December 31, 2007

I am facing new beginnings

The end of the year; one last run, but one beginning something all new.

Got over three miles done today and my training program is officially kicked off. I'm not thrilled with how unsteady the run was - lots of walking. You can see that in the heartrate part of the graph, up in the rainbow colored bands. Other parts of the graph are elevation, cadence, and pace. Very windy today, hard to work against it. Perhaps Wednesday's run will turn out smoother.

It is the beginning of my training program and I'm nervous. I feel like this is my first time. Only the first time around, I could do 3 miles without stopping by the time I began training.

I'm trying to catch up to all those New Year's resolutions I failed to follow through on this year, many of which will help me become a better runner. I better get into the good habits now, while I still have time and I am not consumed by work.

I also began using a new medication today, which involves a whole new nebulizing system. I was on colistin many years ago and it hurt my throat and caused asthma attacks and so was taken off of it. But with my asthma management I've got now, perhaps it will be better for me this time around. Colistin is an every-other-month twic-daily treatment, with the in-between months filled in with TOBI, as I have done for many years. And it doesn't have to be kept cold, like TOBI. However, it does have to be mixed fresh from powder for each use - which involves a lot of syringes and wipes. It involves a unique nebulizing system, that uses a vibrating mesh screen to mist the medicine, rather than compressed air through a small hole. The new system is literally whisper-quiet and is very fast, needing no more than nine minutes for the colistin treatment. But it has a lot of parts and requires careful cleaning each time. There's a lot of stuff surrounding use of this medication - and it will complicate travel. My days of not having to check my suitcase are over - at least in the odd months.

With the new training schedule, potentially meeting a running partner this coming weekend, determined to get some core training worked in, and now on this whole new medication and nebulizing system, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. I failed to get down to the surface of my desk by the end of the year, as I'd intended, but MAYBE by the end of the week.

December 30, 2007

I am a thirsty runner

Got a pretty good 4-miler in on Saturday. This run was squeezed in between other commitments, so I felt a little rushed, but it turned out OK. There was some walking still, evident from the graph in the minor dips, but look how regular those intervals are! This was the first time I really got up to Prospect Park and I ran over to the water fountain at 9th street, making the whole route exactly four miles. I'm a little surprised my Nike+ recorded this accurately, as a matter of fact.

The only downer was that I was counting on the water fountain, but it was shut off. Of course it was - it's winter. What was I thinking? So I was pretty thirsty going home, but not thirsty enough to drop cash on a bottle of water.

The run was slow, but not horribly so. I had a good last kilometer, quite steady and smooth. The big dip you see in the graph was me stopping to deposit a check. Didn't take but a minute, but you know what that can do to your pace charts.

Tomorrow beings the official training for St. Louis half-marathon. I'm nervous because I am still not doing three miles unbroken by walking, but that might change soon. I've taken some steps toward becoming a better runner, one of which was to respond to several classifieds on advertising for running partners. I have had one response and we will try to coordinate something next weekend. I know it can take a while to find the right person as a running partner, so I'll be patient. I just hope my CF doesn't get in the way.

The other step is that I have finally, finally, FINALLY, upgraded my hard drive, installed Windoze on a separate partition, and put the Polar running software on there and managed to actually sync my watch! What this means is that I should have much more detailed graphs and information and really start training in my optimal heart rate zone.

This is an example of the graph that I see in the Polar trainer software. The online version is similar; perhaps clearer to read. This should be very informational as time goes by.

This graph is from a short walk tonight. It's 1.1 miles. If you click the graph, you'll get a bigger version. The colored bands in the very back are meant to indicate workout intensity, as indicated by heartrate, which is the jagged graph with the thin red line. You can see a coughing fit about 7 minutes into my walk. The thick red line is altitutde - I was headed downhill, after all. I will probably not track this one often - only on new courses and maybe during races. The yellow line is my cadence, or strides per minute. Being walking, you'd expect this to be fairly constant. Any breaks are explained by pausing to wait for a light to change. The blue line at the bottom is actual pace per mile. Again, those dips are happening while waiting for lights to change. I hope to post another graph Monday with an actual run.

December 27, 2007

I am wiped out on Christmas Day

Christmas Day did not bring the hill workout I thought it would. Instead of staying in NY, my mother and I conspired in the eleventh hour to fly me down to South Carolina to surprise my sister and father. I flew to Charlotte, rented a car, and drove to Greensville, where I first stopped by where my sister works and surprised her. It was a nice moment, though I was embarassed when the waterworks started. We had a quick lunch together and then she had to get back to work. I drove to her house and surprised my father there.

