Run #M128 - 6 miles - 7/20/14

Duration: 1:13:14

Distance: 6.55 miles

Rate: 11:11 per mile

Uh, so I was angry or something in the hour or so headed up to this run, so I didn’t really want to run at all. So, rather than not run, I just rage-ran for six miles. Oops! Went too fast, undoubtedly, and I’ll be paying for it. Oh well!

I rushed out the door almost as soon as I got home because it was practically freezing out (79F) and there was a nice, cool breeze. I drank up, hit the road without a hat. It warmed up a bit in the third and fourth miles as the sun rolled out, but it was fine. I did, however, start feeling parched toward the end, having not brought my bottle, so once I got home, I easily downed a liter of water.

Also, in the second mile, someone’s yippy dog came chasing after me, owner unseen. I pushed it away mid-stride. Fun.

Four miles on Tuesday!


Today is a very special day.

Before I moved out to Arizona last March, one thing I wanted to do was get in (better) shape. The plan was to do a walk every morning in hopes that when we went to E3 in June, I wouldn’t be the weak creature that over two years of call center life had reduced me to.

I didn’t end up walking every day and largely gave up on it by the time June rolled around. E3 came and went and while it was absolutely tiring, I wasn’t dead. Still, I wasn’t very committed to getting into shape afterward and it looked like, yet again, I was passing up on a big opportunity to stop hating my body.

Actually, I hated myself. I was out of work and broke. I still couldn’t stand for more than half an hour without being in irritating pain. Nothing was working out. Everything I’d set out to do had failed and I was very alone in a strange new place. It was the absolute worst. I got very depressed.

It was a year ago today that I decided to change things around.

It was becoming an incredibly hot July morning when I sat in bed flipping through Facebook on my tablet for a second look at a Vibram FiveFingers ad. Weird, huh? It was a picture of runner Ruby Muir running the Tarawera Ultra-marathon, a 100km run through New Zealand’s northern forests. She was doing it in Vibrams, which I’d started wearing a few months earlier, prior to our LA trip. This intrigued me. So I read up on the race.

Then I read up on other races. Then still others. Then local marathons. I kept digging and digging until nearly noon when I had to force myself to sleep.

I decided that morning that I wanted to run a marathon.

At first, I was going to keep it a secret. I was doing it for me. I wasn’t trying to impress anyone, so what was the big deal? I’d just surprise everyone with the transition. I decided against it, though and it was all for the better. It was still another three weeks before I filled everyone in on my plan, but I had tons of support and, as kind of a shock to me, it turns out I was inspiring a ton of others. Over the past year I’ve received a lot of messages asking for help and I’ve been receiving a ton of compliments, which I receive with a bashful blush each time. I’m just doing it for me.

Today I don’t hate my body anymore. I’m still broke, but I like how I look. I like how I feel. I’ve had a few stumbles along the way, but I’ve lost 105 pounds and I’ve run more than 14.5 miles in one uninterrupted stretch. In less than a month and a half, I’m going to Colorado Springs and I’m proving myself in my first competitive half-marathon in the company of friends in the comfort of home.

I can’t wait.

I’ll keep you posted.

Run #M127 - 4 miles - 7/19/14

Duration: 50:49

Distance: 4.41 miles

Rate: 11:31 per mile

I’m keeping this short and sweet because I’ve got a bigger post to file just after this. I know, I’m a busy man, but this is a busy day! This was a breezy run under a mostly cloudy sky. No water, sunglasses, no hat. Went nose-breathing for the first mile and a half. I was taking it pretty slow throughout, but in the fourth mile, I decided to kick it up a notch and sunk my rate from about 11:50 to the pace you see above. Felt great!

Six miles tomorrow!

Run #M126 - 11 miles - 7/17/14

Duration: 2:17:20

Distance: 11.64 miles

Rate: 11:48 per mile


So if you read the incredible tome that we, collectively, call Run #M125, you’ll know I had this week’s long run course planned out! Just after I headed out the door this morning, however, I decided to throw it all in the garbage. I did some measurements on the block I live on and came to 1.05 miles online, which was just perfect for what I wanted to do for long runs. I had envisioned still running on the hottest of days and keeping some supplies in my front yard to pick up at specific intervals - like more water - which I could do if my route took me right by the house, rather than through a nexus a mile away. So, I decided to test this theory on an unproven course. It was successful.

