Sunday, March 22, 2015

Day 76 - A really painful week saw the streak come to an end. I'd been having trouble with my right shoulder for a month now. It became significantly worse the day before Day 76 (78 of the streak). I ran on Day 76, and it was painful. That night, I was in the ER, thinking something was torn and getting no word otherwise from the "doctor" in the ER.

I went through a very painful work week, and an excruciating drive home. Jill looked it up and my symptoms were more like tendinitis, which is what I hoped (but didn't really think) was the problem. She gave me a mix of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Then, I got a shot of cortisone and as I write, my shoulder is an order of magnitude better. It still hurt, but not nearly as much and I'm quite certain it's tendinitis and not a tear.

Unfortunately, I had to learn that by giving up the streak - it just hurt too much and I wasn't open enough to alternative ways of treating it. But it was a great streak and a valuable lesson to learn.

My goal now is to finish 2015...with at least one workout per day. I don't want a run streak because I need to give my shoulder a rest if necessary. But that doesn't mean I can't bike or whatever.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Day 71 (294 left): Ran in an unseasonably warm downtown Chicago and ended up with my fastest outdoor 5k ever and first one under 20:00! I started by just running. I knew I was going faster than normal, but I didn't think I was going that fast. I looked at Strava and at the first mile I was right around 6:00 and I say said what the fuck holy cow! I decided right then I was going to try and run under 20:00. I felt good the entire way, dodging traffic and people (there weren't a lot of either, it was almost 9 p.m.).

I ran along Adams, and Michigan Avenue, had a long stretch on Columbus (where I've finished the Chicago Triathlon twice). The Columbus stretch was pretty fast - no cars. As I headed back I knew it was close. I hit the 19:00 mark at just shy of thee miles. I was almost there.

The phone Strava GPS is a little delayed and I looked down at 3.1 miles and 19:52. I'd later realize that I really ran the 5k in 19:48. I'm very pleased with that.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Day 70 (72 overall, 295 left in the year) was an outdoor run. As Spring arrives, I feel like I "survived" this past winter, especially the last six weeks. It was solid cold. Spring, or late Winter, hit like a wall, with the temperature going from 0 to 50 in a couple of days. Running outdoors beats the treadmill - and I like treadmills.

My leg pain fluctuates from not-so-bad to "I think the streak is over." The run on Day 70 was very chill for the first two miles and then I ran a 6:30 including a 1:16 400. For now, the streak is intact but as I've always maintained, a LOT has to go right for this thing to continue.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Day 66 - 299 more days this year. After a couple of very iffy days of running with a sore left shin, today was the first day of basically no pain. I still plan to take it easy for the rest of March (running - getting hard cardio on the bike). The last week or so was mostly painful and thoughts of stopping the streak were prevalent.

Run at The W Hotel in Chicago for the 2nd time this year - I like the treadmills there I also did some work on the recumbent that day as it turns out. Otherwise, my thoughts are on next week as Spring is going to hit with a flurry next week - as in from 0 to 50 degrees in a week. Going to bring my bike to Wisconsin, and really can't wait to get back outdoors. I made it through the Winter, streak (barely) intact at 68 total days, 66 for the year.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Day 60: A fine Sunday morning, day 60 of the year, 62 of the streak, started with semi hard 30 minute cycle spinning. Sometime during the spin, I decided to run at 9.5 MPH. I started there, and it felt GREAT. Two miles later, I decided to try and break my personal 5k. I increased the speed as I went past the 2 mile mark, finishing the last .25 at 12 MPH.19:13! Best treadmill 5k ever. It rocked.

Day 60 done.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Day 59: ran the lake, which is always fun. Today's excitement came in the form of almost going into the lake. I ran in between water in the channel and what looked like an ice fishing hole. As I got in between the channel and the water hole, I heard the ice crack everywhere. That was not the best sound ever. I gingerly got through and finished a good 3.6 mile run.

February was the 2nd straight month with a workout every single day. I almost hit the magical 50 workout mark in a month - a busy travel and music week slowed that down the final week. Still, 48 workouts in 28 days is pretty monumental for me.

Starting tomorrow, I'm going on a non junk food streak. No candy, ice cream, donuts, or fast food, including pizza. Running every day will be cake by comparison.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Day 52 was another run on the lake, which followed a fun bike ride on the lake. I got 5k in and I think I was at my very end of my rope because I wanted nothing more than to stop. The snow was softer so the going was tougher, which probably explains the fatigue.

