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I grabbed the wife and daughter for my walk last night, much against the wishes of my wife. I had walked through the door not even five minutes after she had, and going for a walk was the last thing she wanted, but I forced her to anyway. I’m sure she’ll thank me later. Our daughter was considerably more enthusiastic about riding in the stroller around the neighborhood. I put on my running shoes, and we headed out the door.

We hit this walk pretty hard. My wife’s strong desire to not do this (and a driving force of hunger) propelled her to basically speed-walking the entire distance. We traveled about 1.3 miles in 17 minutes, for a pace just shy of 13 minutes. Pretty speed for us, particularly given my usual 12-minute mile when I JOG. So yeah, I had a decent sweat going on by the end. The best part for the whole time, was when my daughter didn’t want to ride in the stroller, so we paused to have her walk with us, and then she was going slow, so I got to pick her up and carry her for a good quarter-mile. Fun stuff.

Anyway, the app on my phone is Runtastic, and the website has some cool features considering I don’t pay for anything. The graph is from there.

So I did not do my run this morning, but that’s not to say I avoided cardio altogether. My wife and I have instead been putting our 2-year old into a stroller and doing a brisk 1-mile walk around the neighborhood. We did our first Monday, again on Tuesday, and then a last time last night. We didn’t go at a break-neck speed, but I still had a very light sweet going on by the end, and last night was glad to take my jacket off to keep my daughter warm.

Bad food day today. I went out to lunch with coworkers, expecting to get a chicken ceasar salad. Instead, the restaurant literally had no parking spots, and some jack-ass says, “Pizza-Hut is nearby!” in some jack-assery excited manner. I dislike Pizza-Hut anyway, even less after I worked in one at a water park as a kid, and even less-less now that it’s an “Express” buffet style awfulness. But my fat-ass still ate, and have been hating life since until now, chugging water to try and feel less puke-y.

YAY!

Just this morning.

Just an hour ago.

5:30 AM is a God-awful time to wake up. I did a half mile, non-continuous, in about I-don’t-know-how-long. My recently holiday-fatened body did not appreciate this activity, but I told it to shut the fuck up or no more peanut butter.

It bitched anyway.

I won’t be able to run Wednesday or Thursday because of class and an early meeting (respectively), but I’m hoping Friday I’ll have the will to wake up this most unnatural of hours to do this terrible activity.

Last night I followed through with my plan of alternating nights between running and biking. I pulled out my 4-year-old bike, filled up its tires with my trusty foot pump, adjust the seat, and went out on my merry way. It was great at first, if a bit uncomfortable on my posterior. Mostly, it was just nice to move along at such a higher speed than running. I had a breeze in my face, and pleasant memories of a childhood spent permanently attached to a bicycle playing through my internal video player.  However, before long, maybe half a mile, things went down hill.

I started to notice that the seat of my bike was insanely uncomfortable. Not just a bit of a nuisance, but honest-to-God painful. I couldn’t adjust on it to find a position that didn’t feel like I was sitting on the edges of a steel I-beam. Shifting cheeks, sitting almost sideways, and scooting back so my thigh rested on the seat was useless – there was no relief. I won’t mention in detail what other locales of the anatomy were finding the situation uncomfortable as well. The result was a lot of “stand-up biking”, trying to give my poor butt cheeks a break from the unrelenting adamantine construction abusing me with reckless abandon. The result from that particular development is that I am walking a bit like a cowboy today, I think I may have bruised, but there’s no way I’ll ever be able to really tell.

By the end of a mile, I started to feel the muscles in my thighs responding. I didn’t think of it before, but biking and running really works two incredible different parts of your legs. With jogging/running, I get a lot more of a calf burn, and a cardiovascular impact. With my back, my thighs felt like liquid after 1.2 miles. I was sweating, but my breathing was barely elevated. I felt great – other than the urgent need to not be standing on the suddenly unstable ground.

Those memories of youthful days spent on a bike: I’m trying to recall how I did it, because it seems a near impossibility now. I must have been in some ridiculous shape as a kid!

Actual graph of my run

A Sunday run! Yes, I was dutiful last night.

I tried something a bit different for my run last night. Where before I would do a straight run until I felt the need to rest, I did a mental count pace between running walking. For a count of 60, I ran, then for a count of 60, I walked. I did the entire mile in this manner, and by my internal count, it took 6 and a half minutes, and it turns out I was off by only six minutes. That’s close, right?