Christmas morning began like every other Christmas morning: with me wishing people would learn how to take opportunities to sleep in to actually do it, for pete's sake. We all watched as my sister opened her gifts (I hadn't brought any with me) and then had breakfast. We learned that Country Crock Shedd's Spread doesn't make for good hollandaise sauce. After eating breakfast and slurping the last of two cups of tea, I headed outside for a quick run, wishing I had brought running pants instead of shorts. But I had a nifty new pair of 180s gloves and those were quite toasty.

My run was interesting, if not particularly good. For one thing, I had my very first tumble. I was running along a public road w/ no margin and had to be careful of traffic. A truck that was approaching slowed, but didn't seem to move over much - he was about to run off to my right. As my attention was fixed on the truck, I didn't notice that I'd wandered a little too much to the shoulder of the road and my left foot came down on the edge of the asphalt badly - there was an inch and a half drop there to the red clay. As my left foot twisted, so did my body - my right foot came down the same way and threw me off balance and I went tumbling. I tried to hit the ground shoulder-first and roll and it seemed to work. I got back up and though various bits hurt and I got some minor road rash, nothing seemed broken, so I continued my run, being more careful of the road edge.

I turned around about a mile and a half from my sister's house, up near the entrance of their local sanitation facility, which actually had a pretty good view of the area around. Though the route had looked almost flat, I'd gained quite a bit of elevation. I took advantage of this on the way back down; after a minute stretching, I headed off with Canon Rock beginning in my earbuds. When the song hit its stride, so did I. This is something I rarely do, as the cadence of Canon Rock is one notch from being an all-out sprint for me - that invites injury and is very tiring. I kept up the pace for 60 to 90 seconds - maybe 400 meters - and then slowed back down to recover. I was winded, but not nearly as bad as I'd been expecting. My body was finally warming up and my running form was good.

I had a few walk breaks in the run, owing (I hope) to the increased elevation (800 ft there). Or maybe the air is just too clean! Anyway, the walk breaks were short and I didn't mind taking them.

I finished the run strong, calling up my power song on the nano (which you can see in the graph) and slammed the last 400 meters at 5K race pace. You'll note that my final pace was exactly 10 minutes per mile (6.11 minutes per kilometer). It's true that the run was probably 250 meters short of 5K - I haven't yet recalibrated the nano - but I also didn't stop the clock while I was walking around after my fall trying to figure out if I wanted to continue the run. So I did at least a 10 mile/minute pace if not better.

So. OK run; not great; just interesting.

Training for St Louis half officially begins Monday.

December 23, 2007

I am not ready for two-in-a-row

Not the best of runs this Saturday. Two days in a row is something my body wasn't prepared for.  Of course, it didn't help that I'd spent most of the time in between at the computer, trying to get some work done (i.e. not stretching properly) and failed to take Tylenol before the run.  I don't wasn't all the the lack of Tylenol - I was tired.  I'm going to have to work on this two-in-a-row thing.  But I had to at least try, because I knew it would be raining Sunday.  And it is!  Coming down cats and dogs right now and freakishly warm, too - 55°.

I'll try running tomorrow, but I'm not holding out much hope for that - the weather may not change.  Still, I'm loading some new music up on my iPod and hoping for a better run next time.

December 21, 2007

I am a runner again

First things first: kindly note the new Nike+ widget in the upper right of this page. This widget contains graphs of my last five runs, automatically. It is, however, no substitute for screenshots of the Nike+ website graphs.

My Monday run, shown above, was a tad truncated, due to weather. It was sunny and all, but cold and with strong winds. I headed up hill toward Prospect Park, meaning to get in a fulll 3.4 miles, but the winds were just too much. I was tiring quickly and walking more than I'd like. Despite feeling much better than a few weeks ago, I'm still low on the cardiovascular fitness scale; the winds made it that much harder. Factor in a return of mild shin splints and it didn't take me long to shorten this run. Once I'd made it to Prospect Pkwy & 8th ave, I decided to run back down hill to the bank and end my run there. You can see my per-mile pace was slow - that means walking - no matter how smooth the graph looks. The big dip is where I stopped to deposit a check.