Each lap turned out to be 1.1 miles exactly, meaning that for an eleven-mile run - and understand, this was math conducted purely while suffering Runner’s Brain - I would need to do ten laps, plus a little exit tangent of my choosing. I don’t know hos this all worked out, but it did and I’m glad. I switched my Gear Live watch to mute in an attempt to stem RunKeeper crashes and never once did it crash. Then again, it was between 3:30AM and 6AM, so I didn’t get any notifications to see anyway.

This hot lap also allowed me to emphasize elevation changes, something that’s very hard to do in the flat floor of the Phoenix valley. Each lap included the highest point on any previous run, but also one of the lowest, so it wasn’t just an effort of length, but climbing and descending as well. RunKeeper informs me that this required more climbing than any other run I’ve ever done - including the 14.6 miler I did at the beginning of May, my previous peak. So, I’ll be working this course on long runs going forward, but using my traditional “scenic route” courses on shorter outings.

Just a quick note on the Gear Live. I wore the battery down to 9%, but when I plugged it in, it wouldn’t charge. I checked the different stages of the charge cable and everything was fine there. Restarted, nothing. Turns out my sweat was interfering with the pogo pins where the charge connection is made. Be sure to wipe that area clean before you plug it in!

4-6-4-12 next week!

Run #M125 - 4 miles - 7/15/14

Duration: 50:42

Distance: 4.43 miles

Rate: 11:26 per mile

What a nice, cathartic run. I was feeling the It’s-Friday-And-I-Just-Want-To-Lie-Down Gump on my walk home, but running four miles is practically nothing. The sun was shining as I arrived home, but cloud cover quickly picked up and it was overcast as I ran. I kept the hat on because at least it was keeping my sweat at bay. Google says it still peaked at 93F, but out of the sunlight, it felt considerably cooler. It also lead to a nice pace. I ran for more than half a mile just nose-breathing. Of course, helping things is that I consumed a liter of water before heading out.

So, great run! Eleven miles on Thursday!

Run #M124 - 5 miles - 7/13/14

Duration: 1:04:16

Distance: 5.48 miles

Rate: 11:44 per mile

I was planning on running slower today, naturally. Yesterday was a bit fast and I didn’t want to put any more stress on me than I had to. On top of that, it’s an extra mile today. What actually caught me off guard was the heat. It was a full ten to fifteen degrees hotter today than yesterday (98F as I finished), which made the latter half of the run a bit of a struggle.

Actually, it made the whole thing a bit of a struggle. I’m finding that the heat makes you feel like you’re going slower than you are, so while I felt like I had really slowed the heck down in the wake of the hotter temps, I actually hit my usual pace anyway, so I had to mentally work harder to slow myself even further. On top of that, the heat was hellish. When I wasn’t keeping my breathing and pace down, I was daydreaming as hard as possible, just trying to keep my mind off the blasted environment. I never seriously considered a stop - something I would’ve done two months ago - but I knew that the full five miles was going to be just a few shades shy of a death march. I imagined that this is what Colorado will be like, just with less oxygen and less heat producing the same kind of resistance. It probably won’t be this drastic, though.

I knew to bring my heat, but I also played safe over sorry in bringing my water bottle with me. About three miles in, I knew that if I hadn’t, I would’ve probably collapsed from overheating. Good idea, N!

RunKeeper crashed - or just disappeared - on my Gear Live this time, but I brought it up and killed the run through it with no issue. Great! Only problem is, the app still sends you back to the main Start Run/GPS screen, so you still have to manually submit your run to the site, then manually edit your notes on the site and manually send it to Facebook. I haven’t dropped my phone as a result of whipping it out at the end of the run, but the extra hassle is probably worth not taking the risk.

I don’t know how I was able to write this much about today’s run, but whatevs. Four miles on Tuesday!

Run #M123 - 4 miles - 7/12/14

Duration: 49:34

Distance: 4.45 miles

Rate: 11:07 per mile

Blah blah, fast fast, Saturday Saturday. Actually, this was a great run. I was huffing a bit, even through the first and second miles, but I didn’t feel like anything could stop me. I just kept pushing through and I got home before my head felt like exploding. Should’ve worn my hat, but I didn’t! Silly me.

