I Did 5 Miles Yesterday

I did 5 miles yesterday, running the whole way, and averaged 15 seconds per mile better than last week’s 4.5 mile run. Plus, the half mile I added has a bunch of long uphill stretches – not super uphill, but enough that I was feeling it.

I’ve done a 10k before, but walked a bunch of it, because of the hills, and since my holiday runs in California I have tried to embrace hills. So I’m happy with my results so far, and I’m looking forward to next weekend’s 5.5 mile run.

Also, the weather was wonderful! On Thursday it snowed several inches across the middle of Alabama, maybe 100 miles north. But Saturday it was 62 degrees and sunny.

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Building My Mileage

I made it my first goal of 2013 to stop doing run/walk, and tell my mind to just be quiet, while I started to do continuous runs. I am building it slowly, just like the experts advise, with just 10% more each week.

My first run ended up being 3 miles, although I had no goal. I just wanted to run as far as I could, at a sustainable pace. The middle of mile two, my brain started telling me I needed to stop. I was second-guessing my breathing, I was worried about leg cramps, all kinds of “you should stop now” thoughts. So I lied to myself, and said I’ll stop after two miles, and then kept running for another mile.

Yesterday I did 4.5 miles, at an 11:00 minute pace. (It’s funny, but indoors on a flat, cushioned track, I can do a 10:00 minute pace. Stupid hills.) And you know what? Every time I go out, the same thoughts start up in the middle of mile two. But now, every time by the end of mile three, everything is starting to click and it’s just not that hard to keep going.

My Christmas gift HR monitor tells me my heart rate is only about 6 or 7 BPM faster at the end of my run, so that must be good. My heart rate recovery Saturday was 25 BPM, but that was after about 90 seconds because I had to dig my iPhone out. Most sites say 15-20 BPM in 60 seconds is good. I’ve been using the iSmoothRun app, which has a cool way of both telling me my HRR and recording it – but I forgot how to use it. After looking it up, I can’t believe I forgot something this simple.

The iSmoothRun instructions say:

“The HRR tool can be found in the settings tab after starting a run. If you tap the button, the App will countdown 60 secs and record the HR drop. That’s your Heart Rate Recovery and it will be logged. The bigger the better. Small HRR may indicate fatigue.

Because the phone might be in an armband or a waist belt by the time you take your phone out and search for the tool the HR might have dropped already 10 beats. So to solve that problem we coupled it with AutoPause. When Auto Pause kicks in it records the time and heart rate of the last step (not AutoPause activation time but last step time), and these values are used by the HRR tool. So after your last interval, or when your HR is high, stop, take the phone out wait for AutoPause to kick in and then tap HRR. Stay relaxed until the measurement finishes.”

I’m not breaking any records at this pace, but I’m 57 years old and off the coach. I’m also enjoying all the by-products of my fitness quest: eating healthy, dropping my blood pressure by about 20%, losing all the weight, and getting to buy new clothes.

My first planned 5k race is February 23rd, and my first 10k is three weeks later. I hope to be up to running 8 miles by the time the 10k rolls up, and be able to do much better than my first 10k before Christmas. The beauty of living in Alabama is you can run all winter here. The bad part is that our 100 degree heat with 90% humidity in July – August is probably worse than winters where it’s 10 degrees.

Garmin App Came Out Today – I’m Underwhelmed

Today, Garmin’s official iPhone app came out. It’s supposed to be used in conjunction with their new bike devices, but it works great on its own…if you believe what it does is great. However, from my point of view it is poop (that’s an IT term for underwhelming) compared to the unofficial iPhone app I reviewed yesterday (Goals Part 2 – and a Super App). That app is well worth the $0.99 investment, compared to Garmin’s free product.

Better reporting, better graphs, better mapping choices, just better all around. Garmin appears to spent the minimal amount of design effort, and time, to get an app out the door. But for 99 cents, download both and see for yourself. Then let me know which one you like, but commenting on this post.

Goals Part 2 – and a Super App

Like all of you who use DailyMile, I got a link to my prior year’s data. Only my prior year was just 4.5 months. But still, good info to look at when planning my 2013 campaign.

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I found another really nice app for both iPhone and iPad, that doesn’t let you enter any info, but rather presents your Garmin Connect data in some very nice ways. For instance, here is a graph of my swimming pace, over time.

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It gives you data summarized by the same running/swimming/cycling categories in Garmin, but has simple drill-down into a ton of data. Also gives you weekly and monthly totals for these three categories. Here’s a cool “heat map” of my last weekend run, showing cadence. You can see I started slow (a bunch of the beginning part of this loop is up hill – good for practice but bad for cadence) but then stayed green most of the way. It was a four mile run, and the red color at the end was my “give it everything you have left” sprint to finish after I had hit four miles.

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Go to the App Store, and enter Garmin Connect (there is a disclaimer about being not affiliated with Garmin in any way, but that’s how I found it), and you’ll see it costs $0.99 and can be downloaded to every IOS device you have.

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OK, I’m off to analyze all the data this app is giving me.

Goals for 2013

Looking back (a very short distance) at my four and a half months of 2012 fitness totals, I get these numbers:
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(There are some extra treadmill and elliptical workouts added to the totals, for anyone who notices the math is not right)

Frankly, it’s staggering to me to think that in a third of a year I lost 39 pounds (I just missed my 12/31/2012 goal of 40 pounds) while walking/running/swimming 302 miles. Because before I started I had never run or done lap swims.

My initial goal when I started was simple – get out of bed at least three mornings a week and do some kind of exercise. And I have, so I’m now claiming a 100% success rate for 2012!

My 2013 goals need to be just a tad more precise, however.

  • To start, I want to lose that last pound and keep it off.
  • I also want to continue to lap swim three days a week, and run three days a week, for an hour every weekday and longer for my weekend run. My times will take care of themselves, if I spend that hour every morning.
  • I want to run three or four 5k and 10k races this spring, and get my 5k time to 33 minutes or better.
  • My longer goal is get ready for, and finish, a half marathon by the summer.

First Run of 2013

I went running today, to start the new year off right. After turning cold for a week, out of nowhere it was 70 degrees today with rain coming in during the afternoon.

I got a Wahoo Fitness Heart Rate Strap for Christmas from my kids, and wanted to try it out with a nice run around the neighborhood. I also wanted this to be my second “no walking” run, since I have vowed I am past the walk-run stage.

I did 3.4 miles on Sunday, and 3.7 miles today. I’ve done a 10k already, but it was definitely a run-walk 10k. I’m trying to increase gradually, like all the experts say to do. The heart rate data is interesting, but now I’m going to have to do a couple of all-out efforts to see if my real max heart rate is higher than my calculated MHR. I thought I was going at a nice Z3 pace, but it showed I was at a high Z4.