Monday, December 22, 2008


The winter running journey continues. This time the Finnish Five Mile with my daughter. Conditions were wintery: windy, snowy, slushy, cold. We both stretched and jogged to "warm up." (I was kidding myself, warm up? To convince our muscles to work maybe, to feel warm, hardly!) We took off, but my Garmin thought it was too cold and had to be tapped and massaged into starting after we had begun running. Then there were those slushy uphill segments. Yuk! Lots more work, except for those veterans in front of us wearing their "Yaks." (A code work for chains for shoes.) Eventually they jingled out of sight while my daughter and I carefully sought out the less slippery, possible traction areas. Just as we got to the last 400 mark, the 28 years younger daughter says, "Let's sprint in, Mom!" I hated to tell her that the last mile was pretty much my sprint pace, so I said instead, "You go, girl!" Then as she made her move, something in me said, "Get over this age excuse and get going!" So I did and I managed to finish 8 seconds behind her. For us it was another learning experience: buy "Yaks" and "Finnish" well. (For my daughter, age group first; for me, age group third.) Not a bad winter day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cross-training: another way to be a novice!

I have to have options. I cannot run everyday and stay healthy. So... my CTS coach has helped me begin cycling. I have replaced my 25 year old 10 speed with a Trek 2.3; I now have lobster claw mittens, a helmet (yes, I should have had one all along), a cadence meter, new pedals and shoes that clip in them. My coach has warned me: every one falls. Lovely. On his advice I am practicing indoors this winter. I have not yet purchased knee pads, and I would hate to tear a hole in my tights or worse yet scar up my knees! Will practice make perfect? Will this novice avoid road rash and worse? Spring will tell.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Running Later: for real!

I am so not a winter competitor! I planned my warm up to take right up until just before the race. My husband was there to take my jogging pants. I was hydrated. I was cold, but I as ready. Sort of. I was about 1/3 of the way back in the group of runners waiting, when I noticed up front that a group had taken off. I asked who that was, and it was my race, the 10K! So I ran to the front and through the group of 5K runners in order to catch up. I ended up trying to pass dozens of slower runners and even the sleigh and reindeer runners! Not a good beginning, and not a good pace. I did finish; my time was not what I wanted, but I was in the middle of my age group.

What have I learned? Don't listen for an announcement. Don't expect a starter to fire a gun. Ask, and act! I don't ever want to be "running later" again!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Learning My Legs

I have spent the past two weeks preparing for my first winter 10K. I even tried running outdoors on a trail by moon light, since that's the warmest time available to me when I am not working. Today is my race: the Jingle Bell 10K. It is a little intimidating to be doing this knowing that I will have some snow and ice to deal with! The week has also reminded me that I am still "learning my legs". On Monday I ended up with some numbness and foot issues on my right side. Between my orthotics and my exercises I have managed to manage by somewhat "off" biometrics. We'll see how it goes today when I try to run at a racing pace. My hope is that in year two of this journey I will know much better how to take care of my legs while I continue to challenge myself in terms of running proficiency and endurance.

Stay tuned for results. Please let me know, how are you doing at learning your legs?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

More fun!

Another 5K accomplished (my first Turkey Trot)! A few new things learned: it is more challenging to run in Colorado than Wisconsin; my daughter is now faster than me (and that's a very good thing); some races give medals to walkers too (many of these finishers had times that rivaled the runners'); and never assume that a grandfather, father and grandchild will have a successful 5K experience (even if the weather is lovely). We have actual video footage that includes comments about being "abandoned"!

While in Colorado I went to the rec center with my daughter for a "track session" and managed once again to turn it into a snafu. (I can only imagine what my "virtual coach" thinks.) I am highly educated, good with data and generally proficient in following directions....but not when it comes to my interval work. This time I managed to place my trust in a treadmill that converted my desired pace into speed, but not quite accurately. 8:40 pace to 7.2 mph. I warmed up and gave it my best for 2 x 400 and 2x 800, but wow, was I tired! The last 800 I slowed it down to 7.0 mph. This was pretty discouraging for me. I knew the elevation would take its toll on me, but not to this extent!

