Dec 31, 2009

Thursday: New Year's Eve

I think the sentiment for today is nicely summed up by what a friend said sometime back, "Reasonable greeting of well being for approximate completion of Earth's orbit from an arbitrary origin."

Today morning, I woke up with a sore body and I knew just what I had to do: Put my running shoes on, walk to the nearest Starbucks, have two shots of espresso, and go for an easy slow run.

Distance: 3.7mi   Time: 32:16

I am now feeling fresh and all warmed up to wait for hopefully exciting times in 2010. Have a safe New Year's Eve and may good times be with you in 2010!

Dec 30, 2009

Wednesday: Hamstering around Lake Montebello

After yesterday's pavement incident, I was really grateful to get any amount of running done today. I woke up in the morning with my knees still hurting but the swelling was mostly gone. That was a good sign. I popped another pain killer, rested and waited in hope for the pain to subside. By evening I was felling better, so I confirmed Jay last minute about today's run. We ran to Lake Montebello and did five loops before heading back home. Lake Montebello is a beautiful almost-flat oval loop in northeast Baltimore. On a nice warm day this place is milling with joggers, runners, dog walkers, housewives taking a stroll, bikers, and kids on skateboards. But on this cold (31 degrees) evening, we were pretty much the only ones there.

Distance: 11.20   Time: 01:33:46

Dec 29, 2009

Tuesday: Aborted long run

I had a long work day today and wanted to get fresh with a nice long run. But alas, I had to trip on a pavement, fall flat, and abort a run that had begun so well.

Distance: 2.82mi  Time: 26:00

I left today evening with an eager anticipation to run after a weary work day. The weather outside was a cool 24 degrees accompanied with a soft breeze. Feeling strong from last week's mileage and rest, I was very sure of doing a nice long run. Then it happened. I had just turned right from N. Charles to E. Northern parkway and went past the Grace United church. By now my pace was picking up, body warmed up, and then all of a sudden I tripped on a pavement and fell flat face down. I guess I was trying to protect my face and ended up landing on my left knee and left elbow. My leg hurt. My arm hurt. I was way too layered up to assess any damage there. It felt terrible to limp back to N. Charles and wait for a cab to head back home -- not just the physical pain but the agony of giving up a run. But when it comes to running, being sensible prevails over being a hero. I aborted the run.

I did learn a valuable lesson today. Always carry a few dollar bills instead of just a credit card. From where I was standing it was impossible to get a cab without a phone, and I don't carry my cellphone with me. After more than half an hour of limping/waiting, I found a bus to go back home. Fortunately, the driver was kind enough to let me ride for free after I explained my situation to her.

I got back home and inspected the damage. Turns out, I have a badly bruised knee and elbow. The knee is a tad swollen. For now, I'm taking a pain killer and keeping my fingers crossed.

Dec 27, 2009

Pasta Sunday

Today was my running sabbath! I met with my best pal and his wife in DC and kind of toured the city. After quickly seeing the obligatory monuments, we spent most of the time at the Arlington National Cemetery. There is something nice about this place -- beautiful and serene -- but it's also the first runner unfriendly place I've been to. There was this big sign at the entrance saying "no jogging". How about running, sprinting? May be I'm being borderline irreverent here but I guess that was my first reaction as a runner. Are there other public places where runners are prohibited?

The whole DC travel, catching up, etc left us with little time for breakfast and lunch, so we had a late meal of cannelloni spinach ricotta and gnocchi, and finished it with coconut  macaroons and latte. For dinner today, I just heated up a bowl of pasta fagioli (left) that I had made earlier. After my recent large expense computer purchase, I've been doing some cost cutting and started cooking at home. I am constantly surprised at how easy, cheap, healthy and efficient it is to cook at home. Ask me for a killer almost-instant pasta fagioli recipe :-)

Dec 26, 2009

Saturday: Recovery run

Why does it feel that Christmas is not yet over! I am still in that holiday mood for not doing anything other than running. For the most part of the day, I ate, slept, cleaned the house, and messed it up again. The weather outside is becoming warmer. 48 degrees, really? Perfect weather to run long distances but today was a recovery day for me. So, I did a slow 7 mile run to flush the toxins away. Reading Galloway's book, I realized I am not hydrating enough. Jeff seems to be drinking from a fire-hose all the time!

Distance: 7.26mi  Time: 01:06:49

I am spending my "rest" day tomorrow playing tourist in DC with a friend and his wife visiting from California. Excited!

Update: Whoa! I just noticed that my random route today was nice and hilly. Must remember this route for future runs.

