May 31, 2006

An OK 10-miler

I ran 10 miles this morning along the Distributing Canal. I didn't have a lot of energy and took extra walking breaks (short, maybe 30 seconds). The temperature was in the mid 50s (F) when I left and in the mid 70s when I returned. A nice day for running. My wakeup HR was 50.

I saw a mother duck with several ducklings. About 50 feet away were two more ducklings. The mother duck was apparently worried that I might hurt her children, because she was quacking and quacking as I ran past. As I looked ahead and saw the two ducklings that were separated from their family, I thought to myself, "Maybe when I get past the two "orphan" ducklings, they will turn and go back to their mother." The mother duck had a different idea and apparently thought, "That old guy will hurt my kids", because she flew to the two ducklings and ushered them back to the other ducklings. The ducklings that are about a month old are getting big -- two or three times as large as the smaller ducklings that are younger. I still see a few pair (male/female) of ducks that don't have a brood yet.

Training Graphs

May 29, 2006

The canals I run are named

My wakeup HR was down to 47, and I felt good. I ran 5 miles along the canal I've been using for the past few years. It was a beautiful day with temperature in the 40s (F). I ran 11 - 12 minute miles, stopped to pick up litter, and felt great! Lots of ducks and ducklings in the canal. I even relived my childhood for a couple of minutes (one of the perks of growing old). I found a piece of 1x1 about a foot and a half long. I threw it in the canal and watched it float downstream. When I was a kid, my friends and I floated sticks in the irrigation ditches to and from school. Many years later, while I was living in Massachusetts, we came west on a vacation to visit family. While in Cedar City, Utah visiting my mom, I took my four kids out for a couple of hours and we floated sticks down the irrigation ditches for about five miles.

Since I've started to explore a second canal, I thought I'd better identify them. The canal I've been following is the Utah Distributing Canal. The canal I ran on Saturday is the Utah Salt Lake Canal. In my blog I will refer to them as the Distributing canal and the Salt Lake Canal. I ran the Distributing Canal this morning.

Training Graphs

May 28, 2006

Hey, my wakeup HR is down to 49

I had a nice nap yesterday after my long run, and last night I had close to eight hours sleep. As a result, my wakeup HR this morning was 49! Last week I got close to but not quite seven hours sleep each night. My body really needs that sleep!

Training Graphs

May 27, 2006

Completed a good 15 miles

This week has been a recovery week, although my wakeup HR was 52 this morning. Last Saturday I did 15 and ran out of energy towards the last part of the run. Today was different! I left earlier to avoid the heat, but as it turned out, there wasn't any heat to avoid. We're having a cold-front come through this weekend, and this morning during my run the temperature was in the high 40s (F), with a brisk 10 mph wind. It was a wonderful day for running. I still drank my 40 oz of liquid and ate a banana before I left, an apple around mile 4, and an energy bar around mile 7. I felt fine during the first 10 or so miles. During the next five miles I felt a bit tired, but nothing like last Saturday! My problem today was that my legs started to stiffen up. I ran the whole distance, though, only walking during my breaks after each mile. During my last mile, I felt a few sprinkles of rain, but the rain stayed away until I was home. During the last five miles I had a 10 mph head-wind that drained some energy from me, but my body still felt fine while I finished the run. The stiffening of my legs today was nothing like I experienced last November when I first went past 10 miles to 11 and then to 12.

Before I left home this morning, I decided to drive to the point where I've been turning around on my 15-milers, and run 7.5 miles from there to a new turn-around point. However, after I had run a little over a mile, the canal road disappeared. I was hoping it would continue into Utah County and down to Utah Lake, but, alas, that hope has been dashed. So, I ran back to the car and drove home and left the car. I then ran east to the next canal and followed that canal road to the south. There were two places where the land owners (the canal company only has a right-of-way through the land) have gates across the canal road, but I was able to backtrack a bit and find detours around the gates.