Wednesday's run was much improved. More calf stretching and some Tylenol 8-hr and the shin splints were down to a dull pain. Again, the graph belies the reality: this run was much smoother, with the first 3/4 mile run continuously and the walk breaks kept very short. This was an out-and-back along 2nd ave, one of my favorite routes for just getting steady miles in. The weather was cloudier, but no wind, and that really helped. This run tired me out tremendously; I had to walk up the last half of the short hill between 3rd and 4th aves near 40th street. Who'd have thought Sunset Park actually had some real elevation?

I wonder how the Nike+ gadget keeps track of pace - what the sampling times are and what, exactly, the graph is showing. It's not an average pace, but it doesn't seem to be accurate in terms of actual pace at actual distance - it's been smoothed and exaggerated somehow. But there's no denying the actual time spent running, and for now, the distance reading is close enough. I'll have to calibrate it again soon though. Perhaps a workout around the Central Park Reservoir, where there are markers.

Today's run went VERY well. I didn't go uphill, though, which means I'll have to tomorrow, when I put in the "long run" for the weekend. (It will be raining Sunday, so I have to get this done tomorrow). Instead, I did the 2nd Avenue out-and-back again; well, ok, it's more of a loop, since I run from 4th to 2nd, then across on second for about a mile and a half, then back up to 4th and then home. I intentionally extended today's run past the 5K mark. Though most of me wanted to turn around right at the halfway point, as noted by the iPod in my ear, I didn't - I tacked on an extra quarter mile. I wanted to see if I could run to the point of being fully warmed up. It has always taken three miles before the magic kicks in for me. And sure enough, passing the actual three mile mark today (actually, about 2.75 mile mark), my legs got into it and I was moving WELL. There's a difference between moving and moving well. My legs didn't feel like stumps that *I* was moving; they felt like a smooth machine I was merely controlling. My lungs were working well. I was in no pain, and some energy had returned. In short, I was finally RUNNING AGAIN, as opposed to jogging. To confirm this, my per-mile pace tended to be quicker than 10 minutes per mile the whole run. The overall pace was just over that at 10:13 - which allows for the two short walk breaks and the three moments of waiting for traffic. God it feels good to get back to the sub-10 area, even if only for a couple of miles.

After uploading the run from my iPod, this little banner popped up on the Nike+ website as I was looking at my graphs. Wow. 1 more kilometer to hit 250! (The website resets its units based on your last run's units - I've been setting my run distance to 5K.) Wait, let me look closer. I've run 249.94. What? I need a lousy .06 kilometers to finish my 250?? That's 196.8 feet! A mere 2,362 inches! For crying out loud, I did three times that on my cooldown walk to my house! This is like being in the middle of saying "I do" and the preacher interrupts to say, "I'm sorry; it's five-o'clock; can we pick this up tomorrow?" Aargh!

Tomorrow: 4 miles minimum - goal is the water fountain at Prospect Park and 9th street.

December 15, 2007

I am legend

"He's a legend in his own mind," the old joke goes, punning on legend in his own time. The joke is one I make about myself, but I have to believe I'm a legend if I want to perform. I can look at other real legends, though, for inspiration.

To me, Ryan Hall is truly a legend in his own time, and I can't tell you how much I look forward to this summer's Olympic marathon. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Hall brings home the gold - the first for an American since Frank Shorter's astoundng 1972 win. (Frank Shorter definitely qualifies as a legend in his own time!)

As I run, I listen to Phedippidations, but my mind keeps going back to November and the astonishing men's olympic marathon trials. Though the loss of Ryan Shay was egregious, the trials were the stuff of legend, with Ryan Hall setting a new men's trials record and coming in a full two minutes ahead of his soon-to-be teammates - and that on what is acknowledged to be a slow and difficult course. (The Central Park hills are not for the faint of heart - the ONLY flat stretch of more than 200 meters is from 96th street to 80-something on the east side.) In addition, all three top finishers are white, which is rather unusual in this age of Kenyan-bred runners dominating the field. But Meb Keflezighi, who finished second in the 2004 Olympics, came in a miserable six minutes behind Hall in the trials.

What this means is that Hall is in position to pull off what people consider almost impossible: for an American to take home the gold. We've only done it three times in Olympic history: 1904, 1920, and 1972. Hall's biggest competition, as I see it, is his own teammates and one Stefano Baldini, who won the 2004 Olympic Marathon in a course record 2:10:55. But he has been slipping in the last couple of years, finishing off the podium in the 2006 and 2007 NY Marathons. Ryan is the faster runner, but less experienced in this distance. Also, it can be argued that the olympic trials weather was damn near perfect, while the weather and air quality in Bejing is going to be "fucken turrible". Of course, all the athletes will be running in the exact same conditions, but it will affect some more than others.