Dec 25, 2009

Friday: Christmas run

Merry Christmas everyone! The weather outside is simply awesome!! There were reports of freezing rain today morning but being a lazy morning person, I woke up late to this beautiful running weather. The temperature is a perfect 38 with a cool moist breeze. For the first time in days, I ran in shorts. It was funny to see people bundled up in layers coming out of churches from the Christmas service while you're running in shorty-shorts. I'm sure they were looking at me as if I were a freak! I did catch a few runners along the way, everyone in their long running pants.

 Distance: 13.62mi  Time: 01:51:20

I did the usual route to the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill, Fort McHenry, Little Italy, Fells Point before heading back with a comfortable 8:10 pace. The post run drink was a quart of chocolate milk. Yes, I drank a whole quart of chocolate milk! Isn't that worth running for? With all the calcium and Vit-D it's the best $1.69 I spent. What do you like to eat/drink after runs? My favorites are pizza and chocolate milk. I usually carry a credit card so I can buy something on the way but today being Christmas, most places were closed. After relaxing a bit, I heated up a HUGE lunch (left) that I had made earlier. Brown rice, tofu, 3 kinds of beans, mushrooms, celery, tomatoes and onions. Yum!

Dec 23, 2009

Tuesday: Harbor run

Wonderful weather today evening with a nice cool 34 degrees. Jay & I ran to the harbor, Fort McHenry, and back. The snow on the roads are mostly plowed, or walked over making it easier to run. But watch out for the clear roads with black ice! Those clear puddles of water with a dangerous icy film on the top waiting to deceive the most unsuspecting runner. On these days, your best bet would be to run on slush however yucky it might feel.

I still haven't figured out a way to beat the traffic lights and esp. with these road conditions you've got to be extra careful on the roads with approaching traffic. Fortunately, there was nice 4 mile patch around Fort McHenry where I could run uninterrupted with an avg 7:30 pace but overall this run took around 8 min/mile.

Distance: 13.5mi    Time: 01:51:28

Dec 21, 2009

Sunday run

There is something nice about running in the snow. The Celtic Solstice run was freezing cold and not really my kind of running weather -- Oh, how I miss San Fran! However, Sunday was gorgeous and sunny although a bit cold. The snow plows working overtime, people shoveling their driveways, kids playing in the snow; it's so festive! A combination of the snow storm and weekend lax made it possible for me to run on nicely plowed roads on N. Charles and St. Paul's in the middle of this Sunday afternoon. I had an easy 5.5mi run to the harbor and stopped at the Eddie's of Mt. Vernon for a coffee only to realize that I forgot my credit card :(


Distance: 5.6mi Time: 49:37
Slow jog from Eddies to home

Dec 19, 2009

Celtic Solstice!

That explains everything!

Dec 18, 2009

Slack days

I'm really anticipating the Celtic Solstice run and have been taking it easy for the last three days. Wednesday, I worked out at the gym (core, shoulder) and have been saving myself yesterday and today. That also did a lot of good to my work. Another thing that's helping is my new computer.  I recently got a new computer, which means I'll have to be very, very frugal for the next few months.

Nervous about tomorrow's race weather. If reports can be believed, we're expecting at least 20 inches of snow.

Crazy weather. If it snows bad, the race might turn into a fun run. In any case, I want to just head out and run! Need motivation to run in bad weather? David Goggins post today speaks to my heart:
Life is not always going to be this care free happy place that we would like it to be. What life throws at you is a lot of negativity. It's what you do with that negativity that makes you a stronger human being ... Failure is an option. It's what you do with the failure that makes you who you are. Our failures mold us. [more]

Richard Whitehead; Chicago 2009 - 2:50:38
Photo courtesy: Runner's World Magazine

Dec 15, 2009

Run with Jay, the Hampden, and getting lost.

Today's run was towards the Hampden to see the Christmas decorations. What a sight! Will be going there again to get the pictures. Jay joined me on today's run. I had planned initially for 5 or 6 miles but ended up doing 12. The weather was a nice 48 and the sights were pleasing -- couldn't stop. Yeah, right! Okay, that's only half the truth, the other half is we got lost. I "thought" I knew my way to the Hampden but we ended up taking a scenic route trying to find our way.

Distance: 12.27mi        Time: 01:47:41

Dec 14, 2009

Surprise Jog

Something happened today evening: After the visit to the doctor's office for a mono test (negative), I had an irresistible urge to go out. This will be the first time in days since I've gone farther than a block. So, I decided to go for a jog and soon I started running!

Distance: 3.5mi     Time: 32.25

I definitely felt some effect the antibiotic was having on me. When I began, it was hard to exert but soon it was fun and I found myself doing 7-7.5 min/mile. I was so charged that I did the last half mile at 6:15 min/mile pace.

Recovery Monday

The meds are still kicking in and I can't wait get back to life, work, and chasing pavements but looks like there won't be much running for the next few days. I spent the weekend mostly resting and reading when I could. Yesterday, I found this hauntingly beautiful video of San Francisco, the city I love the most, and the city which can bring out the runner in anyone.

