Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fun Run

Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I had a run that I would actually say was fun. Given my current level of fitness and my elevated weight and various aches and pains, running has simply been no fun at all for me recently. Because I rarely enjoy a run, it makes me want to run even less.

I've been in this running "death spiral" for too long.

But last night, the weather was cool and I simply enjoyed the run - a slow 6+ miler. I don't know what was different. I was still slow and I walked two minutes every mile or so. My knee and hip and hamstring weren't bothering me. It was nice to not have the humidity of recent days. Lake Champlain was calm and beautiful. I certainly need more runs like that.

If the weather holds, I'm going to run again tonight. It's looking like we might dodge the storms today, so I'll try to get out there.

Friday, I see the chiropractor and Tuesday, I have a physical. Between those two visits, I should have a better plan for what to do about my knee and the constant clicking when I extend my leg.

And, I'm taking a long weekend off work this weekend. I'll probably check in on our work system remotely, but I'm actually taking some time off. Given the weather forecast, I'm hoping the weekend includes some hiking, running, cycling, and some relaxing evenings with my wife's family.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life still kind of overwhelming

I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since I posted.

I've been swamped again at work, but I've done some good workouts and had some fun with friends and family in the past two weeks. Some of the highlights:

My wife and I had a great mountain hike two weekends ago. It was her first hike for the year and the hills took a toll on her, but we summited Lincoln Peak (between Mt. Abraham and Mt. Ellen) at Sugarbush.

In the days leading up to that hike, I'd been good about getting in my workouts, which was what I said I needed to do in my last post.

My son and I went to Fenway on Father's Day to see the Dodgers lose 2-0 to the Red Sox. I was expecting a well-pitched game given the starters and that's exactly what we got. After the game, we stayed overnight with my best friend from college. Before we left for Boston that day, I got in a great road bike ride.

And then, work hit me hard all last week. I did manage to get out early on Wednesday to celebrate my son's 17th birthday. He is eligible to take his test for his driver's license later this week and I think he's ready.

Last Saturday, I finally had a day without much work (job work) to do. It was also pouring all day. So, I fixed things around the house for my wife - some shower handles, the lawn mower, stuff like that. Because the rain never let up, I eventually went to the gym. I did all three powerlifts, with some warm-up sets, followed by work sets, and then some strength sets - gradually increasing the weight on each lift until I thought I'd probably fail on the next one.

Of course, that workout left me sore; it's Tuesday and I'm sore from Saturday's workout still.

On Sunday, my wife and I went to a NASCAR race. No, I'm not a NASCAR fan, to be honest, but my best friend from college, and his wife, who was my wife's best friend in college, are fans and they had two extra tickets to a race. For us, it was a great social event. It's so bizarre that the fans find the race boring until somebody crashes. It's sort of like rooting for career-ending injuries in other sporting events, and then wondering how they will affect the outcome. I doubt that I will ever be a car racing fan, but I did really enjoy the day with some old friends. I also got badly sunburned, which was my own stupid fault.

And now, I'm back at work and hoping to get out early enough today to get in a nice run along Lake Champlain on the bike path.

Oh yeah, my knee issues, which I mentioned in my last post, seem to be getting worse. This is certainly distressing. But, I see the chiropractor on Friday and I have my annual physical on Tuesday, so I'll ask both docs for suggestions on what to do next. I'm guessing I'll be in an MRI machine pretty soon.

I would post pictures from my hike up Lincoln Peak and my trip to the races, but the stupid upgrade of my iPhone's OS seems to have deleted my music, my photos, some e-mail accounts, but restored a whole bunch of stuff to the phone that I didn't want. This was not a good upgrade for many iPhone users.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Great mountain hike

The photo above was taken from near the top of Mt. Ellen, looking towards Stark Mountain, Camel's Hump and Mount Mansfield, all on the spine of the Green Mountains.

Some of my favorite workouts are when I hike the higher peaks in Vermont. For people who live in truly big mountains, our five different peaks of 4000' or more don't sound like much, but I usually use approach routes that include a minimum of 2000' of vertical. Last night, I hiked Mt. Ellen, part of the Sugarbush ski resort, and the route I used includes 2450'. I hiked up on ski area service roads and then left the ski area briefly to use the Long Trail to summit the peak. The distance on the Long Trail is very short, but I always like to get the real summit.

Regretfully, last night was also a reminder that I'm not in very good shape and my left knee is not happy. My record ascent time for this peak is 54:30. My best round-trip time is 1:27:59, done in August of 2005, just two days after a 23 mile trail run. Last night, it took me almost 1:28 to get to the summit, but not quite.

