Eye to the North

"Out of the North He comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty." Job 37:22



It Doesn’t Take That Much

I was surprised at how little it took to maintain my level of fitness.
Just over a year ago, I ran my first 5km race. I trained diligently all winter – running and swimming at least twice a week. Then I continued to work to get ready for my first triathlon. Even after those races were done, I enjoyed the feeling of being able to move, so I kept running and biking all summer.
But then winter came. The coldest winter on record in part of the country. Family activities took over many evenings and exercising  became onerous. So I “fit it in” by taking the stairs as often as possible and doing 10 may mute strength workouts with my daughter.
Spring came late with many cold, rainy days and multiple respiratory viruses. Running training has been slow. I got out 3 times.
Three days ago, I ran another 5km race. My time was very close to last year’s time. How is that even possible? Climbing stairs seems to have been more effective than I imagined!
Last year at about this time, I did my first triathlon. This event comes up again in 33 weeks. Is that enough time to get in a reasonable shape to try it again?
I will try an open water swim in a few days and then decide.

Night Running

Contest submisison #1
The next thing I am trying is a night run. Actually, an organized twilight 5Km race. The thought of running in the dark, through trails instead of on roads is exhilarating!
Night running is not new. As the days get shorter, I may extend my outdoor running into fall and the twilight hours. This will require some consideration to temperature and safety.
According to this study, running at night changes the way you run. When you cannot see the surface you are running on, you depend more on instinct to react to changing surfaces. When relying on instinct, it makes sense to wear a more minimal shoe, to feel the ground better. I like that!

Trail Running

Yesterday evening, my daughter wanted to go running. (nothing new there!) Since she craves variety, she suggested trail running. Running on the mountain bike trails in the local park.
We jogged to the park and started on the trails. I loved it! Running on single track dirt paths along the river bank was amazing! The running itself was easier than on pavement, as the ground was softer.
We went about 5 Km, but it hardly seemed like any time at all. Dodging tree branches, watching for roots, running up the bank, and avoiding mud puddles all required concentration, so I didn’t think about how far or how long I’d run.
I don’t know yet if I am ready for competitive trail running, as the races seem to be focused on endurance (think ultramarathon), but I know where to go if I do choose that route.

I Made It – Once!

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I didn’t really think it would happen! A year ago when I started on this journey, I couldn’t run 1 block without stopping to walk. A month ago, I was still struggling to keep moving for an hour. And yesterday, I swam, biked, and ran (ok, walked too) for 1 hour 26 minutes to complete my first try-a-tri!
Even Saturday, I was feeling totally unprepared.
Until I actually entered the water, I wodered what I was doing, why I was doing it, and how crazy was I anyways? Once I started, it was easier to keep going than to stop, so I kept going! And now the accomplishment feels great, and my body is not even very sore, although still tired.
Will I do it again? I don’t know. I no longer need to prove to myself that it is possible. But, I could have done better! And there is the aspect of maintaining a level of fitness.
For now, I will bask in the glory!

But it’s Such a Little Thing!

The Theory:
Fresh from the high of my first 5K race, and anticipating a small triathlon in 2 months, I decided to ramp up my training. Considering my dilemma of “fitting it in” (see a previous post), I thought I would run home from work. It’s only 7K. Maintaining the pace of the 5K run, should take about 50 min, about the same as my usual bus trip.
A few details to look after. I would need to change at work and carry my clothes and lunch kit home. No problem. Use a backpack.
The Reality:
My run very quickly turned into run-a-block-walk-a-block! 59 minutes total. What made the difference? Must be the backpack!
Of course, there is the difference between running in the morning and after work. And the wind was brisker than the previous run. But I’m going to blame the backpack, which weighed in at 6 pounds.
The Math:
Momentum = Kg x m/s
Using the formula, my momentum for 5K was 2.38 Kg-m/s. For 7K, it was 1.97 Kg-m/s. That is a 16% difference in momemtum for a 3.38% difference in weight.
The Conclusion:
If I continue to train with the backpack, I will FLY when I take it off for the race!

There’s Nothing Quite like a Finish Line

more spring training
This morning I entered my first race. A short 5K run. I entered this race to inspire me to continue training for the triathlon coming up in just over 2 months.
Running hasn’t been going well, as the snow refuses to melt, making outdoor running uncomfortable. However, I thought I was ready for this distance.
spring training
The morning dawned crisp and clear.-11 degrees Celsuis with just a bit of a north wind! What to wear was the first dilema! I opted for a hoodie and mittens, which turned out to be a good choice. 5K run

I was feeling not too bad about the whole thing, when I came to the last corner and saw the finish 200m ahead! You can train all you want, there is nothing quite like a finish line to give a last burst of energy to finish the run!
I’m glad I did this. Now I know I can!

Runner’s High

We often hear about a “runner’s high” that keeps people pounding the pavement, but what is it?

From Wikipedia “Endorphins (“endogenous morphine”) are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters. They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise, excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love, and orgasm, and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being.”

By that definition, any kind of vigorous exercise should produce the feeling of euphoria. I am not finding that to be the case. Half an hour of lap swim the other day did nothing for me, other than loosen my arm muscles and reassure me that I may make it to the triathlon yet!

I am anxiously waiting for the weather to warm up enough to run outside. To be able to run whenever I need a “high” will be a huge boost to my training.

Treadmill Running

My favorite place to run is outdoors. I like to run a path that has varied surfaces and scenery. I like to run a circuit from start to finish, without laps. I find it too easy to stop and not complete the laps.

But I live in Manitoba, so outdoor running is not always possible. The next best thing is a track. The track that I frequent has a “spongy” floor, making running more pleasurable, and easier on the joints. It is sometimes difficult to find the motivation to continue running lap after lap.

Sometimes circumstance requires running on a treadmill. Given the choice of not running at all or using a treadmill, I will take the treadmill. I notice when I have done nothing at all in a week.

So I found myself on a treadmill and discovered that it is not like surface running. I have only done a little research on this, but everything I found supports my observations.

When on a treadmill, it is necessary to maintain an upright posture. There is no need to lean forward as in surface running because your body is not moving forward. Holding the railings on the treadmill encouraged bad posture.

That is the second point. Swing your arms when you run to get a more natural gait. Holding the railings not only encouraged leaning, I was also putting weight on my arms, holding my body up.

Balance was also an issue. Once I let go of the railings, I had to find my balance on the moving belt. Perhaps this is a core body strength issue. That may be the next thing I need to work on.

While treadmill running is not my favorite, it will do in a pinch.

Barefoot walking

Can the practice of running barefoot be applied to everyday walking at work?
Lately, I have noticed that my feet are tired after wearing my traditional running shoes at work. I walk on cement floors, and thought cushioned shoes were the best footwear. Researching the question, I found that most experts agree with me.
Then I went for a run. I haven’t been running for at least a month (life is busy, and the weather is cold). Within the first 100m, I could feel the small muscles in my feet stretching. My feet felt better than they have in a long time.
So, perhaps cushioned runners are not the best shoes to be wearing, even at work. I am going to try wearing lighter shoes with a softer sole to work this week. I think that allowing my feet to flex and move with my step may be better for them. As for the hard, cement floors, I may find myself walking on my toes more to reduce the impact.

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