Category Archive: Running

Running

Back to Running

Tomorrow will be the fourth run of my current return to running.  Coincidentally, tomorrow is the 9th anniversary of my first run. (Excluding the time when I lived in New York and signed up for the Chase corporate challenge and did almost no training and attempted to run 3 miles..  I had no idea what I was doing, I ran too fast, hated it, and immediately quit.  So I count September 24, 2007 as my first run.)  It was the “run” before I started the couch to 5k program.  After that I ran a 5k.  Then a 10k.  Then decided to run every day (for 3 1/2 years).  Ran some half marathons and eventually a marathon.

A Few Stats (because I love stats):

My first “run” was September 24, 2007.  Distance:  1.6 miles Pace:  18:45

During the couch to 5k program, my pace seemed to bounce around 14:00 min miles

My first 5k was a Turkey Trot on November 27, 2007.  Pace 11:10 (and I was ELATED with that pace)

My best 5k was June 7, 2009 with an 8:51 pace! (I was even more elated with that pace)

My current pace seems to be around 14:00 min miles.  That totally means 8:51 is in my future, right?  hahahahaha

Some Experiments in Running and Technology

Okay, technically it was one experiment testing several hypotheses, but anyway.

Background for the experiment:

I used to run.  I had a Garmin Forerunner for a very long time that I loved very much and then I had a Garmin 220, which I also loved very much.  These both served me well before there were phones with GPS and apps and watches, oh my.  I also used to upload the data from these watches to the very awesome RunningAhead website.  I love the site, and especially the training log.   All my running data is on that site.

I now have an iPhone and an Apple Watch.  I haven’t been running, but I have become addicted to the “Activity/Move/Stand” stats on my watch and also some of the health stats like steps per day.

I also like to take walks and play Pokemon Go.

What I wanted to have happen:

I wanted to go for a run and NOT wear two watches (aka my Apple Watch AND my Garmin).  I wanted a way of tracking my steps taken during the run and have my run and steps count toward the Apple Watch activity/move stats.  I wanted a way to record all the great running stats that my Garmin normally tracks AND be able to upload it to RunningAhead.  AND, I wanted to play Pokemon Go during my run (gotta hatch those eggs!).  Oh!  And I also wanted training programs on the watch, like Couch to 5k or similar so I have cues to start/stop running.  No big deal, right?

Pre-experiment trial and research:

I tried a few apps with the watch to see what I could get out of the above requirements and had a really difficult time getting in all of my objectives.  If you open too many apps on the watch, they cancel each other out.  If I started Runkeeper and then the Workout app, Runkeeper stopped.  I tried different apps, same problem.  Then I found this awesome reddit thread, where someone experimented with several variations on recording a run and realized I needed to do.  Further research showed I could upload Runkeeper’s export to RunningAhead.  AND Runkeeper has several free training programs on the app.  Runtastic was in the running (pun intended) for a while, but their training programs all cost quite a bit of money.

Final experiment:

I loaded Runkeeper on my phone, which automatically loads it on my watch.  I made sure both were fully charged.  I started Runkeeper on my watch (but didn’t start a run).  I started Runkeeper on my phone in order to cue up today’s run per the training plan.  I tapped start.  I checked my watch to see that my watch was running Runkeeper, it was.  I went back to the phone and started up Pokemon Go.  I walked/ran for 34 minutes.  I ended the run on my watch.  Saved the run on my watch.  Sat down at my laptop, opened up Runkeeper.com, exported my run.  Went to RunningAhead.com and uploaded the file.

Experiment results:

Phone battery went from 94% to 55$ on a 34 minute run with Runkeeper running and Pokemon Go.  Obviously, this isn’t something I’ll want to do on long runs, but it worked and I’m happy.  My training run worked perfectly from the training plan on Runkeeper.  It “counted” on the Apple Health/Activity apps (and I’ll incidentally get two new badges this week since my run was included!).  Everything exported and imported beautifully to RunningAhead.  ALL OBJECTIVES ACHIEVED.

All in all, I’m very pleased with the results.  On longer runs, I’ll have to ditch Pokemon Go just for battery reasons, but I’m okay with that.  Extra super bonus that I’d love would be if Runkeeper could figure out how to get the running cues to use the haptic on the watch.  In a separate experiment I tried several apps to see if any of them would do that and none did.

Anyway, I’m back to running and hoping that all this technology keeps me motivated to stick with it.  Happy running!

Race Report: Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon

I suppose I should do a race report.  Last weekend I ran the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon.  But it wasn’t really about the running.  Or the race.  This time, it was about the people.  Many years ago, I got into running and I joined a running site, www.RunningAHEAD.com.  The site has several running forums and boards, and most importantly to this post, user groups.  One of the groups is for women only, the LLR.  From that online user group many many friendships have grown.  Over time, my participation in the group was reduced, especially once I stopped running.  However, I still interacted with a couple of the ladies via Facebook and/or Twitter.

