Monthly Archives: February 2014

Recalibrated: Nike+ and Plans!

Yesterday I had to recalibrate my nike+ app and dongle because the Apple Geniuses (Genii?) asked me to reset the phone to see if that would fix the GPS issue. Unfortunately it did not fix the situation.

I recalibrated using a treadmill because I don’t do not have access to a track at this time. The weather being so bad that they didn’t clear the high school track.

I reset for both a one mile run and a one mile walk. It all depends how accurate the meter is on the treadmill, of course, but I think it should be close enough. I set it to my average running pace and stuck to that for a mile.

Today I should have run a six mile tempo run but life had thrown a curve ball… A good one but it is putting my training on hold for a couple of days at least.

My wife and I had been looking to adopt another child and we got ‘the call’ on Monday night to come to the hospital… In Michigan. Quite a long drive from Philly but we got lucky with the weather. The last few days have been spent tending to the new born. There is still a long way to go from a legal perspective but we are hopeful that it will work out. We have, however, had a few failures in our past so we aren’t counting our chickens just yet.

Until we get to a hotel or a town with fewer cars/more pavement, the running will have to be on hold. This gives me a chance to save my legs for the twenty miler that’s on the cards for Sunday. (Not sure that will happen).

To be honest, it is extremely unlikely I would go to Nashville for the marathon if we have a new littl’un at home.

Hoping for the best. Updates as they happen…

Keep on running, my friends.


First Tracks for an Easy Three Mile Recovery

Surprise! It snowed again overnight. 2.5 inches so far and it is still coming down slowly. I had the honour of making first tracks this morning as few cars had gone by and no snow ploughs yet. I did have to cross the road once as a snow plough bombed past me.

My legs felt leaden when I first started; trying to shake out the lactic acid from Sunday’s 18 miler. Feeling better after the run and it is always a cool thing to run as snow is coming down. 3.2 miles in 26:12 giving a pace of 8:11. It is supposed to be a 9:02 but that isn’t happening. I actually wanted to run it faster but my legs wouldn’t comply.

Roads were also nice and empty as everyone was scraping down their driveways. It is nice to have people to say “good morning” to as you scoot by.

Popsicle Chin and Eighteen Long Miles

Back in the US and running on snow covered back streets. It was a cold 25F actual with a feel in the single digits when I went out this morning. The cold wind froze my chin. Is there a point that it is too cold for your chin? I just massaged it and then dug out my neck warmer and put it back on (I had it stowed inside my jacket; just in case).

Part of my route today was along a road that has a “bridge out” which always reminds me of the classic movie “Smokey and the Bandit”. It has actually been replaced but they haven’t put up the guard rails yet so they haven’t officially opened it to traffic. This road was completely unplowed (unploughed?) and the snow was mid-calf to knee height for a quarter of a mile. By the end of it I was stumbling along, but I kept a sort of running pace. Very high knees seemed to be the key!

Eighteen miles is a long way and today I gave in and plugged in headphones at a ridiculously low volume level so I could hear some podcasts while I ran (The Bugle, WTF!, BBC News Quiz). Whenever cars were near, I couldn’t hear the podcasts, that’s how quiet I had them set.

I was definitely plodding along today, whether that is because of all the travel, the bumped up workout on Friday, too much partying last week… I’m not sure. Suffice to say that I ran around the actual speed that the program suggests I should run. I did eighteen miles in 2:43:31 with two brief stops to cross roads and adjust neck gaiter. That is a 9:04 pace. To be honest there were some places where I just had to shuffle along because the ice was so thick and I could not go around it. In general the roads were okay, but there were some problems and they were mainly on hills, so that made them more treacherous.

Since getting home I’ve had an uncontrollable urge for a milky coffee (large cup of milk, boiled in microwave, then add instant coffee; yum) and it is helping to make me feel warmer from the inside.

Despite the temperatures I still managed to sweat off quite a lot of weight during the run. My pre-run weight was 152 and post-run was 147. I did drink one bottle of water while u was out there, but clearly not enough to offset what I sweated off!

Yum. I think I’m going to have a second cup of that.

In general, I don’t feel too bad after the run. A little weak at the edges and very grateful to have access to a bathroom, but that was all really. My knee was clicking as I climbed the stairs but doesn’t seem to have any issues. Next week will be a challenge as it has my first 20 mile run. Hopefully the roads and trails will be clear of snow by then and I’ll be able to do some of those miles actually on proper trails.

Dreadmill Workout: Losing a Day and Out to Play

I’m back in sunny New Jersey after a long couple of days of conference, partying and travel.

I had waaaa too many drinks on the Tuesday night because I knew that I didn’t have a run the next morning so it was really my only night to have a few. What started at 6:30 kept going until 4am. Long session which devolved into many shots at some point in the evening. I spent the time hanging with a good group of colleagues from Australia in a bar where we had free run over the music selection.

