Thursday, April 28, 2011

Afraid of the Dark

Got to bed last night shortly before 11PM just in time to get a call from my wife that my daughter, Honeybunny, checked out OK at the ER. Nice shiner though!

I was hesitant to set the alarm clock for 1:45AM but it was gonna work out OK.
Discharge instructions included waking her every few hours, like you're supposed to do in the event of a concussion.

I had my running gear ready in the bedroom.
Handheld water bottle, reflective vest and headlamps ready downstairs.

I decided I would run with two headlamps for improved visibility.
One on my head.
And holding one in my hand. I set the handheld to BLINK mode.

Woke on schedule. Felt like hell after not quite 3 hours of sleep. No surprise there.
Got out the door just after 2AM and hit the road.

The intent of this run was to prove to myself that I could run along the highway at a horrible hour like 2AM without scaring myself to death or getting hit by a car.
In either case, I did not have a plan if one of those events occurred.

2AM running is nice. Quiet. Peaceful. Lonely.

I ran many times at night during the winter and the most important safety aspect remained true last night:
Drivers give night runners respect, often crossing over the center line to provide enough safe running room.
Cars are so surprised to see you out there glowing and running along the side of the road.

I ran against traffic.
When cars approached from either direction, I squeezed against the edge of the shoulder and the grass.
When cars weren't around, I ran on the inside of the white line.
Staying on the main part of the road rather than in the shoulder the entire time protects your body.
The grade of the shoulder can prematurely wear down your muscles and joints.
It is easy to run in this manner at night when you can see an approaching car hundreds of yards away.

The route was a 7.5 mile out and back. 3.75 miles downhill. 3.75 miles uphill.
I averaged around 9:30min/mi except on the big return uphill where my mile split was closer to 11min.
I want to run exactly 10min/mi so the overall pace (9:59min/mi) was close enough.

There are several issues with running at this time of night:
  • Even with a headlamp, you don't see too clearly. The headlamp provides more of a "ghost light" rather than a spotlight on the road. Roadside obstacles are still an obstacle.
  • Which means you might step in roadkill, like I think I did at Mile 1.5.
  • Cars slow down as they pass. That's just creepy.
  • You attract law enforcement. One police SUV did a U-Turn right into my lane just as I hit Mile 3.
  • People like to yell at runners. I hate that during the day. There's no word for how much it sucks in the dead of night.
Overall, that's not bad.

I finished the run in just about 1hr 15min.
The outdoor temperature was a relatively warm 72 degrees (F). That left me soaked in sweat, with an empty water bottle, just as I finished the run.
This time of year, I would expect/prefer 50 degrees at night.

This morning's early run wasn't too long but it gave me the confidence boost I need to begin a long run while the rest of the world sleeps. That's what I needed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011



This is nice.

Pretty little background.
My kids love blowing dandelions. Our neighborhood loves growing them.

This shiny new blog is an attempt to describe pursuit of my active athletic goals which HOPEFULLY get wrapped up this year!

All that stands in my way is LIFE.

Here's a quick example and then it's time for bed.

Played tee ball with the kids for about 45 minutes tonight.
The intent was to introduce LIVE PITCHING because that's what the "other team" was pushing in our last game.
The kids on my team, my kids included, are not ready for live pitching.
They need to hit off the tee. Eye on ball. Level swing. Drop the bat. Run to first.

But fine. In the next game or so, we'll try it out.
That's where we take advantage of having my own kids on the team. So they get the trial run.

We wrap up practice and the kids run inside, giving me the pleasure of cleaning up all of the equipment.

When I get inside, I'm gonna change into my running gear and prepare for the following evening:
  • Drive to the local Best Buy. Park my car. Run ~7 miles back home.
  • Go to bed.
  • Wake at 2AM. Run back to Best Buy and drive back home.
That's all to prep for a big early morning run next week.

Except my daughter Honeybunny smashed her eye on the kitchen table 15 seconds after the kids went inside.
She's at the ER for an x-ray and CT Scan.

She'll be fine. I'm sure.

And that's how life influences the training schedule and pursuit of your goals.
Without sufficient training, short of luck, you won't reach your goals.
And try as you might to accomodate life, this world is just too unpredictable.

To conclude this example.
Now we're off to bed much later than expected.
And while I'll wake at 2AM and go run, it won't simulate the run I needed.

Should be fun to see how this all works out.