The main differentiator this time around was that I got my Samsung Gear Live yesterday. It’s different than their previous Gear smartwatches because it runs the new Android Wear OS, so it augments all the notifications on my phone natively, plus apps use it right off the bat. In this case, RunKeeper takes advantage of Android Wear, so as soon as I hit “Start Running” on my Nexus 5, I tucked it away and got to glimpse at my pace on my watch, rather than relying entirely on the audio cues. Those cues still help because I’m able to monitor split pace, whereas the watch extension will only display overall time, distance and total average pace. I haven’t found any way to configure this, but maybe that’ll change in time.

The big deal for me, aside from being able to glance at my pace and that, is that it serves as a remote for the app, so you can pause or stop a run by simply swiping on the watch face and tapping a button. I’ve only tried it this once, but when I tried it a first time, it actually booted me out of the RunKeeper watch app, so I needed to swipe back down, get back into the extension, then swipe over and stop again. This is all very new, but it added a few seconds I wasn’t expecting. Also, in waiting to address the full app on my phone, RunKeeper did its thing where it simply saved the run, rather than letting me add a note about it or submit it to the site. SO, if you’re not on top of things - which is something RunKeeper does anyway - you’ll need to manually submit your run to the RunKeeper site, then from there, manually submit it to Facebook or Twitter. I guess I just need to be quicker on the draw. I’ll report more tomorrow when I run my five-miler tomorrow! Hopefully today didn’t wreck me…

Run #M122 - 10 miles - 7/10/14

Duration: 2:10:18

Distance: 10.93 miles

Rate: 11:55 per mile

Phew! Heck yeah! I’m super happy to, yet again, be pushing boundaries on miles. When I got back to the house, I really wanted to see how this compared to M79, the first time I ran ten miles, and it appears I trounced it. While I ran a speedy 11:15 per mile that time around, I came back to the house on fumes, a trend that seems to continue to the next few long runs as well. I simply pushed too hard. 11:55 seems slow, but it’s not about the speed, it’s about the distance.

It was just past 3:35AM when I pushed off and it was nice and dark. I was huffing and puffing a little in the first few miles, but I found my pace by the fourth mile - which is entirely normal for this kind of long run. I felt comfortable throughout the run, although by the end, I was slipping more into daydream mode. My course was, essentially, the same as my first ten-miler, but I’ve lengthened Leg D since then, which is why I clock in near 11 miles up there, rather than the original 10.55. Being the same, after the intro mile, I did two Leg Bs, two leg Cs, two leg Ds, then two leg As before hitting the exit mile. Clouds were obscuring the western sky, so even after sunrise, a cloudy sheath still blocked out any direct sunlight. That was great because I knew I’d be cutting it close on the BLAZING SUN TORCHING MY BEAUTIFUL SKIN thing.

Starting next week, I’ll be substituting shorter legs for longer legs again so it won’t be 11.9x or 12 something when it’s really 11 miles. I’m also getting my Samsung Galaxy Gear Live soon, so I’m hoping to control my Runkeeper through a smartwatch rather than having to dig for my phone each time, which is ugh.

4-5-4-11 next week. See you then!

Run #M121 - 3 miles - 7/8/14

Duration: 38:38

Distance: 3.37 miles

Rate: 11:27 per mile

The clouds are moving out, which means it’s a “wear a bloody hat” day. It was 84F when I left and the sun was already starting to pound down. I was pretty energized all night and my legs felt crisp, so I was ready to go. I probably could’ve used a bit more water because I was dehydrated all night, too. Hmmm. Anyway, the usual struggle of probably going too fast and having to slow down. I felt like I was running slow, but my respiration and sweat shower during the first mile told me otherwise. Everything else was just fine. Good run!

Ten miles on Thursday, woo!

Run #M120 - 5 miles - 7/6/14


Duration: 1:02:50

Distance: 5.53 miles

Rate: 11:21 per miles

Why! There be Crazy Eyes McPfeifer!

I wanted to go faster today, but I didn’t realize exactly what that meant. I was just following my breathing and everything seemed right. Mile after mile just kept melting away and it felt great. I really am getting that Runner’s Euphoria back. I may pay for it tonight when I fall asleep, but this was a great run. Of course, helping things was the fleeting, intermittent cloud cover, although it still hit 85F out there.

Three miles on Tuesday!