The next day I went to a website with a converter and checked out the conversion from the treadmill. Once again, I had done my set wrong! My speed was off. The good news was, I survived running at a faster pace than my coach had scheduled me to do! My current plan is to make a pace chart and either stick on my I-Pod or laminate one and put it on the treadmill. I hate screwing up! (Good converter website

The good news this week is that I have no travels, no complicating elevation issues and a trustworthy treadmill at the fitness studio I belong to! It might be a normal week, although, don't count on it!

How's your running been going? Liking the cold? Any hints for keeping my feet warm?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Are you out there?

Anyone else sharing this running journey while dealing with the realities of being a fifty something full time worker?

If not this will be my soliloquy.

Today is another challenge: how do you find time to work, work out and run? I am racing on Saturday in Colorado with my thirty year old daughter. My running and working out seems to have motivated both of my daughters to step it up a notch in their own fitness. A very good thing for them and for me. I now have a running partner! This thirty year old gave me goggles and a swim cap for my recent birthday. Her plan is to inspire me to also become a swimmer.

Now to time manage my day: work, pack, run four miles, do 30 minutes of resistance training, ready the house for being gone.

Also, I learned a valuable lesson about travel: keep your running shoes and insoles in your carry on. Two weeks ago I didn't and it was expensive and frustrating. I need to figure out how to get those shoes into my briefcase with my laptop. (???)

I am wondering, do most boomer runners use orthotics? My custom ones are great and I think they will help me avoid some hip issues that my relatives faced as they age.

Off to my day,

Looking for others who started "Running Later",

The Boomer Beginner

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How many "400's"?

Part of my boomer running journey has been figuring out the metric system in terms of miles. And then, figuring out the language of running, followed by learning how to keep track of where I am at, both literally and figuratively while I am running interval sets. (Notice the vocabulary here?)

Since June I have been working with a virtual coach. Why am I making a training investment? Mainly because I am clueless about how to safely achieve my running goals, so I want some customized guidance. However, that said, I work too many hours and travel too much to be able to schedule face-to-face training, thus my online efforts. With this approach comes some amount of confusion since I am alone trying to interpret my virtual work out schedule.

Yesterday was a great example of my challenges. I started out to run four miles with four 400m intervals of running at tempo pace with three minutes of slow running in between. I stretched, put on the chest strap and ForeRunner and headed out into the cold (21 degrees here). I pushed the start button and began running. A few minutes later I looked down: the watch was set to show distance, heart rate and speed (mph). Not exactly useful in doing my drill. So, I estimated and used the distance function. Not ideal for accuracy. When I finished my four miles, I looked at my file and it appears not only was I a little off on the speed, but I also screwed up an ran an extra interval. (Brilliant, huh?) I can only imagine what will happen if I take up swimming too.

The Boomer Beginner

Monday, November 17, 2008

Why not?

Today, tomorrow, yesterday... starting is the thing. This is a "running later" space. A space for those of us boomers who discovered running later in life than most people.

What is it like to put on shoes, a ForeRunner, a chest strap, log-in to your training schedule, slam down 2 cups of coffee, half a banana, and head out the door? For me it is exhilarating and intimidating all at the same time! What about for you? (The Beginner in the November Runners World had a less rewarding beginning.)

I have learned about PT, orthotics, "vitamin I" and listening to my body. How about you?

It has been a solitary journey into myself and what I am made of, and an outside run into a world of trails and roadways and races. Most of this little understood by those who have not attempted "running later". Lots of it confusing and sometimes even embarrassing.

I am anxious to know who is out there with me and what you have learned or want to learn.

I will commit to finding experts to give us their best thinking as we work on our "running later" journey, and of course, over time, I will tell some of my stories too.