Maybe I should contact my old schoolmate Priman Lee and see if he has connections enough to get me tickets for the closing games - traditionally, the men's Olympic marathon is the last event of the Games and is incorporated into the closing ceremonies.

Anyway, the stuff of legends need not be on an international scale. I sometimes feel like my performances in the past can only be legend; insubstantial and unprovable, even though there really is proof that I have, in fact, run a 7:30 mile, run a marathon, run a sub-hour 10K. It is with those legends in mind that I set out on my training for the April 6th St. Louis Half Marathon. It is my private goal to go from sick to sensational and set a PR. I have less than four months to train, but if I'm ever going to hit a two-hour half-marathon, this will have to be it. Well, I can aim high, right?

The title of my post also alludes to the upcoming Will Smith movie, I Am Legend. I've read the original screenplay and I think it stands to be a very good movie, which I think I've mentioned before. But what strikes me about the screenplay is Robert Neville's ability to just keep going. I know he's fictional, but I've seen marathoners pull off the same stunt - keeping going in the face of enormous obstacles. Hitting closer to home, I've seen very sick people also just keep going, year after year, even when the future is very bleak. Neville has a very disciplined routine that keeps him alive - when left with no other options, I suppose you either adapt into that die-hard existence or you just plain die.

It's with the opening scenes of the screenplay in mind that I go about much of the business of taking care of my health. Get up, shower, do therapy, take pills, run every other day, etcetera etcetera etcetera. And the etceteras get very lengthy indeed. But there really isn't any other choice. I'm not being hunted by walking-dead humans out to drink my blood, but I do have to fight the opportunistic lung infections, which do, literally, feed off me and are as mindless as zombies. If I want to survive, my choices are no choice at all. Do this or die. And there's no use complaining about it.

There's a certain sense of victory in constantly accomplishing all of this; an element of achievement most people don't get to experience. It isn't the same as taking one's daily shower and keeping up good dental hygiene. I'm talking about maintenance that hits at another level entirely. Still, I can bring that Robert Neville-like dedication to the survival tasks into other tasks as well and use that to improve my daily habits. Unfortunately, it also leads to a lot of rigid rules for living that are not appealing to prospective partners, if you know what I mean.

Enough maundering. Today's must-do run went very well.

Despite the squigliness of the graph, the run was actually quite steady. I did exactly three miles, counting off the blocks as I went. I did half-mile intervals, running ten, walking one, and so forth. Anticipating shin-splints, I did some judicious stretching over the last couple of days and took some Tylenol 8-hour when I got out of bed. (I put Tylenol 8-hour in the realm of miracle drugs, I tell you what.) Result: zero shin splints on today's run!

And though I forgot to take my asthma medications last night AND this morning, I really didn't have any shortness of breath out there. I was able to breath and I had few coughing fits, running through all but one of them. THAT one brought up a wad of phlegm that was almost clear in color - quite unusual for me. This means the levels of bacteria in my lungs are at an all-time low right now. That won't last forever, but I recognize that I need to make the most of my lung-power NOW while I still can. Use it to get my legs and heart in shape, then trust in my legs to carry me through in April, when my lungs will already be on a downhill slide again, in all probability.

I was most thrilled I could be consistent in the 10-blocks, 1-block plan. That's very important. I kept my pace consistent, too, except for the last 100 meters, where I finished strong. My plan is to repeat this performance Monday morning if the sidewalks aren't too slushy and try for 3/4 mile at a time - 15 blocks. Being able to run a steady, walk-free three miles is in sight.

Also, I'm happy with the overall pace-per-mile - quite a drop from where I've been lately and a better indicator of an actual race pace. I was supposed to go run the holiday run in Central Park this morning, but after being out partying 'til 4 a.m. last night...getting up just wasn't in the cards.

December 12, 2007

I am psyched!

Well, I had a good run today. I was not expecting it, but it turned out to be much better than I'd hoped. No, it wasn't a continuous three miles - there was walking. But again, the walking was due only to shin pain. My lungs were handling all the running at whatever pace.

