Saturday, August 8, 2015

Personal Life Update: Rare Consistency

I joined Cross Country when I was in high school, and was pretty mediocre, at first, but the summer between 9th and 10th grade, I ran laps around my driveway (we lived on what was an old farm, so the driveway consisted of two parallel farm lanes that may have been 1/8 mile in circuit) for 20-30 minutes every/other day. It made enough of a difference that by the spring, I was in such good shape that I decided to take things up a notch. Instead of just running for time, I would time my runs and go for distance. And between the summer after 10th grade, and the end of the Fall season in 12th grade, I managed to run nearly every single day (missing a grand total of 20 or 30 days, perhaps), getting to the point where an average run could easily be a 4-mile or 6-mile jog with the mile-splits between 7:00 and 6:20 minutes. I loved the energy I had as a result, and I want to get back to that. It's only been about 8 years since I fell off my hardcore "run every day" routine, but it looks like I'm finally getting back to it.

Following is a record of my runs (longer than 1 mile at a time -- seriously, if your heart rate isn't at target for more than 5 minutes, it's not worth keeping track of), where splits are separated by commas, and stretches with a walk in between are separated by a colon.
Wednesday, July 29: Run 0520 @ 7:20,7:55,9:35  ; 8:35 Friday, July 31: Run 0525 @ 7:50,8:10,9:30  ; 8:10

Tuesday, August 4: 1mi @ 8:10
Wednesday, August 5: Run 0555 @ 7:52,8:12,9:16  ; 8:15 .
Thursday, Aug 6: Run @ 7:45,8:07,9:21 ; 7:52 Friday, Aug 7: Run @ 8:05,8:30,9:45 ; 7:45 Saturday, Aug 8: Run 0535 @ 7:50,7:45,8:50  ; 7:15

Did you see that? ^ I've managed to control my schedule enough that I've run each of the last 4 days in a row  -- did I mention that all of these runs are pre-dawn runs, so that I can escape horse-flies and energy-draining sunlight? I'm so excited :D

My heart rate within the first 30 seconds after any of these runs has tended to be 160 beats per minute. I don't know if that's good or bad, but it's statistically normal for a strenuous workout according to the little chart at the Y.

Some things that are neat for me to note: my first miles are not stellar--but can be, as the July 29 run shows--part of this is that I've been dealing with figuring out how to avoid chafing my heel. Every day a different part of the body feels whiny, but it loosens up after 2 miles, which I find extremely gratifying -- running makes your body feel less achey? Sign me up!

Also, the standard deviations of the individual runs appear to be diminishing, meaning that my performance is getting more consistent per every individual mile, as opposed to getting really good first miles but worse later miles. Compare the 29th with today, for example. There's a 2:10 minute range for my splits on the 29th, and only 1 minute for today's 3-miler. This shows in my enthusiasm for the 4th mile on each day -- it was worse than my first mile on the day I "bit off more than I could chew," but today I had enough oomph in me to run harder on the return mile. Arguably, though, every time I push myself, it improves my ability to do the same work next time. It's just a matter of pounding the pavement, and soon enough I'll be back to breaking the 7-minute barrier without totally gassing myself.
official Phys. Exam bp: 112/70. Good, but can be better! :D. A young woman in my summer class had a blood pressure of 90/45, I kid you not. The professor explained that as long as you're not dizzy, faint, or weak, the lower the better. Such a low blood pressure (she'd been running 4 miles every day and was training for a (half?) marathon) is indicative of an extremely efficient cardiovascular system. The heart doesn't have to work as hard, and the vessels are in such good condition that there's next to zero risk of hypertension or the associated atherosclerosis/blood clots/strokes that come with high blood pressure. I don't know if I can drop down to her level, but it's something to shoot for.

That's where I am in my journey to become hard-core, once again. :)

~ Rak Chazak

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