Thursday, December 23, 2010

Running Challenge

This challenge is issued to all the blog members, but for Eric, it is mandatory. Although I understand the difficulties of running and training while doing worldwide travel, I don't think his lack of running is simply due to that. He himself admitted that it just wasn't "fun." Since when does running have to be "fun"? Is this a new, softer, gentler approach to running than when we were younger?

My challenge is for the blog members (and especially Eric) to establish a training program, pick an actual race (preferably a 5K) to enter, train for that race, enter it, run in it, and report the results with a good blog article and if possible, photos.

Charlottesville certainly must have some good 5k races in the Spring, so that might be a good time to shoot for.


Update on Biking Injuries

For those who don't remember, or never knew, I took a nasty, head-first, fall off of my road bike in April. My left hand is now almost pain-free. There is still a spot inside my mouth that is somewhat damaged (flesh, not teeth) and my dentist said it might never completely heal. But at least the mouth damage isn't painful--it is a just a reminder of the fall.

The more important injury was to the ulnar nerve on my left arm. That injury is probably the result of riding done many years ago and riding done more recently. It was a minor annoyance until I did a 100 mile ride this past spring. About 8 hours on the bike in 1 day was enough to really cause some serious discomfort. Some testing revealed that I was dangerously close to permanent damage. The solution was to get off the road bike and give the nerve time to recover. Having done that, it looks like I might be able to avoid surgery. One sure way to avoid surgery is to not get back on the road bike. But I don't want to give it up. So I'm going to continue to stay off the road bike until the spring and then make some changes to the bike that might help take the pressure off of the nerve.

If the changes to the bike don't work well enough, surgery is an option.

Getting off the road bike didn't mean not biking. I did a fair amount of riding of my hybrid bike this summer. Riding the hybrid seemed to be okay on the ulnar. It caused some different nerve-related discomort, but that nerve discomfort, according to my doctor, is not a sign of potential really nasty, permanent ulnar nerve damage. That discomfort is a result of minor spine injuries that might have been caused when someone rear-ended me in a car accident many years ago.

Winter Training

I haven't run outside for 3 or 4 weeks. I haven't run inside either. There is a treadmill in my garage that was given to me because its previous owner had stopped using it, but it is in pieces and I haven't yet attempted to put it together. I really don't like running on a treadmill.

I stopped running outside when it got too cold for it to be fun. When I stopped running I did increase the intensity of my exercise bike riding, but not the amount of time I ride. I'm still riding for 45 minutes--enough to feel like I'm getting a workout, but not so long that I can't wait to get off the bike. Riding an exercise bike is a really poor substitute for riding a real bike. Riding a real bike is fun.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Biking Heart Rate Question???

Chris will probably have to answer this one, although Eric bikes also and may be able to chime in. With the onset of winter, I have started doing some workouts on a fairly cheap exercise bike in my basement. It has 8 magnetic resistance settings, although 7 is a bit too easy and 8 is too hard. Anyway, the question is how do I get my heart rate up comparable to running? My heart rate seems to hover around 98 to 100 beats per minute, when I think it is usually well over 130 even on easy runs. Last night, I pedaled really fast for the last minute in a 30-minute workout, and that got it up to 120, but I don't think I could sustain that pedaling rate. Is this just a question of building up my biking muscles until I can pedal faster for a longer period, or until I can stand to use the highest resistance setting?


Friday, December 10, 2010

Cross Country Season Finale!

Season Finale!! My fifth and final cross country race of the "season" is over! I think it was successful, but as usual, with cross country races, time does not tell you much, and sometimes place doesn't either. Regardless, I finished 8th overall out of about 140, 1st out of 15 in the 50 to 54 age group, and a time of 27:49 for an unofficial 6K. Now 6K is about 3.75 miles; however, two of us with GPS watches clocked the course at between 4.03 and 4.11 miles. GPS typically underestimates hilly courses, so this was a minimum distance. Using 4.03 miles, I averaged 6:55 per mile, but my guess was the distance was closer to 4.2, and thus my pace closer to 6:50.

I did do a little online research after the race, and the guy that finished just 4 seconds ahead of me ran in the 17s for 5K and 4:57 for the mile earlier in the year. Not sure what that means, but overall, I felt like I ran and competed well.

I must say, though, that the Montgomery County Road Runners Club puts on a great buffet after the race, and the entry fee was only $10. The homemade chili was the highlight for me!

I think the real test of my endurance was that I was able to get in the car and drive 8 hours back to Buffalo after the race, and not feel too bad!

Next up, a possible go at at an indoor mile on December 30, 2010. Unfortunately I can't train on the track, due to snow and cold. In fact, today, I cross country skiid for 45 minutes in the snow instead of running!


See results below or click on the post title to see full results.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

John Aldridge (the quarter-miler)

John Aldridge was the name of my landlord in college when I shared a house with four other people (including Chris Lennon) at 14 1/2 Roosevelt Avenue on the north side of Binghamton. John Aldridge is also the name my accountant here in Charlottesville. It turns out that John Aldridge the accountant is also John Aldridge the quarter-miler, and man, what a quarter-miler he was.

In 1965 he set the Wheaton (IL) College indoor record at 48.9. I don't know what kind of track he ran that on, but back then there were not many good indoor tracks, so that was a very nice time. In the 1965 outdoor season John ran 47.7, a Wheaton record, and that was on a cinder track. With today's equipment, track surfaces, and training, who know how fast John would have been. The Gold Medal time in the 1964 Olympics for the 400 meters was 45.1.

John was an accomplished Master runner and is contemplating another comeback. Now I have yet another person to look up to, which should take some of the pressure off of Mark.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What happened to my cold tolerance?

I don't know what it is but as the cold weather has swept into the northeast (and it hasn't even been THAT cold) I'm really feeling it. I can't ever recall feeling so uncomfortable in temperatures in the low 30's. As recently as last year I was finding 32 degrees to be my favorite bike commute temperature. Mostly it's my hands. Usually they don't hurt until it's down in the teens. This year they hurt at about freezing.

This cold intolerance has put me off cycling in the late fall. I was on track to be easily over 3000 miles this year. Now I'm going to have to scrape together 57 more miles in December to make that!