It is maddening to go from problem to problem. I rarely get stretches where everything is A-OK and I can just train. But I'll take shin splints any day over being unable to breath! Shin splints I can handle - I know what's needed. And, if necessary, I can "outrun" them. After three or four miles, the pain goes away until the next run. That's a typical symptom, you know.

Anyway, I was able to get in a few stretches of a half-mile at a time and I was even able to vary my pace. In fact, I'm finding it hard to stay at a consistent pace. Running uphill is fine, nice and consistent; but I'm speeding up too much on the flat parts. I tried throwing in a hard 200-yard stride to get that out of my system, but it didn't work. My pacing skills are rusty. But just the fact I could run at a 7:30 pace for 200 yards amazed me! My lungs are really working well now; with little mucous production. I was able to run right through a couple of short coughing spells.

Furthermore, I didn't turn around where I thought I would, but continued to Prospect Park. The whole round trip was about 3.3 miles (I walked the last long block as a cool-down). And, if you subtract the six or seven minutes I spent stretching at the park (the huge dip in pace you see in the chart), my total pace was pretty good. Definitely covering more ground, faster. But I've GOT to get looser, more flexible.

I passed two other runners - or, actually, they passed me. One was a very cute girl who was headed downhill ahead of me on the steepest part of 26th street, next to the cemetary. At the end of the long block, she did a hard 180 and went bouncing past me back up the hill. Nice.

The other runner was, believe it or not, attired in slacks, dress shoes, and a blazer. I was moving along pretty well around 16th street and he came up from behind on my left side. Surprised the hell out of me. I thought maybe he forgot the oven was on or something. I mentioned how he wasn't even wearing running shoes and was still going faster than me. He slowed down a bit and explained in a very nice Italian accent that he was 55 - he didn't look a day over 40 - and that his friends say he walks too fast. He turned off into a business just then and waved goodbye.

So did that happen? Or am I just hallucinating? I know it was a hard workout today, but it wasn't THAT hard.

I'm stoked. It feels great to have a decent workout and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel - where I'll be able to run continuously and relatively fast. Where I can get to the point of beginning serious training for the St. Louis half marathon, April 6th, for which I've signed up. I'm going to run it with my sister, like we did in Houston. Now, maybe her training will go better and she'll just be faster than me again - I wouldn't begrudge that. :)

Hm...looks like I'll be shoveling snow tomorrow.

December 8, 2007

I am a Day-Walker

Due to working on some drafting, catching up on bills, doing IVs, etcetera, I haven't seen much of the sun lately. Stepping outside today for a weekend run, I was blinded and felt like the sun was overly bright. Of course, I'd forgotten my sunglasses, but I felt like some vampire stepping forth from his cave. A day-walking vampire, like in that terrible Wesley Snipes movie, Blade.

The similarities didn't end with stunned eyes. No. Snipes' character needed some sort of shot on a regular basis to be immune from the sun, IIRC, and I apparently need IVs of powerful antibiotics to be...well, immune. He may have said something about how sunlight was still uncomfortable - my skin was itching. He looks cool in leather and wrap-around shades, and I look WAY cool in leather and wrap-around shades.

OK, the itching skin is related to the antibiotics, somehow, some mild allergic reaction. I have some Benadryl, but I don't know how much that helps. And since it makes me drowsy I don't like taking it.

Today's run was pretty rough. Walking ratio went way up, mostly because my legs were stiff and sore with shin splints. I tried stopping to stretch them out, but it didn't help. I was in pain the whole way.

And it had to happen, sooner or later in my running career and it finally did today: I twisted my ankle. I was at the half-mile mark (39th st & 3rd ave) when I misstepped. I had my eyes on the traffic lights to make sure I still had clearance to cross and wasn't watching where I put my feet. In the industrial section of Sunset Park, that can be dangerous, as the streets are riddled with embedded tracks, old brick surfacing, broken sidewalks, etc. Things are litter-free there, and relatively little traffic, but the surface practically defines "urban cross-country". So I didn't see the railroad track I came down on funny and I felt my ankle twist pretty good.

It wasn't too bad. I hopped around in pain for a while and it seemed nothing was actually broken or too tender - so I kept going with my run. But between my right ankle throbbing and my shin splints, I had to do a lot of walking. I did turn around earlier than I'd planned - I was shooting for 4 miles today and actually got in 3. The Nike+ is still a little off and I can't calibrate it until I'm doing continuous jogging, so my per-mile time is a little higher than it shows.