The new canal is about twice as wide as the canal I've been following, and, this year at least, it received its water about two weeks earlier than the other canal. This canal is also more scenic than the other canal, having larger bushes along the bank. This greenery made the canal look like a river in the eastern US. Beautiful to see and to enjoy as I ran this morning. There were lots of ducks and ducklings, and I saw some geese and a gosling. I also saw a seagull scavenging the canal bank. For those who aren't familiar with Utah history, I'll mention that we have lots of gulls living near the Great Salt Lake. In fact, they are part of recent Utah history. When the Mormon pioneers settled the Salt Lake Valley, they planted crops but were devastated when plagues of crickets devoured their crops. The sky darkened when hundreds (thousands?) of seagulls came. At first the pioneers thought the gulls would finish off their crops, but they were surprised, and grateful, to see the gulls eating the crickets. Because of that experience, the seagull is Utah's state bird.

I think that next week I'll drive to my stopping point this morning and then explore the new canal to see how far south it goes. I feel like Lewis and Clark. They dreamed of reaching the Pacific Ocean, and I dream of reaching Utah Lake. According to the Google satellite maps, there is a dam across the Jordan river near the point where lake water enters the river. That dam controls the level in the river, and I'm curious to see where the canal companies take their water out of the river or lake.

Later: I used mapmyrun.com to follow the new canal down to it's source at a pumping station in the Jordan Narrows south of Camp Williams. In fact I drove very close to there this morning. After the other canal road disappeared, I drove around the area to see if there were any good ways to get to the Jordan River. I drove past Camp Williams and turned off on the Jordan Narrows road and drove around. I saw a road to a pumping station (the road is on the west side of the river), but I didn't go there. Now, I know that that pumping station is the final destination of the canal road for the new canal. It looks like, from the satellite map, that the canal road goes all the way to the pumping station, reaching the station via the east side of the river, but I won't know for sure if the road does go to the station until I run it.

I've been hoping I could find a way to run to Thanksgiving Point and have my wife meet me there for lunch and then drive us home. I would run point-to-point for 15+ miles rather than out for 7.5 miles and back. Thanksgiving Point, on the east side of the river, is only a mile or so south of the Jordan Narrows, so it might be feasible. The satellite map shows a road going from the pumping station through some gravel operations and up to the I15 access road that leads to Thanksgiving Point. Since I'm running not driving, I don't need a very good road to follow.

Training Graphs

May 24, 2006

My energy level is still low :(

I started my 10-mile run but quickly realized I didn't have a lot of energy, and I aborted my run and walk/jogged home for a distance of 3 1/2 miles. Last Saturday I ran out of energy after 13 miles and mostly walked the last 2 miles to home. I took a day-off from running on Monday but was active in the yard that day and yesterday. Yesterday, I was on my feet for about 6 hours replacing the sod in the trench I dug last week, mowing lawns, rototilling my garden, and planting trees, plus working 6 hours at the college where I'm employed. Today it all caught up with me, and my body said, "Whoa, let's go home." My wakeup HR was 51, still a bit high.

I've had good runs for the past several weeks, having brought my long run from 10 miles up to 15 miles and my medium run from 8 miles up to 10 miles and my short run from 4 miles up to 5 miles. It's about time for my body to go into a slump while it recovers.

Training Graphs

May 22, 2006

Rest day today

My wakeup HR was 51 this morning, even though I had good sleep over the weekend. I think the HR was higher due to the stress from Saturday. As I've mentioned before, a two day delay in increases in my wakeup HR is common.

I'm taking a rest day today to give my body more time to recover from Saturday. Also, I need the time so I can replace the sod in the trench.

Training Graphs

May 20, 2006

Hot, hot, hot...

I ran 15 today during the hot part of the day. The shade-temperature was 74 (F) when I left, but the direct-sun temperature was 114 (F). When I got back the shade-temperature was 88. I couldn't measure the direct-sun temperature when I returned because my thermometer was no longer in the direct sun (I actually have two thermometers that share a common display in my kitchen. The outdoor thermometer is under my deck and is always in the shade. It has a wireless connection to my display in my kitchen next to a bay window on the east and south corner of the house). The kitchen unit picks up the direct morning sun.