Wednesday’s conference was helpful with my team getting many mentions (which is always a good morale booster), then Wednesday night was supposed to be an easy night… But I got led astray (to be fair, I am quite an instigator myself) and ended the night at the Ku De Ta nightclub at the top of the hotel. Drinking in the open air at the 57th floor. Pretty good night and stuck to beer…

However, this left just three hours for sleep before my first flight out. There was no way I could squeeze in my planned six miler (interval run). Then began 26 hours of flights and airport time. Three wasn’t sufficient time at Tokyo to do the run at the airport and, to be honest, no one would want to sit next to me for the next twelve hours after a workout like that!

Upon arrival in NJ there was snow everywhere. My wife had booked me a hotel at the airport in advance and I gave in and used it. This meant one thing. I was going to have to forfeit one of the runs from my schedule: either the six mile Speedwork or the three mile easy run.

I checked out the hotel dreadmills and they seemed to be okay so I decided to do the speed workout with a shorter warm up/cool down. The weekend run calls for 18 miles (if I can find enough miles with no snow on them!) so I don’t want to do too much today.

One interesting thing was that I was able to compare my nike+ calibration with the dreadmill which could itself be out of calibration. Interestingly, at the end of the five miles it was only 1% higher than my nike+. This means I am probably doing ever so slightly more than I need to do, but that is pretty impressive accuracy. Or rather, they may both be inaccurate but by a similar amount.

Another observation was that when I set the dreadmill at a particular speed I could vary my pace over quite a large range as measured by nike+. This is because nike+ measures your cadence to assess your speed. On my middle interval with the speed set to 8.4 mph I could vary the pace between 7:30 and 8:20 quite easily with cadence tweaks. I guess this is why you get better results when you have calibrated the nike+ to your running style. Despite this experimentation, it is clearly quite closely calibrated to my actual average running cadence.

Turns out, however, that I did the wrong workout because I neglected to check my schedule before I went to the gym. I ended up doing a tempo run (with a negative split, for fun) rather than the prescribed speedwork. Whoops.

I did a half mile warm up at 6-6.4 mph, interval 1 at 7.8 mph, recovery at 6.4 mph, interval 2 at 8.4 mph followed by recovery, then interval 3 at 9.0 mph. I then did a half mile cool down. Total distance 5 miles.20140214-093714.jpgPurely coincidentally, the last of these intervals was at the correct pace for the workout I was supposed to be doing. Notice the negative split on the intervals. Each was faster by 0.6 mph and you could plot that as a straight line across the peaks of that graph. đŸ˜‰

The dreadmill was horrible. It had a tv screen showing basketball highlights (so I couldn’t focus off into the distance) and having all those stats so immediately in front of you means that you just sit there watching the numbers tick… like your life ebbing away.

Now I have to get myself together and go to dig my car out from the airport parking lot. Hopefully someone there will have a shovel I can use!

Mad-Dogs and Englishmen

… Go out on the midday sun! Or so the song goes.

I had an important early meeting today and couldn’t get out before sunrise for my run so, instead, I went out mid afternoon. Blimey. It. Was. Hot.

20140211-175336.jpgI ran a simple four miler along a flat trail from the hotel that takes in part of the Formula 1 racing circuit (pit lanes). It is by the water so I had a nice headwind as I went out, but coming back it was still humid air. My pace was slow again @8:56 and I wonder if it would ever be good in this heat? Summer seems like such a distant memory.

I have to get ready for the evening event to the conference now. Time to strap on my party shoes…

Make-Up Run

No, this is not some screwball new fangled theme run where you have to wear heavy make-up and run a marathon. Although that does sound like there might be some potential in that… Maybe sponsorship from some large make-up company… Or KISS.

Yesterday I was too hot/tired/dehydrated/unacclimatised (delete as applicable) and didn’t complete my six miler. So today I threw in an extra, but short, run to try and help with me getting used to the temp.

I went out at six AM and it was 75F+ but no sun equals less humidity. I managed a 2.7 mile circuit around the main marina area with a pace of around 8:43. It is hard to keep a constant pace as there are quite a lot of steps to climb on a circuit such as this. It was easier today and I didn’t need water until I finished the run.

There are quite a lot of people out running around this route which is nice to see and gives me some targets to try and catch up with. But it seems that all I need to slow me down is a temperature hike! My legs still feel heavy and tired.

My GPS issues continue despite the new location. I will have to go and see Apple when I get back. In the meantime I’m using the nike+ app to track my runs. I also configured the dongle so that I could track my walking distances but didn’t do this until the end of the day after having walked about 10 miles.

