February 28, 2010

Starbucks' Via

Well, I'm back from Florida and I'm already swamped. Taxes, photos, bills, lesson plans, etc.

I didn't run today, choosing to sleep in and make some grocery runs. One of the things I picked up was a packet of Starbucks' Via at Costco. The price was reasonable and since I've been reviewing other kinds of instant coffee, I thought I'd like to see how this one stacks up.

Via is OK; not great. Similar to other instant coffees right now, it is a mix of instant coffee and micro-grounds. The first half of the cup was pretty good, but the second half got bitter, and the bottom downright nasty, as the microgrounds stay down there and leave a bitter, unappetizing sludge. I will relegate this to backpacker's coffee, because it is very portable, but if you have access to a coffee maker or a Keurig, stick with those.

February 26, 2010

Second Satellite Beach run

"Cancelled," I told the elderly French couple in the line ahead of me, waving my hands side to side, flat, low, to emphasize the point. Their looks of confusion turned to dismay; they didn't understand much English, but they understood that. Between my gestures and an Italian woman's rough translation, I tried to communicate that though their flight to Brussels wouldn't be going through New York today, they would probably be re-routed through Atlanta or Chicago for a connecting flight to France. They would be on their way with only a few hours' delay.

I was not so lucky, myself. Or was I? With all three NY-area airports socked in by snow and slush, flights to the area were dear. My flight was cancelled, something I'd known had I bothered to check the web before leaving Satellite Beach. I was booked on a flight for 6 p.m. the next day. So I called my father and wandered over to the food court while waiting for him to turn around and come back to the airport. I, fortunately, at least have a place to stay tonight and good company; other New York bound travelers are not so lucky, I am sure.

And, after all, it's one more day in sunny Florida, in gorgeous 50-degree weather, rather than a day in frigid, snowy, slushy, grey, gloomy New York. Can't really complain about that.

Once we got back to the house, dad prepared to go off for physical therapy and I prepared to head out for a run - which included taking some Tylenol. My joints ache - ankles, knees, hips. Maybe it's the change to the new shoes - too much all at once. And unlike Wednesday, I had shin splints today. But the coughing was much, much less and I was able to get some longish stretches of running strung together, sometimes throwing in some strides. I'm happy to see improvement, but I am still very slow overall.

Also, at the end of my run, while stretching out my legs against the school fence opposite the house, I got taunted by a couple kids. They had passed me a couple minutes previously, one on a bike, the other walking, and way, way down the sidewalk, they paused to turn around and shout something at me, but I have no idea what, other than "kiss the fence". I'm still a little puzzled.

Now I'm doing therapy, having a rare soda, and munching on leftover edamame. I could get really used to some edamame after a run. Flank steak tonight for dinner; that will be nice. :) Tomorrow's dinner will be something from the food court. Then it's the red-eye for me. No rest for the wicked, I suppose.

February 24, 2010

rough lungs; 2 miles in Satellite Beach

This 2.25 miles was super rough to do. I guess the change from cold and dry to warm and humid all at once was too much for my lungs to handle? Or maybe it is that this roughness that is in my chest, and which has been a growing thing for many weeks now, causes coughing fits to go on and on even after they aren't productive? I don't know.

I do know the first mile took 16 minutes - I probably could have done it faster had I NOT run any part of it. :( The second mile was better, about 14 minutes. Slightly less coughing, a lot less walking for sure. My last quarter mile was much closer to the pace I'd like to be at all the time, almost a ten-minute-per-mile pace.

The environment is interesting. I hope Florida gets much nicer than what I'm experiencing, because despite the mild weather, this just isn't my cup of tea. The lawns are uniformly bad, even the good ones are filled with a rough kind of grass that looks more like a home protection system than a place to play. The sidewalks are a joke, where they exist at all. (I understand this problem is endemic through most of America these days, but still.) And right now the weather is calm and humid. It'd be suffocating if it were ten degrees warmer - and it's not yet 70 degrees! I was not built for this kind of tropical "paradise", I don't think.

Still, the drivers are mostly sane, the people are friendly, and their lazy eyes aren't overly creepy. Everyone says hi and smiles at you and most of them even have most of their teeth still. I was even passed by a pretty girl on a bike with a leashed dog trotting beside her - she would not have been out of place in Prospect Park.