I drank 40 oz of liquid (half Gatorade, actually the Costco Kirkham version, and half water). I could have used another 8 oz if I had had it. During the last mile, I only had a couple of sips at the start of the mile. During earlier miles, I took a big gulp of each liquid.

I'm still taking walking breaks at the end of each mile and drink my water and eat my Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Nut bar and my apple during those breaks. I also ate a banana before I left home. I took 3-4 extra walking breaks during long stretches (100 yards or so) of shade from rows of trees along the canal.

I really looked forward to the liquid each mile, and it was well worth the 2 pounds of weight (at the beginning) to have the liquid available. There were a couple of times when I had brief (1-2 seconds) spells of dizziness from the sun, and I was worried about heat-exhaustion. However, I felt ok and didn't get a headache, which is usually my first sign of heat-exhaustion, so I didn't worry about them. If the dizziness had continued, especially if the length of it or the intensity increased, I would have become concerned. Because I run the canal, there are fences between me and the houses I pass, and it would be difficult to attract attention from someone who could get me extra water. However, there are major streets every mile or so, and I could detour to a house if I needed to. I watched the ducks and ducklings swimming in the canal, and I was envious of them. I would have liked to jump in the water, but the canal water isn't very clean.

Even though my wakeup HR was 49, I got really tired and walked the last two miles -- I had no energy left for running. I tried to run a bit and found that all I could do was a faster walk, so I just kept on walking. I felt fine up to mile 9. At that point I could tell my calves were starting to tighten up. My energy level declined, and by mile 13, I was like a car out of gas :) I don't think I was fully recovered from my ordeal on Tuesday, and I'm sure the heat drained energy from me. Also, on the way out I had a 7-10 mph head wind (as usual, the wind died down before I turned around, so I didn't get the advantage of a tail-wind).

Still, it was a nice run, even if a "just made it" run.

Training Graphs

May 17, 2006

Digging trenches and running don't mix

I spent about 10 hours yesterday digging a long trench so I can run electrical wires out to a new utility barn that my wife and I have. The trench was through my lawn, and I had to cut through the sod as well as move dirt. As a result, I'm tired today and am taking a rest day. My next running day, if I recover before then, will be on Saturday. At my age, recovery takes longer than it does for the younger folks :)

My wakeup HR was 51.

Training Graphs

May 15, 2006

Finished the run in the dark

I had an 8 am meeting at work today, so I didn't run until I got home. I ran my 5-mile rest run and got back home just after dark. I couldn't see the last half mile of the canal road very well, but I knew it was relatively smooth, and I didn't have a problem running in the dark.

I tried an experiment during this run. I had a piece of pizza an hour before I ran. I knew I shouldn't eat the pizza, but I was curious to see if the hour would be enough time for my body to handle the food while I ran -- it wasn't. I felt tired right from the beginning of my run, and I couldn't breath very well. I ended up walk-jogging the 5 miles, although I did run the last mile because I felt better. Since it was an evening run, the temperature was higher than it is on my morning runs, and that might have contributed to my tiredness as well as to my feeling better during the last mile since it was dark when I got home and the temperature was dropping.

I saw two boys about 6 or 7 years old throwing rocks at a mother duck and her ducklings. I stopped and talked to the boys. I asked them, "How would you feel if a big giant threw rocks at you?" I then explained that the ducks are real animals and have feelings the same as us. They feel pain. They hurt and cry. I hope the boys will remember what I said and think about it as they grow older.

My wakeup HR this morning was 49.

Training Graphs

May 13, 2006

Reached my goal of 15 miles

I added a mile to my long run and ran 15 miles. During the run I consumed 20 oz of orange Gatorade and 12 oz of water. I also ate an energy bar during the first half of the run and an apple on the way back. My wakeup HR was 50, and I felt ok. Not particularly energetic but not overly tired either. I'm still taking walking breaks every mile, starting with the end of mile 1. It's during the walking breaks that I drink fluid and eat whatever food I've brought with me.