Last January, I posted to Facebook from Las Vegas.  Wouldn’t you know it, so did my friend Lisa.  My “internet” friend Lisa, I should say since we’d never actually met in person.  Upon realizing she was there, I asked her where she was and for how long.  She was at a hotel I could see from my window, for about 40 more minutes and then she was leaving Vegas!  I of course jumped in a cab and rushed to meet her.

Sometime after that I also became friends with a few more ladies from the group on Facebook.  This past June, I got back into running (and even ran a race).  So when Lisa said I should come join the ladies and run a half marathon in Toronto, I said yes.  (Never mind that I was nowhere near really BACK to running, as I said, this was about the people).

Fast forward to last weekend, where I got on a plane (in the exit row) to Toronto.  And see a couple across the aisle from me (in the exit row).  When we land in Toronto, I hear her mention “LLR”, and I think to myself it must be a coincidence.  I get through customs and check Facebook.  One of the other ladies that is getting picked up by our hostess Lisa said she is in baggage claim.  I ask via Facebook messenger if she sat in the exit row with her husband.  Spoiler alert: she did!  We met up, found a few others, and eventually I ended up at Lisa’s house.

Friday night and Saturday and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, I met several women from the LLR (and some of their husbands, too).  Several of them were meeting each other for the first time as well.  I very well COULD have felt like the odd man out since I didn’t participate in the last few years in the group online.  I imagine many of the women could easily have thought to themselves, who IS this woman?  But I never once felt out of place or uncomfortable.  They are an amazing, wonderful, hilarious, welcoming bunch of women.  I am so glad to have met them and gotten to know them.

Oh yeah, and there was a race, and it was awful, and it was my worst finish time for a half by something like 30 minutes (official finish time: 2:53:55) and I felt like poop run over by a truck, but I ran it with Lisa and it was so worth it.  The end.

Some of the ladies of the LLR

Some of the ladies of the LLR — photo credit Meghan Braithwaite taken by Erica Boos, I think

 

View of Toronto

View of Toronto

 

Pre-race

Pre-race

 

Mid-race WHILE running

Mid-race WHILE running

Post-race

Post-race intentionally making bad faces. Lisa wins.

 

Race Report: What?!

That’s right.  It’s a race report.  My last report was for my disappointing marathon in 2010.  My last actual race was a 10k in June…of 2011.  Over three years ago.

Last week, I ran in the Yankee Homecoming 5k.  I just re-started running again recently.  Recently == June.  I knew I could finis, but I knew I wouldn’t be fast.  I had no expectations other than just running.  Not a lot to report on the race itself.  Official race time: 31:15.  I came in smack in the middle of other runners and smack in the middle of my gender/age range.  As I ran, I remembered something.  I like running races.  I want to run more races.  Which is good since I signed up for a half marathon in October.

I’m now done with Week 1 of training for the half.  As one tends toward optimism in Week 1, I’m feeling good.  I’m maybe even feeling like I could beat my half marathon PR, but more importantly, I want to get in under two hours.  What did she just say?  That’s right, you heard me.  I just ran a SHORT race with a 10:04 pace and I’m somehow thinking I’m going to run a half marathon with a 9:05 pace in 11 weeks.  Clearly, I’m writing this on a runner’s high or something.

 

Blink Blink Hello? Running? Is that you?

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I used to run.  Quite a bit.  Every day for three and a half years.  The shortest runs were just a mile to make the streak and the longest was a marathon.  I loved the streak, it kept me motivated… until it didn’t.  So I stopped.  And would you look at the time, 8 months seemed to slide by without a single run.  Not a one.

Until the other day.  I up and decided to throw on my shoes and go for a run.  Being a smart and experienced runner, I did not throw on my shoes and go out for an all out 5-mile run.  I went back to basics, sort of.

When I started running in 2007, I used the Couch to 5k program.  Ah, the old days.  LOL.  I printed off the schedule old school style.  I used a plain old stop watch.  Over time, I upgraded to “Big Red”, my Garmin Forerunner for satellite GPS tracking.  Then all you kids these days stepping all over my lawn come along with your newfangled apps for training programs and GPS and playing music, which I had no part of.  I had Big Red.

So the other day, I returned to the Couch to 5k program (I was daring and jumped to week 3).  And I caved in and got the Couch to 5k app on my phone. I’m going back out in a few minutes and I caved again and got Map My Run for my phone.  I’ve left Big Red in the closet.  I attempted to play music while I ran, but I still find the quiet and forced meditation to be part of WHY I run and I don’t want to interrupt that with music.  So yeah, back to basics, but in a new way.

Anyway, it feels good.  I’m happy to once again be excited and look forward to my runs.  In fact, gotta go now, time for my run.  : – )

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