Overall, I'd say I'm feeling as good as I've felt the entire journey. Still some soreness in my shins, but I expect that with so much running.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Day 51 was a fun run on the lake, which is FROZEN SOLID. While last time I struggled between worrying about falling through the ice and almost a foot of snow, this run was enjoyable. It was still slow, but it's slippery and I had a bunch of gear on since it was 10 degrees. Regardless, it was a great change of pace - I needed me some outdoors.

It was a 50 minute, 5 mile run. Perfect.
Day 50 - a nice treadmill stroll in mid afternoon. Didn't feel great or not, just sorta in the groove. I have continued to allow myself some extra calories - feeling so sluggish and irritable is really not the point of it all and I can accomplish my goals without starving myself. (<-- That was for me, not you.)

At any rate, when I get to this time next week, I'll have almost worked out for two entire months in a row. February may be a fairly prolific month in terms of total workouts and may go above 50 for the first time for any month (and during the shortest month of the year). Total hours is no big deal (running doesn't take nearly as long as cycling and I'm not doing any long indoor rides now) but 50+ workouts in four weeks is pretty satisfying.

Physically, I feel as good as I've felt. No soreness or even fatigue. That will change tonight - duathlons planned today, tomorrow, and Sunday (I doubt I've ever had a 17 workout week). Of course, that's only because I fell to 4th place in the weight loss challenge.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Day 49: Every day is a new day, and body is a mystery (at least to me). Today, day 49 of 2015, day 51 of the streak was a 7 mile 1 hour run. It was nice and easy at 6.7 MPH, then I ran some at 9 MPH, then down to 7.5 MPH to average 7 MPH. I felt great. It probably didn't hurt that I ate more today including some good carbs (Chipotle salad) for lunch. Was definitely happy I felt so good. I wanted to run fast today but held back (except for the 1/2 mi at 9).

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Day 48: Well, it's been a couple of days in a row that it's been sorta tough. I think thinking about this streak is causing me more trouble that the streak itself. I mean, what's the difference between Day 1 and Day 48? Any given day is the same as the last but the cumulative effect, or just my own psychology is getting to me.

Thank again, it's more likely just running indoors too much. Don't get me wrong, I dig treadmills, but too much of anything is just uninspiring. I know, I know...I'm running every single day - how is that NOT TOO MUCH? Well, in the end, there are many places and terrains to run, each unique in its own way. Not so much with treadmills. They're pretty much the same.

Spring is right around the corner, but these next couple of week could be a challenge. On the other hand, I could just suck it up and run out in the cold.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Day 46: yesterday I ran a 43:05 10k (20:30 first 5k) and it took the wind out of me. For the 11 weeks (5th week ending today) going on right now, I'm also doing a weight loss challenge at Great Lakes Health and Fitness of Coldwater (MI). This means that in addition to running every day, I'm pushing extra calorie cutting workouts (mostly biking...actually, all biking). This is less than ideal, no doubt. In fact, considering I've gone from 181 to 167 pounds, I'm shedding muscle now too. Again, don't try this at home folks, this is year six for me and even so, it may still be dangerous.

So what does that last rambling paragraph mean other than I'm clearly not getting enough oxygen to my brain or some such physiological blah, blah? Well, it means that I'm getting tired. It's OK to be tired. Even for days at a time. I have repeatedly found that today's tired is tomorrow's "more fit." It doesn't mean I won't slow down - I will - but I won't stop. Today was  good example.

I rode a calorie busting hour on a spinning bike. At 70% of the max resistance (as measure by turning the resistance until it wouldn't go anymore and then going back three full turns) for 50:00 (plus 5:00 warm up and 5:00 cool down) it was a struggle. I find standing for long stretches simulates running, and I like that.