Now that I've met my goal of 15 miles for my long run, I plan to level off my distance and give my body three months to get used to the mileage. I'll probably vary the long run from 13 to 15 miles so I don't get into a rut of doing exactly the same thing each week. During these three months, my pace should increase as my body adapts to the distance, although I won't know for sure until I go through the three-months of training. I'm hoping to run the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon on August 19. However, I will run it only if my pace does get faster. My time today for 13.1 miles was 2 hours 46 minutes, for an average pace of 12 minutes. I would like to finish the half marathon in 2 hours 15 minutes or less, and that will require a pace of 10 minutes.

I saw four deer. Seeing deer is common; they come down the mountains looking for food. I also saw quite a few ducklings in the canal, including four that were not with their mother. I didn't see the red fox, though.

Training Graphs

May 11, 2006

My body is recovering from sleep deficit

After a good 7 hours sleep last night, my wakeup PR is back to 49 and I feed great this morning. If I get good sleep the next two nights, I should be in good shape for my 15-miler on Saturday.

Training Graphs

May 10, 2006

Make way for Ducklings!

I saw two sets of ducklings during my 10-mile run this morning. One set had 9 and the other set had 2. I wasn't expecting ducklings for another two weeks, and it was a pleasant surprise to see them! My wakeup HR was 51 this morning (a 5% increase due to lack of sleep on Friday and Saturday nights), but I had a good run and enjoyed being out on a beautiful spring day. I carried an apple and started nibbling on it at the 2-mile point and finished it during the next mile. I ate an energy bar at the 5-mile turn around point. And, I'm drinking water and Gatorade. My body handled everything fine.

In the past I've mentioned a new bridge across the canal that was being constructed to connect two sub-divisions. About two weeks ago they put the road-base in, and this morning that started the asphalt. In addition, another construction project to put in large sewage pipes is finished, and the canal road is now free of construction obstacles.

Training Graphs

May 8, 2006

A good run today!

My wakeup HR was 49, and I had a good 5-mile rest run. The sky was overcast and the temperature was in to low 50s. Ducks were on the canal, and it was nice to be out. I felt energetic before and during the run, and my comfortable pace was about a minute faster than it has been.

Training Graphs

May 6, 2006

Taking a day off...

I didn't sleep well last night. After 4 1/2 hours I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. I got up for a couple of hours and then went back to bed and slept some, but not good sleep. This week was the same pattern as last week, feeling pretty good during the week and then bombing out the night before the long run. In both weeks I didn't get enough sleep on one night in mid-week, and that had an effect on my Friday night sleep, I'm sure.

One of the symptoms of stress being too high is not sleeping well at night. I've had that problem for several weeks, but in most cases I would go back to bed, or take a nap before I left for work, and get the sleep I needed. However, last night and the Friday night the week before I didn't get the needed sleep. So, I decided it was time to listen to my body and take the day off from running. On Monday I'll do my 5-mile rest run, and on Wednesday my 10-mile medium run. For next Saturday, I haven't decided if I'll go for the 15 or drop back to 13 and take a couple of weeks to work up to 15. I'll make that decision on Saturday morning.

Training Graphs

May 3, 2006

The canal water is in!

My wakeup HR was 49, and I felt pretty good. I ran my 10-mile run and enjoyed seeing the water and ducks. I felt fine during and after the run.

I experimented with the food I eat during my longer runs. I drank Gatorade right from the beginning (well, actually beginning with mile 2)instead of just on the return trip as I did on Saturday. Also, instead of eating an apple at the turn-around point, I ate an energy bar. I felt fine during the run -- no diarrhea.

Some people wonder why I get excited about having the canal water come in. Just the boy in me, I guess. As a kid in Southern Utah, I floated sticks as boats in the irrigation canals. We would do that on the way to school. As the irrigation water made its way to our individual lots, we would make dams and roads over the dams and play "cars".

Training Graphs

May 1, 2006

A good rest run

My wakeup HR was 47 and I felt pretty good: not tired and a reasonable amount of energy. I was out earlier than I've been getting out, and the air was still cool. I added a mile and ran 5 miles. This will be the length of my rest run from here on. I enjoyed the run and enjoyed being out with nature. No water in the canal yet, but today is the date for the water to be released from Utah Lake, 20+ miles to the south. Of course, it will take a bit of time for the water to get to where I run.