I miss running along the Embarcadero, on the Golden Gate, eating on the run at Extreme Pizza in Cow Hollow, and the good folks at Fleet Feet running store in the Marina. May be I should sign up for the next SF marathon, or may be I should just move back there!

Dec 13, 2009

Lousy weekend: On Meds

Friday morning found me with a fever and back ache, and set the tone for the weekend. I missed the Friday and weekend runs due to flared tonsils and strep. The antibiotic (Penicillin) makes me feel sapped out and extremely thirsty. Thank God for chilled Gatorade. There won't be much any running on Sunday or even Monday, that is like four days of no activity. Besides, it's very important to give sufficient rest to the body for the immune system to fight back.

Naturally, I'm a bit worried about losing the conditioning I've gained so far. The Galloway's book on running, that I've been reading off and on, suggests that there will be NO loss of conditioning for up to a week of no activity! Beyond that, you rapidly lose conditioning.

There is lot of school work piling up due to this weekend's inactivity. Getting back on track is going to be fun! I hope to be of decent shape for my Celtic Solstice 5 miler next Saturday.

Dec 10, 2009

It's all about food

Okay, it's not all junk food that I eat but hey cravings are better off gone at once. Talking yourself into "I will eat a little bit of junk each day. Moderation is the key." is also not a good idea. That leads to snacking junk food which can become a serious problem. My take, you want to eat junk food, no problemo. Just down the entire bag of chips or whole bar of candy until you don't feel anything for it. Then you can mind your running business without feeling deprived.

Today's breakfast was obscenely healthy -- Steel cut oats and flax seed meal with Greek yogurt topped with fresh blackberries and honey. This is high calorie breakfast but every bit of it is gold. The orange juice was a perfect finish to what turned out to be a yummy breakfast. This breakfast costed me about $2 to make, much better (and cheaper) than grabbing a sandwich on the go. Steel cut oats take while to cook so I usually make a big batch and put it in the refrigerator.

Lunch was a similar heat and eat fare. I had pre-cooked a big bag of fusilli and stocked it in the fridge. The vegetables are the microwave-in-the-bag ones found in the frozen food aisle and the chicken salad was from a deli. I LOVE vegetables, so you will find a more than generous portion in my plate :-) This deal costed me around $4 to make but way cheaper than eating out. Also, most restaurants only offer you a mingy portion of veggies.

I did do a Starbucks on my way to school, costed me $3.56 - just noting it down here to compare to the other sumptuous meals I had today.  Okay, one weakness at a time!

Dinner was simple; just hummus on a slice of bread, a handful of nuts, and a banana. Running tomorrow with a friend early morning.

Dec 9, 2009

Towards Loyola college

I missed BOMF timed run today morning. But who really get's up at 4:30? Because that's how early I should get up to be at Christopher's Place by 5:30 am. On race days when I've to be up early I end up not sleeping at all but can't do that every week for the BOMF run -- esp. for short runs.

Today's run was towards Loyola college. I went in my comfortable 8 mile pace. But the biggest change was my shoes -- I'm trying out a new pair!

Distance: 5.73 miles   Time: 50:15

Today's pre run food is the junkiest I've ever had. Some of you runners might cringe looking at this list but at least I got all of my cravings out of the way:

Mayan hot chocolate from Carma's in the morning
Chocolate croissant from Marie Louis Bistro -- yum!
More coffee
One bag of my favorite potato chips.

I am now noticing that my eating is not exactly on a
graduate student budget. Need to reduce eating out.

Dec 8, 2009

Slow confused run

Well, hello! Have you ever run on roads during heavy traffic? How do you do it? I made the mistake of running to the Harbor at 5:15pm in the thick of evening rush traffic. It was so frustrating to stop at each and every signal. Unfortunately, this was a day when every signal turned green -- only not for me. I love running to the harbor -- only I should figure a route with less halts.

Distance: 9.9 miles   Time: 1:36

Dec 7, 2009

Switching to Garmin Forerunner 405

I am giving up on BuddyRunner app.  This could've been the coolest app on the Android phone but given that it's free I can't seem to expect much from it. I've written to the developers about the problems but after several missed runs, bad pace calculation -- overall this is a buggy app and I don't have patience to wait for their development cycles to kick in and fix the bugs.

So after running more than 250 miles with BuddyRunner, I switched to my Forerunner 405 which was gathering dust since Toronto marathon.  It's easy to use and very reliable except that it was very expensive! But doesn't make sense to not use it if you already own it. Does it? It has several cool features but the learning curve is steep. I've used it in fixed settings mostly during marathons -- also ran the San Francisco marathon with it.

Oh BTW, I am starting this new running blog. Exciting!