Friday, May 30, 2014

Exercise Diary: Streaking

Turns out it's not that hard to fit in a mile into your daily life.

Streaking in the rain

It's no wonder that runners are goal oriented.  Goals make you get off your bum and run.  Jen from Running Tangents have recently been wondering whether running marathons is bad for your health, and the most I got out of her post and the discussions that ensued is that sometimes people are so obsessed with their marathon goals they sacrifice their bodies to achieve them.  As they should, I totally understand.  Although I have no marathon experience to speak of, I too have felt addicted to go out and run, and I too have been annoyed at my pains and aches instead of making rest as my priority.  When we set a goal and go out and achieve it, it gives us meaning and helps us see our progress.

Luckily I haven't been injured, nor do I love running so much to the point of breaking myself to do it.  But ever since I began the Runner's World summer Run Streak challenge (Day 5 completed!), I've set aside my pickiness and went out on a heavily forecast day and ran in light rain.  Thank heaven it was only light rain, which actually felt nice on my arms and my hat.  I think I would feel more sorry for myself if it had began down pouring.  But before I decided to do the streaking challenge I would've never gone out in that weather and risk being rained on.  And I would've gone out that day if it wasn't for Memorial Day, and the gym being closed.  So I really didn't have a choice but I was completely at peace with it.

Though the run was nice and uneventful, I failed at keeping my promise of running quality miles.  Any nice and quiet loop around the area require first getting there from home, and that can be either a fraction of a mile to a mile and half.  By the time I started on the actual course I had already run a mile, which wasn't too bad, but then I ran into hills.  And more hills.  And a final big hill which I couldn't do last time and did even worse on Monday.  I was walking a lot way before the big hill.

It was disappointing to fail at uphills, because it makes the subsequent downhill running feel like cheating.  It was fun, oh it was so much fun, but it felt too easy, thus making me uneasy.

So day 1 was completed, but my goal of the quality mile failed quite miserably.

New Shoes!

I did not intentionally went out to get a new pair of running shoes so soon after my Brooks.  But I needed new, season appropriate shoes to replace my favorite boots that I wore all winter, and since I'm in lab for most of the day I can't wear flip flops or any other kind of open toe shoes.  I wanted a pair of light sneakers, hopefully something of good quality, since last time I bought light sneakers I got holes in my toe box before the summer was over.

So I pounced when I saw a deal on on a pair of Inov-8 F-lite.  They were originally retailed for $116, but got reduced all the way to $35 (and I had free Prime shipping).  After reading all the reviews and carefully selected my size, I clicked the "add to cart" button.  They arrived on Tuesday,  and I decided to run in them.

They are very light and minimalistic, and really breathable, so perfect for the summer.  Though advertised as fashion sneakers, many of the people who reviewed the shoes on Amazon use them for cross training and running.  So if I'm working toward minimalistic running, I thought these would be good shoes to start.

The mid foot area was very narrow, which does not quite fit my feet, but the fabric on top hugs my feet very snugly so my feet are secured but not pressured the wrong way, so they are still comfy.  And the triply blue/magenta color is both fun but still me~

Back onto the Mill

Did my Tuesday run in the gym on the treadmill.  I was not eating at the right time and really wanted a nap so when I woke up it was almost 9pm.  Plus I didn't want to do a long run again, so I went to the gym to do my quality mile.  This is the first time I went back to the gym since I began running outside, and once I was there, it wasn't so bad.

It was still stuffy, and the built in fan on the machine didn't really help but giving me this uncomfortable chill.  My mile was consistent but so boring; I can now safely say that even the most boring scenery outside is more fun than the gym.  I wasn't tired, but it was still hard to make the full mile when all you want is to be done.

The shoes were fine, I found them easy to run in and very light.

Not quite the minimalist

I had an evening engagement on Wednesday, so I brought my gym clothes to work so I can do a quick loop around the pond I had run when first started, just to get the mile in.  I ran in my Invo8 again, after a good run the day before.

It turned out that these shoes were NOT meant to be run on concrete.  This was the first time I realized so clearly the hardness of different surfaces.  With other big bulky cushioned shoes I never understood how it was such a big deal.  But after half a mile my heels were aching, the poundings were too much for my feet, and I went to the muddy edge of the road whenever possible.  Toward the end it got so bad that I avoid touching my heels to the ground altogether and were essentially running on tip toes, and finally finished my mile.  I ran the loop well, just over 5 mi/hr, which is my treadmill comfort zone.  But I could tell that my heels are screwed.

My right foot took it worse than my left.  By the end of the night my left foot had almost gone back to normal, but my right foot just refused to be happy.  I tried to massage my foot a bit, and was beginning to worry about this running everyday thing.  Maybe not giving yourself a rest is not the most brilliant idea in the world.

Running on tip toes also caused serious muscle aches in the back of my calves.  They were injury aches, but felt more like the muscle sores I experienced after my first hiking trip.  I guess if I ever want to work on my calf, I now know what to do.

Lost in the Woods

With my foot still hurting, I went out around the pond loop again on Thursday.  Because the weather is so nice I decided to venture into the Pine trail again, which is right next to the pond.  The trail is supposed to be 1.8 miles, so I thought it would be manageable but not over-working myself.

Long story short, I got lost again.  I was running among the trees for a good while and reached a fork.  An old lopsided sign pointed one direction with the words "walker/runner's track" so I followed it, and ended up on a paved trail designed for golf carts and walkers (the trail loops around our country club golf course).  There were people playing golf, and similar paved track everywhere, and I had no idea where I was.  There was no familiar landmarks, and just a faint sound of traffic that suggested the road next to our school building.  I followed a track for a bit, turned around, and somehow ended up right next to the road, about a mile away from my school building.  By that point I had already ended my run on my Nike+ app, and jogged slowly back, annoyed at myself for getting lost in the trail every time I go alone.  This trail and I are just not meant to be I guess.
Heavy Bladder

Went around the pond loop again.  It was rainy today so no desire to try the trail at all.  Did one loop around the pond.  My calves are still aching, my daily runs are just not giving the muscles any rest.  Because of that I slowed down significantly during the second half of my mile.  It was still a quality mile I think, but I had to end at loop 1.  I made the mistake of not going to the bathroom before I went out, thinking that it wouldn't matter and it was going to be a short run anyway (I originally planned to run 2 loops).  But you can feel a full bladder more when you are moving about and jiggling your body than when you are sitting.  I constantly had the urge to go to the bathroom and it just wasn't fun.  My calves were also very tight when I stopped so maybe it was a good thing.

Thoughts about streaking after the first 5 days

  • I think I am going to complete this 40 day challenge to set myself up with a good routine about running and build some good miles.  It will also teach me about facing difference running circumstances.
  • That said, I don't think, at least for me, streaking is a good long term idea.  Other people may be able to run everyday, but I think I need more rest between runs.  With my 5 day running streak and all the aches and pains and even injuries I've accumulated it would be hard for me go to on longer runs on weekends.  My body will be too tired to take a good, long, 5-mile run, and I would be forever stuck with the short mile.  
  • Then again, this first 5 days have taught me that squeezing 1 mile of running into my daily life is really not hard at all~

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