The roughness of my cough - the little irritation in my chest that is not phlegm, but isn't going away - is beginning to get annoying. It extends my coughing fits so much that it begins to seem it would be more productive to walk and not get my breathing to the point where I cough so much. But that would actually be counter-productive for me, wouldn't it?

I am here visiting my dad. I'd be visiting both parents, but Mom is off in St Louis doing her parenting thing, so I guess I'll have to wait for June to see her. Dad seems OK, but I am getting a lesson in the mechancis and logistics of being on oxygen. Interesting preview of my future, I'm sure. He cooked us pot roast last night and I loved it. I can't for the life of me figure out why I don't do this myself at home. I even have a crockpot!

Last thing: American Airlines, your pilots are the best, on par with United's. But if you guys think I'm paying you more money, beyond the price of my ticket, to check a bag, you're nuts. Think I can't pack clothes and medicines and therapy equipment enough for four days into one Hammacher Schlemmer hard-sided rolly carry-on? Think again, hosers!

February 20, 2010

not the best february for running

Haven't gotten too many runs in this month. I've got more gym workouts than runs, actually. Even last Thursday, I did a gym workout at Blair Academy, where I was lighting a show. They have a really nice fitness room, with good equipment. I even tried a few minutes of barefoot running while I was there. Definitely can run faster and definitely puts you up on your forefoot, but I don't think it's wise to run barefoot for very long.

Today's run was OK.

I meant to do four miles, but a loop around the cemetery is just as good, especially as it has hills. The first mile was very slow; I just wasn't feeling it. Only reason I went out was because the weather was great and I really needed some lung clearance. (Speaking of which, I kept passing other people's spit - looked like mine. They need to see a doctor!) Second mile started to get better - of course it had a long downhill and a lot of flat to it. The third mile, with a big uphill, was much slower again, but felt better. Shin splints were mild and went away for the last 3/4 mile, where my pace was the best of the whole run. Not fast, not even close to my target pace, but better than nothing. Coughed my head off pretty much the whole way, though, and not bringing up very much. I felt better after the run than before it, but still not fabulous.

Baptised new running shoes in the slush. I'd begun to wonder if part of my shin splint problem isn't that my shoes are fairly worn - after all, with such reduced running, I've been wearing the same pair for both running and walking around town. This may be a mistake. The new shoes felt softer, of course, and my footfall was different. Much nicer ride.

I passed several other runners, including one guy in a t-shirt and shorts. Nice to see. Another few degrees warmer and I can lose a layer myself and maybe go back to shorts.

Really don't have a lot to say right now. I'm pretty stressed with the renovation plans and dealing with the architect; not enough paying work; too many things people want from me that aren't bringing in money (meetings, etc.); stupid fucking tenant that I'm regretting having leased to. Winter. Just got back from New Jersey and I'm leaving again for Florida this week for a few days.

February 9, 2010

Slow evolution

I know running two miles at a time isn't making me a better runner. It's really only lung clearance. But it's also all I can manage right now. It takes all my willpower just to go out and run. I look foward to boring elliptical more; I don't know why.

So the good news is that the last run was better than Sunday's and I nearly got down to 12:00 minute miles. My resting heart rate is starting to come down, too, from the cardio of the elliptical. My lungs feel OK; neither good nor bad and I can live with that. I'm coughing up green stuff, but not a lot of it and I don't cough at night that I know of. And I'm getting stronger. I was able to up the resistance on the lat pulls from 70 to 80 last time and it didn't feel too hard. I'm starting to work with weights that move in more than one axis, so am developing all muscles around the targeted structures. (i.e. most machines are single-axis movement - no stabilizing muscles need come into play; some machines are dual axis so you have to use more muscles; and then there are free weights) I am getting stronger again and getting some muscle definition PLUS PUTTING ON WEIGHT. Not a whole lot yet, but there was a time back in October when I stepped on the scale and it read 117 lbs. Now it is consistently reading 126 or more.

I'm going out to New Jersey for a week starting Thursday. Supposed to be waist-high in snow, so running might not happen at all (running on their roads facing traffic is dicey enough without snow). But I think the school I'm designing for has a gym. If so, I intend to hit it hard while I'm there. Lots of cardio, lots of weights (at least twice), and lots of food.