My slow time is due to 3 things:

1) I'm just not in very good shape right now and I've done no hill work at all this year.
2) My weight is too high and that really shows up when climbing.
3) I'm having some problems with my left knee.

I had my left ACL replaced in 2002, and it's been fine most of the time since then. I've done some really hard races and hard training since that surgery in May of 2002. But, in early March of this year, I took an awkward fall while skiing and it hasn't quite been the same since then. I'm concerned that I may have damaged my meniscus somewhat in that fall. I have my annual physical in a couple weeks and I'm going to ask for a referral to our local orthopedic surgeon at that visit.

When I hike uphill right now, my knee audibly clicks. It doesn't hurt, but it's annoying and it does cause me to alter my stride to get the clicking to stop. It's in the area of the lateral meniscus, but it's also possible that the clicking is originating somewhere other than the meniscus. That's what I need a doc to help me figure out.

But, despite being out of shape and not completely healthy, it was a beautiful night and the hike was fun, albeit challenging.

On Saturday morning, I think my wife and I are going to hike a different 4000'+ peak, trying to finish before the heat and humidity forecast for that day hit.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A disturbing pattern

Lately, it seems that my weeks have gone like this:

Monday: good workout
Tuesday, Wednesday: repeat
Thursday: tired, skip my workout, maybe work late or go out for a beer instead
Friday: Skip another day
Saturday: If the weather is nice, do something, if not nice, do stuff around the house.
Sunday: Feel guilty and ride my bike or go to the gym.

So, this week is going to be different. This week, I'm going to do my workouts - at least the first six days of the week:

Today: Easy five mile run outdoors or treadmill sprints indoors if storms hit
Tuesday: Mountain hike/run on the way home from work
Wednesday: Lifting
Thursday: Sprints or bike ride
Friday: Bike ride, easy run or lifting
Saturday: Longer mountain hike/run
Sunday: Bike ride or lifting or rest

No more excuses.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Two good days

I certainly didn't have a good weekend as far as diet and exercise were concerned. On Saturday, I ran a measly (and slow) 2.5 miles with one of my dogs. By Vermont standards, it was hot, humid and uncomfortable. After my run, I headed to Boston to see a concert with friends. On Sunday, I drove home, but never got in another workout.

My wife ran the Covered Bridges Half Marathon in Woodstock on Sunday. She ran about ten minutes faster than I ran on easier terrain a week earlier. It was about the same time she ran less fall on a tougher course, but she was better trained for that one. She was happy with a very steady pace on Sunday.

Sunday was also her birthday, so we had a nice dinner, including some Champagne and older Bordeaux (1989 Pichon Lalande - one of her favorites). After dinner, we tried to watch the hockey playoffs, but I couldn't stay awake. I went to bed and allowed my wife to finish my wine.

Work has been busy again this week, but I've gotten in some workouts so far. Monday night, I lifted. Last night was a short trail run as a warm-up, followed by 9 x 100 meter sprints. The last two were brutally tough.

Today, work is fighting me again, but I think I'm going to pull off a bike ride later today. At least, I hope so. I have a meeting at 3:00, and when that ends, I should be able to get out for a ride.

Not much else going on - planning a couple running races later this year, trying to train more consistently, eat better, get my work done. That's about it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tough week

I'm mostly still busy with work. The system is working pretty well, but it needs some hand holding still. Lots of checking and re-checking of data this week. Somehow, workouts have been tough to come by this week. Monday, I spent a couple hours mowing. Tuesday, I'm not even sure what happened; the week has been a blur. Wednesday, I worked late. Thursday, I had to pick up my new stove and get things set up so it can be installed today. And, we took my wife's parents out for a 49th anniversary dinner, which was nice. Next year, they have their 50th and it will be 25 years for my wife and me. We are already planning to have a few nice meals with some great wines next summer to celebrate those anniversaries.

Today, things seem to be calming down at work. Some system issues are slowly being resolved.

I need to mow again tonight. Maybe I can lift and mow, if I time things right.

My kitchen should be functional again and I can hopefully cook a meal at home.

Tomorrow, I'll work out in the morning, before I head to Boston for a concert. My wife is staying home because she's running a half marathon on Sunday morning. I'll meet her at the race finish and then take her somewhere nice for lunch to celebrate her birthday. Then, if I'm lucky, I'll get in my own workout.

I used to believe that people who said they didn't have time for workouts were just making excuses. I'm not so sure any more.

Next week, I start doing hikes in the mountains once or twice a week. Until I get my legs strong in the mountains, I don't think I want to do any long road runs.