I did have some good stretches where my pace was strong, with a good stride length. Best of all, my lungs had no problems keeping up. That's good with me, for now. Continuous, steady running will come. I've got to hit the foam roller and stretching more conscientiously. Deal with this itching. Do they make Benadryl cream? Maybe some of my sunburn lotion will desensitize the itchy areas....

December 6, 2007

I am getting healthier

Truly, I meant to get up early enough to go to Central Park and put in 3 miles before my 9:15 doctors apppointment. But when one sets the alarm clock wrong, for about the billionth time, one wakes up late. (I'm beginning to think this alarm clock and I, which I bought eight years ago, just aren't going to have a future together.) The am/pm indicators aren't present enough and I often set a p.m. time rather than an a.m. time. Very annoying. But I'm not going to buy a different one until I find the perfect alarm clock. They're getting quite slick, most of them can dock an iPod now, but still...I need an alarm clock I can set while exhausted, half-asleep, drunk, visually impaired, AND all of the above! And, of course, it has to look good, too. I'm really not a big fan of plastic.

Anyway -- so I woke up late and had about fifteen minutes to get out the door. There went any thought of showering or shaving. I already have a week's worth of beard growth, so despite my nice clothes and the seasonally red pullover sweater, I must have looked either like a well-dressed bum or an artist.

The appointment went pretty well. PFTs and weight are both up, but not high enough to excite my doctor. So the IV antibiotics will be extended at least through Monday, to make sure I get the full course of 14 days of Tobramycin and Vancomycin. Now, the good news is that I'm feeling SO much better than four weeks ago. My 5% improvement in FEV1 is actually quite a lot. My doctor, having to do this without my previous charts (Mt. Sinai seems to have their administrative and organizational heads up their asses), has to go on rules of thumb right now. She wants to see more improvement, although she acknowledges my lungs sound very much improved in the stethoscope.

The astounding - and quite unbelievable - part is that I've apparently gained 7 pounds. I tell you now that this is quite impossible; I don't care that it was the doctor's office scale, the same one both weighings, it just doesn't make SENSE. The scale put me at 125 pounds - a tie with my highest-ever weight. But if I weighed that much, I would have noticed it in the hollows of my knees, felt it in my legs while running, and the first words out of my doctor's mouth upon seeing me would not have been, "Have you lost more weight?" (Maybe it was the week's growth of stubble? Does that make people "look" thin?) So I think the scale is wrong. It was either wrong at the first weighing and I was heavier (which is more likely, actually), or it was wrong at this weighing. Problem is, I don't have a bathroom scale and pretty much refuse to get one, so I can't correlate these results with any of my own. (Why refuse a bathroom scale? Well, for one thing, I don't want to get weight-obsessed. Weighing in now and than at the doc's or at a health club is often enough for me. There's also the issue of looks and design. I could maybe get a nice glass bathroom scale...I just don't want plastic or metal in the bathroom. White ceramic and terry cloth is the order of the day in yon throne room.)

Now, as is human nature, I kept mulling over that weight issue even as I ran, which had the interesting effect of making me FEEL heavier - fat and slow. Oh, please. ME have body image issues? Hah! But there it is: once presented with new information, one tries to correlate it with new evidence.

Lumpy run - mostly because of traffic. It was cold out and I was wearing more running clothes than the mild autumn had me wearing, so that contributed to a feeling of heaviness. And though the run was short, it still felt pretty good. Starting to have shin splint issues again, which points to tight muscles and ligaments - got to get back to stretching. Now that the lungs can keep up with the legs, the legs are having a hard time. Still, my per-mile pace is improving!

December 3, 2007


Very consistent run today, despite a harsh wind difficult to run in. The temperature was 48, so I didn't have to wear as much clothing. Got in a solid 3 miles. I think the Nike+ thing is about 5 percent off. I believe my run was an honest 3 miles, but no more than that.

Lungs cooperated mostly. I consistently jogged four blocks, walked one. On the way back, I was able to get in a few five-block stretches and the whole last half mile was continuous. Some of my coughing I could run through, but other times was hands-on-knees, hunched-over-hacking-away. This is why the pace chart is so inconsistent, I think. Well, that should get better as my body gets trained up again.

Old pains in the knees are back; they're quite welcome right now. Nothing a little advil can't handle.

