Back At It; Added Push Ups

Image-1 (2)I was finally brave enough to re-add push ups to my work out, and I’m glad I did. I only did 50, but I did so comfortably and without really any pain. When I hit 50, I began to feel like I had to push, so I stopped. I didn’t want to reinjure my elbow. Also, it was a little tender coming up, so I decided I’ll wait another week before I do them again. At least I know I’m not completely worthless in the push up department and I won’t be starting from scratch like I did a year ago when I could barely do 10. 60 would have been work, but I could have done them. A year ago, 10 was a struggle.

As for running, it went well. I had to change from 4/4 to 3/3 breathing at 1.5 miles, but that’s because I wanted to keep my pace steady. I have started using the audio cues from Strava while I run, and I like that it tells me my pace. I knew I was falling off a bit with each 1/3 of a mile, but I was able to reduce the fall-off a bit by changing my breathing to give myself more oxygen. The end result is that I had no muscle soreness or pain, and this morning (which is the day after the run), I have no pain at all. Perhaps I’ve been pushing into anaerobic a bit much in the past, and running 4/4 and then 3/3 has kept my oxygen levels steadier throughout my run. I don’t know; I’m no scientist, but this is the third time in a row now without standard muscle pain. Then again, I’m also starting off a bit slower to be more consistent throughout my runs.

My pace ended up nicely with a 9:21/mile average which isn’t blistering, but it’s creeping closer to my happy place of sub-9 minute miles. I was able to do a few sub-8’s a few times six months ago before illnesses and injuries, and when it comes time to start working toward the December 5k and my April APFT for the National Guard, I’ll be pushing hard to get there by running some sprints and also longer distances. But that time isn’t here yet. For now, I’m just in pure cardio mode, so I run with a goal of sub-9’s at 3 miles. So far, it’s keeping me happy and fit. Oh, and this run would have been worth 39 points on the Marine Corps PFT which, for my age, would almost guarantee a first class. Hell yeah!

The muscles are sore, but the head is clear

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Today’s run almost didn’t happen. When I got home from work, I had no intention of running even though it was part of my plan for the week. The legs were still sore from Monday’s 3.2 mile run, and I just didn’t have it in me. Or so I thought. As I took off my sport coat, I saw my running shorts lying where I leave them during the week (on the edge of the hamper), and then my eyes looked over to my running shoes. They were calling me. Without much thought, as I took of my trousers, I put my running shorts on. Then my running socks, t-shirt, and shoes. The next thing I know, I’m pulling up my running playlist on my iPhone, connected my bluetooth headset, and walked out the door.

Once outside, I figured I’d at least run two miles. I haven’t run less than three in months, but again, my legs were sore. As I started, I used a 4-4 breathing pattern: four steps for inhaling and then four to exhale. This kept my pace decent and I felt really good at the end of the first two miles. I decided to go ahead and continue on to complete three miles. After 1/4 mile into the third mile, I found myself oxygen starved, so I switched over to a 3-3 breathing pattern, and it was like a boost of energy. My body was getting more oxygen, and as a result, I was able to keep my pace up and I was able to finish the three miles without a hitch. Well, from a cardio standpoint, at least. My muscles are pretty pissed at me, and even my Garmin Fenix 3 watch is telling me that I have a 24 recovery time after this run (for the record, it told me to wait 51 hours before running again on Monday that I ignored by running 48 hours later. lol).

Now, my muscles are sore. Not bad pain, mind you, but sore. I brought my pace back down to a decent 9:25/mile average for the three miles which is close to the 9 minute/mile goal I typically have for myself. Sub-9’s are better, and sub-8’s are a long-term goal for me, but considering I haven’t run in two weeks and had only one slow run before this one, I’m very pleased. I feel like I accomplished something.

I look forward to being able to do push ups again before my runs some day. I had to skip them again because the pain in my left elbow persists.

The final thing I want to say about this run is that I now realize how much running helps clear my mind. I’ve been sort of a mess these past two weeks and couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Now I know. I need to run. I actually enjoy it, and it helps me clear my mind. For that reason alone, I will continue to run for as long as I can.

First Run in Two Weeks

Due to a non-run related injury I sustained while standing up from the dinner table in a restaurant two weeks ago, I have been taking a break from running to allow my knee to heal. I hurt something in the back of my knee which was causing me a lot of pain and the more I ran, the more it hurt. Taking the past two weeks off was hard psychologically, but I was finally able to get back out on the pavement last night, and it was great! I decided to run it easy: four steps breathe in, four steps breathe out. It worked. It was a sloooooow pace, but it was comfortable, and I was able to do 3.2 miles with relative ease. Sure, the last mile was tougher than the first two, but not so tough that I considered stopping. To the contrary, as I finished, I almost contemplated going a bit further, but decided against it as the last thing I need is to re-injure myself on my first run back.