Because of my juggling weeks in the plan to accommodate this travel, tomorrow’s run is a mere four miles. I had quite a lot of drink last night with colleagues so that didn’t help much (6 beers and 2 mohitos). Also hitting the sack at 12:30 was a bit late. But the whole purpose of being here is to mingle with my comrades.

20140210-064655.jpgI thought I’d end with this snap over the edge of the infinity pool at my hotel, the Marina Bay Sands. No filters or effects on that shot. Lovely. I shall have to get into the pool at some point…

Singapore Heat: Running Around the Marina Bay

After 27.5 hours of travelling I arrived in Singapore for my four day conference. I grabbed four hours of sleep and then my body decided it was time to get up.

By 9am it was already hot and humid out there.

20140209-111514.jpgA sweaty 82F which is about 70F hotter than my run on Friday AM near Philly.

The company have put me up at the famous Sands Marina Bay Hotel that has fabulous views out across the bay which my phone camera doesn’t do justice too.

20140209-111727.jpgI was supposed to run 6 miles today but I just ran out of Omph after 4.5 miles and needed to get some cool air. I should have gone out when it was cooler but after all the travel I had to catch some Zzzs. I’ll make up the miles with an additional small run on Monday AM before it gets too warm (not that it ever really gets cold here).

The run was around the bay gardens then over the Flood barrier. This meant I had to come back over two other very high road bridges. Singapore is very kind and provides pathways across the bridges but they don’t connect to anything at ground level. You have to sort of guess the way you need to head to find the next bridge entrance. I had this issue last time I was here too. Generally I knew the lay of the land from my last visit here in November.

I also ran in my new Brooks Adreneline GTS shoes. These were a pair that were recommended by my running shop as they are less corrective than the Beasts I had been running in before. They are supremely comfortable and I love the styling: very aggressive looks.

20140209-112259.jpgTime to get showered as I am shivering from the AC in this place. Brrr. In fact, I’m just going to sit on the balcony and warm up a little before I do that! Now I have to erase the effects of such a long journey.

I’m looking forward to the conference and to starting week six of the marathon training plan. I hope I acclimate before the speed workout on Thursday. Then I’ll be back in Philly for the three miler on Friday and the eighteen miler on Sunday. Those numbers are starting to sound daunting but I know better than to attach any significance to them. I’m pretty sure I can do that distance at this point. Even though today’s four and half made me look like this:

20140209-114140.jpgWell, the travel had something to do with it too. Time to get shaved!

Bring on the Heat

My last run in cold US weather for a week. Five relaxed miles at 7:52 pace. Nice reverse splits before my looooong flights. 16hrs to Hong Kong then 5hrs to Singapore and all economy, baby!

20140207-071733.jpgNow I have to pack for my trip. It will be warm there so only one set of thin summer clothing is required. Plus some snacks and a water bottle holder. Hopefully the trip and timezone change may fix my iPhone GPS issues; I guess we’ll see. Taking Nike+ dongle just in case.

The power was still out for many people in the neighbourhood today. Some have their generators humming but most houses are vacant. This storm really did a number on the power suppliers.

Yesterday I witnessed and helped out at an accident where someone didn’t stop at traffic lights that were out because of the storm. They blasted through the junction at full tilt and hit another car with a young girl and elderly lady in the back. Thankfully no major injuries as the safety features all seemed to work. Amazing.

I’ll leave the cold with a picture of my daughter’s melting snowman kit (made of soft putty). It is rather Dali, don’t you think?


Massaged within An Inch of my Life

Last night I went to see my massage therapist for a little trigger point therapy as I’ve been a little tight for the last week or so. Turns out my muscles are a hot mess!

Both my shoulders, the right side if my back, my calves and my glutes. My therapist beat the crap out of me. At one point I got a nose bleed as the pressure was so intense. First time that’s happened. The massage was good so I booked another for next month rafter than leaving it quite so long next time.

For today’s run I felt the remaining aches so it wasn’t too fast. Six miles at 8:08 pace. The first couple of miles felt like shuffling along.

We lost power yesterday for six hours due to the ice storm, and most of the areas I ran through today still didn’t have power. There was a constant humm of generators as I moved from street to street.

One more cold run then off to Singapore for a week. Hurrah.

Recovery Week: Easy Run #1

The crazy weather here continues and we had about eight inches of snow again yesterday. The really wet heavy snow too. This year has been crazy in the Philly region.

I still went out on the roads today. This recovery week has a six mile easy run scheduled for today and it was lovely out there. Brisk cold air. A light snow covering on the roads that had mainly been ploughed.

The ‘Other Runner’ said “Good morning” again today. Also, the runner is a she. How she runs in predawn light with no lights and wearing black is beyond me.

Six miles in 49:03 is an avg pace of 8:09 and the splits look good too!

20140204-065417.jpgNegative split centralé!