After the bike, I wanted to go home. And sleep. For a week. But that's now how it works, and that voice is so faint now that I can barely register it. Instead of slumbering, I ran at 7 MPH for 30:00, or 3.53 miles. I felt tired. My legs hurt (I have a little hip thing going on from yesterday). I should qualify legs were sore, they didn't hurt. Hurt, to me, means broken or something's torn. Everything else is sore. Anyway, a tired and sore 3.5, but day #46 was a good one, as almost all of them have been thus far. (There were a couple single digit temperature runs in West Bend that I may not put on the "good" list, if I'm being honest.)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Day 43 of 2015 (45 of the streak): I don't normally run with a plan. I just run. I may pick a time and a location, but that's usually about it. However, I do have one rule: I don't run hard on consecutive days (very seldom if ever). Otherwise, it's a free-for-all.

The plan for D43 was to do a treadmill run after work. That's all I knew of the plan. Moments before running I thought, you know, I should see how long I can run 10MPH. Deep down, I think I can run that fast for a while. So off I went, 10 MPH.

It felt good. I knew I was running fast (for me) but I also felt pretty comfortable. About a mile in (it was a 6:15 first mile because of treadmill startup time) I think the psychology started to get to me - I started thinking. Never a good sign. 1/4 mile later I was done but not finished. I slowed up to 7.5 for just a minute to recover, then went to 8.5, then 9.5 to see if I could beat my best tready 5k (19:52). As 2.5 miles came and went, I was feeling it, but knew I was way too far into it to let go. At 3.0 miles, I knew I was going to have my fastest indoor 5k. I upped the speed to 10 MPH and finished in 19:39.

Day 43 is done. And it was a good one.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I guess I've always had some OCD. I can remember counting the number of Christmas trees as I was going to swim practice from home on 77th Place and Hamlin to Curie High School on Chicago's Southwest Side. (234 was the most ever recorded - I reminded myself of the number by tying it to Marcus Allen's average yards per game at USC that year. Yeah, THAT OCD.)

I've also always kept track of things - like the mass of Sports Illustrated magazines I still have to this day, or the tally of hotels my wife Jill and I have stayed at it (221 as of February, 2015). It therefore stands to reason that both would find a moment to connect. For the time being, that moment is now.

I started running with some guys from West Bend, WI. Much better runners that me. I started running more often, and faster than I ever had. And then the moment arrived - one of the guys said the words my OCD and collective nature yearned for - "My run streak is 204 days in a row." What?!? You can run that many days in a row? Should I run that many days in a row? From November to December I ran 5-6 days per week to test my legs. They felt great, and then I thought, "I should try to run every single day in 2015."

It's a pretty crazy goal in general. Certainly conventional wisdom would never endorse that much running without days off. I don't disagree, but it's my body and I'll do with it what I damn well please, thank you very much. Now, before you think I just woke up one day and decided running for a year in a row was a good idea, consider the following:

  • 2015 will likely by my sixth consecutive year with at least 250 workouts (over 400 in a year twice)
  • I've run two marathons, did a Half Ironman, and cycled thousands of miles
  • Ran hundreds of miles - well over a thousan
It's still not ideal, and I don't recommend it. OK, qualifications and disclaimers aside, I'm trying to run every single day in 2015. I made some rules up to push myself, but I don't consider these hard and fast - they just are for me:

  • Each run must be at least 5k - the shortest running race distance (non-track)
  • The run must be consecutive - i.e., I must run 5k all at once without walking
  • There are no requirements for speed (or not)
  • The run must begin before midnight to could for that day
As I start this blog, it's February 11th, the 42nd day of the year. I've run every single day (the streak is actually 44 since I happened to run Dec. 30-31 too). In that time, thus far, I've run on a lake, at night, in snow, in below zero temps, on treadmills, and on the same day as I had a colonoscopy (that sounds much worse than it was). For the first time (maybe in my life), I exercised every day in a month (in Jan - it boggles my mind that I'll have to do that 11 more a row). I've already gotten to the brink of breaking the streak. It was 15 days ago - my shins hurt in a weird way. I decided to run slowly that week. It worked. They still hurt a little, but I had 15 workouts last week (9 running days, 6 stationary bike rides), so it's all good. I track everything on Strava -

I've also had a couple of days that I wasn't sure I'd have enough juice to run. Today was such a day. The 42nd day of 2015 started at 3:30 a.m. EST, involved a 4.5 hour drive, 8 hours of work, 2 hours of music practice, and then a 10:45 p.m. 5k on a Hampton Inn treadmill. Were it not for the streak, and a kind switch to CST, I would have never gone running today. As it stands, day 42 is in the books.

It was an easy run, those are rest days now. Felt good.