Pace: horrible. Feeling: great. It’s good to be back at it again.

The only down spot for me is that I am still unable to do push ups. I have a hurt tendon in my left elbow that is not getting any better. In fact, I may be seeing a doctor about it soon. The pain comes back from doing mundane things like bending my arm or lifting a pen. Something is definitely not right in there. I need to get that fixed ASAP because I have an APFT coming in April, and April will be here before we know it!

All in all, I feel good. My weight has responded very quickly by dropping a solid 3 lbs from the morning (partly water, partly stool, and partly just eating right). I’m very close to my happy zone in terms of weight, which also makes me happy. I look forward to Wednesday’s run. I won’t be doing anything toward pace or speed; I’m actually going to work on increasing distances for a while before I start working on speed. Now that the weather is getting cooler, I can spend a bit more time outside running without fear of negatively impacting my health.

Taking a break from running

I’ve had to take a two-week break from running due to a recurring pain in the back of my right knee. Good news: that break ends tomorrow. After work, I will hit the pavement and run a gain.

The bad news is that the pain in my right elbow is still pretty bad, so I’m going to have to forego push ups for a while. That hurts me psychologically, but it’s the right thing to do: let it heal. So, starting soon, I’ll be posting my post-run reports again.

I can’t wait.

Back to it after an 8 day break

I’m back! It feels great to be back to running. It’s not just about the cardio at this point. It’s also about stress relief and keeping my mind straight. I just feel so much better after a run. It relaxes me in a way not many other things can.

I started with my 80 push ups, and while it was a bit harder to get to 80 than it was last week, I did it without serious muscle pain. I do have that tendon injury in my left elbow that is beginning to make me worry; it’s not going away. It’s not debilitating, but it is definitely something I notice. If it persists, I’ll see a doctor about it.

I then hit the pavement as I always do after my push ups. I decided to just run as fast or as slow as my body felt like doing, and I ended up with one of my fastest times in a long time! My pace was a great 8:39/mile average which is pretty darned good! I always strive for sub-9 minute paces. Rarely have I broken the sub-8 minute mile. I have done it in the past, but it takes a lot of work for me to get there, and a lot of pushing. I will do that when it’s three months out from my next PFT, but not just yet.

I surprised myself with this pace. I will admit that the third mile was pretty thought, and at some points, I felt like quitting, but I kept it up and made every effort to keep my pace consistent. It turned out that I did a good job with that.

Here is my run on Strava.

Hurricane Harvey

In case you don’t know, I live in Houston, Texas, and Hurricane Harvey came through here at the end of August and caused a lot of trouble. For me, it was compounded by the fact that I’m in the National Guard, and we were activated to assist with post-hurricane disaster recovery operations.

However, I was able to keep running, but I wasn’t able to keep blogging. Here are some Strava entries that cover my runs over the past few weeks:

August 30th Run on Strava

September 1st Run on Strava

September 4th Run on Strava

September 7th Run on Strava

September 12th Run on Strava

I haven’t been able to run at all since September 12th due to a knee injury that I was waiting on to heal. Then, as I was getting ready to run last night, a big thunderstorm came through and lightning was striking within a mile of my house for over an hour coupled with strong winds and rain, so I decided to put my comeback run off by a day. I plan on getting out there tonight and putting in a minimum of 3 miles and hopefully hitting my 80 push ups.

Wish me luck!

Great run tonight

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Tonight was a great run. Although it was hot out and I was dreading it a bit, I hit the ground as usual and started with my 80 push ups. I could have done 10 more, but my left elbow is still a little sore, so I didn’t push it.

Before I ran, I changed a setting on my Garmin Fenix 3 to give me pace updates every three minutes through my Bluetooth headset, and this turned out to be a very cool thing. I started running easily, and found that my pace was at around 8:55/mile after the first three minutes. I decided to work to keep that pace, and I was able to for the duration! I ended up with my first sub-9 minute mile average since before my AT (July 24th, actually). That also means I’ve finally turned my pace trend around, and now (according to Strava), I’m trending faster!

The best part is that I felt really good on the run, and I didn’t really have to push that hard. I did make sure my pace was up, but I wasn’t nearly as sore or out of breath as I thought I would be. Maybe this running thing is going to work out for me after all!