Will run next on Thursday, just prior to a doctor's appointment and pulmonary function tests; hopefully that will help the PFTs be just as good as possible. On the 15th, there's a 4-mile race in Central Park. I should be able to handle that, even if I won't yet be running continuously.

December 1, 2007

I am bloody good

Maybe I should say bloody AND good.

I haven't run in nine days, but those days have flown by. I had a quiet Thanksgiving and taught Wed - Fri this week; one of the seminars on CAD that is so helpful at filling in the income gaps. This was my worst one, however, and I'm analyzing this, trying to decide if its the new material that didn't work, or if my skills are slipping.

I'm getting off topic. Back to running.

I've been on IVs for almost two weeks now and will be on them a few days longer. I've had a lot of aggravation regarding the home healthcare agency this time, but the IVs themselves have gone well. I'm feeling so much better now. Being able to climb up out of the Whitehall station without feeling like I want to die is wonderful.

So today I put it all to the test. After a cutting my toenails, curing which I discovered one was hiding a lot of old, dried-out blood (gross, huh?), I got into a couple of layers of running clothes and headed out. I immediately knew I didn't have enough clothes on - the temperature has dropped significantly from mid-week temps. Still, I managed to warm up enough to be hot in some spots, cold in others, as I ran uphill toward Prospect Park.

It was clear from the outset that my lungs are in better shape. Though I still had to walk a little on my short run, I never felt like I was fighting for breath or that I had run out of oxygen. Rather these walk breaks were simply the result of my legs not being ready for the push, or being out of shape, pure and simple. This change was such good news to me -- you can't imagine the joy of being out of shape and knowing that's the problem and not something else.

I'm still coughing, of course; I always will. Today's first hard coughing fit (which is where you see the dip in pace in the charts) brought me to a slamming halt because a few seconds into it, I suddenly had blood gushing from my nose. Now, I've had a few dozen nosebleeds so far this autumn/winter, but none while jogging. And I hadn't thought to bring a paper towel or anything. So as the flow of blood slowly stopped, I just stood there bleeding into some grass and sniffing a bit. A very kind Hispanic guy saw my predicament and handed me a bunch of paper napkins before moving on. See? I told you it was a bloody run. (Wait! It gets better!)

My route took me up towards Prospect Park, almost all the way. I made it to 8th ave and 17th street, much to my surprise, before a sign told me I should amend my route and just go straight to my destination, the grocery store. So instead of a 2.75 mile run, I ended up at 2.25.

But the sign was crystal clear: blood in my sputum. I'm not coughing up all that much anymore, thanks to the antibiotics, but what I did cough up today had large bright red streaks about half the time - which points to a small but active bleed. The usual course of action with a bleed is to halt activity to slow down the flow of blood ... but when running, blood pressure is lower... so is the better choice to keep going? Or to stop? Well, I wasn't going to stop out in the cold, so I ran across to 9th street, then down to C-Town. A decent run all around, if not spectacularly fast. Still, 14 minute miles are an improvement over my recent spate of 15 minute mile runs. And in many ways, it just felt good.

I was listening to Steve Runner's Pheddipidations podcast. This episode was about his run at the Philadelphia Marathon just before thanksgiving. He had a truly spectacular run, setting a PR, shaving off 10 whopping minutes! He fell shy of a sub-4 marathon by a mere 90 seconds, so I know he'll get his goal met in the next one or two marathons (this was his 17th). Since I listen to his podcast on my long runs, I feel connected to his success, especially today with the improved lungs. And just like many of the Philadelphia runners going past the museum, I felt just like Rocky at the top of each section of the long uphill to Prospect Park - because I ran ALL of them today, with the walk breaks on the flat sections only! And THAT is...well, that hasn't happened in ages.

Oh, and now that winter is here, the leaves have really turned out well this year. It took a while for the leaves to turn, but we actually got color on most of the trees in the city, instead of just brown. The trees in Greenwood Cemetary are just spectacular.

And for those of you in NYC - please go see the work of Spaeth Design - the company I've been working for (mainly) since March. We designed and built the animated seasonal displays at Macy's, Saks, and Lord & Taylor. (Lord and Taylor was my client.) If you had a chance to see the Gift on Fifth (a Bank of America project), those four display windows were also a project I was involved in. And if you're in Chicago - take some pics of Macy's North (I mean, Marshall Field's) windows for me - those, too, are my designs. And Toronto of The Bay...yep, mine too. Now that all of these are OPEN, I can finally talk about them!

Sushi tonight. Yay.