November 28, 2006

I want to be an H.A.M.

No, not a ham, a H.A.M. - High-Activity Mouse.

Couple days ago, I went out for 16 miles. Things were bad right off the bat and got worse as I went, so I cut things short at 3 miles and walked home. I wasn't too worried about this, since even Ironman and ultrarunner Beast sometimes cuts his runs short when things aren't going right. But as I did that short run, I listened to Pheddipidations again. Steve Runner was talking about exercise addiction, of which I can safely say I am not personally under the whip. He cited a study done using regular mice and mice that had noticeably higher activity levels when allowed free access to their wheels. The study attempted to ascertain the physical and mental differences between the mice, as well as what happens when the mice are restrained from getting their excercise in. The scientists noted distinct brain activity changes during the time of day the mice would otherwise have hopped on the exercise wheel.

All I could think was how much I wanted to be a High-Activity Mouse; how getting out there must be so easy when one is driven to it by the same mechanisms that addict us to chocolate, morphine, alcohhol, and crack. *sigh*

This week's Pheddip. talked about running legend Jim Fixx. Not one of Steve's better "running legends" episodes, mostly because there isn't much to say about ol' Jim. He got fat, his dad died of a heart attack, Jim starts running to prevent the same thing, and - guess what? - died of a heart attack or stroke while on a run. Surely he was not the first, and definitely not the last (or most recent), but still. The point is: runners, go get your cholesterol levels checked, because they can still be way too high. (and there's this article from 2002, in which my own sports doc quotes marathon death rates as being 1 in 50,000 to 100,000. I hope that number has gone down since then.)

I made up the 16 today. My splits are a little off because my watch measured the run about .3 miles short - no big deal as I haven't calibrated the footpod yet and I know the miles are being measured a touch long anyway. I put in over three hours of excercise and feel that'll have to do.

This was not a good run. As the table shows, I actually managed to achieve one of my goals for most of the run: more consistent splits. This is especially surprising considering my run was peppered with segments of coughing/walking, though even those came at regular intervals. Also, miles 4 through 8 were a real bitch - right into a stiff headwind and the sun disappearing behind a blanket of clouds. I AM solar-powered, after all, and the sun skedaddling didn't help. I am pleased to note that my pace was, on average, just a touch faster than last week's 13-miler, up until the last three miles, at which point, the entire run went right to hell.

It's to be expected, I guess. First 16-miler since the hard 18-miler a couple months ago. And THIS run was far more consistently done. However, the last five miles had me in considerable pain as my muscles started getting really tight. In the last three, I had to walk a block for every five I ran and I had to stop and stretch twice. I had left ankle pain the entire run and wished I'd brought some Excedrin along to help dull it, even though I already had Tylenol in my system. I'll address this with the doc tomorrow.

Okay, 16 down, a hundred to go. New shoes are breaking in nicely; very happy with them. Like the Polar heartrate monitor system a lot. May have to break out the running pants for next week's run - part of the problem today was staying warm enough in the wind. Next week is supposed to be 21, but I may do a cut-down and do 11 instead, following up the week after with 21. We'll see how I feel towards the end of this week.

Oh, and I'm getting the cold-water bath thing down, but as far as adding ice, I'm not up to that yet. And boy did the warm shower after feel good!

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