the kind of thing where you can claim territory by running it out and back, or by encompassing it.  This is an idea that I had a couple of years ago, but never knew what to do with it.  From what I’ve seen, these guys have really nailed down some great stuff.  I look forward to playing it.  I’m guessing that several other, similar ideas will come from this.

Today’s Run
Location:  Provo River Trail (east)
Miles:  4.1
Time:  0:39:02
Pace:  0:9:26
Temp:  25 degrees
Weather:  Overcast.  Almost felt like snow could fall.
People I saw:  Didn’t see anyone I knew.  No runners.  A couple walkers.

 

 

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25 degrees, but still cold…

Just kidding.  I’m just trying to get my mind into the spirit of the season.  I know that it has to get to at least 15 degrees, before I start talking about how cold it is.  Otherwise, I’ll be miserable at 25 degrees.

So it was cold.  But once I get going, I seem to be able to hold my own.

Mile 1, 0:8:26:  It was cold and I was slow.  It takes longer to warm up in the winter.  Almost a mile before I feel that I’m able to get my stride underneath me.

Mile 2, 0:7:47:  This was better.  I tried to pay attention to my surroundings, to appreciate the river next to me and the yellow leaves on my path.  Didn’t feel comfortable, but was able to keep the pace.

Mile 3, 0:7:53:  I hit the turnaround at the Lake’s park gate and knew that it was going to be a struggle to keep this up.  Kept thinking of how I’m going to get a 0:7:30 pace for Thanksgiving’s Turkey Trot.  Not sure I can.  It’s going to have to be a great day.

Mile 4, 0:7:53:  This wasn’t too much easier.  Once I hit around mile 3 or 4, I can finally read my watch’s display without turning on its light.  Very difficult to keep track of my pace, when the trees keep throwing off the GPS.  I’m just going to have to learn to run a lot of this by feel.

Mile 5, 0:7:35:  I was really pushing it, on the fifth mile.  Struggled to keep my pace as I went up the little hill that takes you off of the path and onto Lakeshore Drive.  Managed to get a little faster on the last 1/2 mile, but it was pretty desperate.  Finished strong.

I have some work to do.

Location:  Provo River Trail
Miles:  5.2
Time:  6:30 am
Pace:  0:7:54
Temp:  25 degrees
Weather:  Clear and cold
People I saw:  Nichole and Angela

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