The reason I tried this was by some prompting from my wife, who said she heard that’s a good way to build up stamina, but after I finished, she told me I’m supposed to do it for 30 minutes. My-b. The important part, is that afterward, I didn’t feel God-awful bad, and want to kill myself, which is a shocker considering I have been TERRIBLE about maintaining a scheduled run, and I also did the mile in less time than my previous two runs since I started using my GPS tracking APP. I’m thinking this may be a great way to ease me back into the routine, and if I can keep myself dedicated, it may go well.

Another way of helping keep myself cardiovascularly active and not skipping runs, is that I’m going to try to bike every-other day instead of run. I’m worried that running four days a week straight may lead to burn-out, and cause me to quit. So, I can give my knees and feet a break from running every day, and hop on the bike instead. I’m initially planning to try and do double the distance of my run on my bike. This should provide some nice exercise, keep me from slacking off, and still provide a good break from monotony.

I went for a mile run last night, I’m having a very difficult time getting back into my run-routine. I was in a groove for a decent while before the holidays, and picking that back up again has been far more difficult than I anticipated. The hardest part about the whole situation is getting time to go do it. My evenings I usually have free time to do things around the house, but the logistics of balancing time out of the house between my wife and I is a chore. We have things that need to be done that can’t be done at home – grocery shopping, mailing packages, commitments at church, extra-family members assistance, car repairs, errands in general, and of course, the spouses desire to get some exercise in as well. Someone always needs to be around for our daughter – even if she is asleep. I can’t just put on my shoes and go for a run whenever I want when I get home from work.

So, I didn’t put my shoes on to go for a run until 9:00 PM. Our neighborhood is pretty well lit, with lamposts on alternating sides of the road, in front of every other quarter-acre lot, so running at night isn’t the worst thing in the world, and with the hotter summer months fastly approaching, it means the weather is a bit cooler at that point as well. The downside, is that by 9:00 PM I’m ready to be partaking in a TV show, book, video game, or some other leisure activity, before I hit the sack in a couple of hours.

So I’m not sure what to do exactly. I’m a big fan of scheduled activity, and keep things in a pattern, so running at 7pm one night, 9pm the next, and 8:07pm the one after sits poorly with me. My other option is to do a morning run. But I hate waking up. Getting out of bed every day is an epic struggle of wills, lived out in the combat of my snooze button on my phone in the early AM hours of my day. So, morning runs are very, very low on the list of probably work-arounds.

The run itself went, well, poorly, at least compared to where I WAS before. The new app I got, Runtastic, has some realy cool tools that shows your pace along the run, and uses GPS to track your route and elevation changes. I averaged something around a 14 minute mile – which is just abysmal, and you could see the places where I had to walk for a bit where the graphical pace dipped low. I keep telling myself that I’m starting over, and not to expect to be able to do this like I did back in November, but logical brain and emotional responses don’t often play nice.

I slacked off earlier this week as far as running goes, it just kept feeling like if it wasn’t thing it was another that was keeping me from getting out there. So, I made sure to get my run in immediately after putting my daughter to sleep yesterday. Everything that my singular half mile run was last week, yesterday’s run was the opposite. Okay, so maybe that’s hyperbole, but I’m trying to express a point here.

I plugged my headphones into my new android phone, loaded up an interesting new app called “runtastic” that basically does what the ever popular Nike app does on the even more popular iPhone. My app was free, not sure what the price point is on the Nike app/device. As soon as I stepped out of my garage, the first thing I noticed was the tree in my front yard, leaning steeply in a direction it normally doesn’t lean. The wind blowing was strong, not so terrible that it was intrusive other than pressing clothes tight to your body, but strong enough that if my 15 month old had been out there, I don’t know if she would have been able to stay standing.

But hey, it’s only wind right? How much is it REALLY going to affect me anyway? I’m a PERSON. A HUMAN. Silly wind, I will ignore you!

Wrong, that wind KICKED. MY. ASS.

Of course, my suborn-stupid obstinacy, and lack of forethought bare a large part of the culpability of my difficulty. On top of trivializing the wind and overestimating my own ability, I neglected to give consideration to the fact that my typical route had me running into the wind for the first quarter-mile. Did I change-up my first loop up so that the short side would be running into the wind? No, that would mean thinking ahead, and damnit, why would I do that? By the end of the first half-mile, I was dead and dying. So I walked the next quarter-mile or so, until my right rib no longer felt like it was poking my lung with the pointy end, and finished the final quarter on rubbery legs and little more than personal resolve.

I’m back at the start of my running ability again, and I had almost forgotten how much that sucks.

I haven’t run since November 29th. That’s about 3 and a half months of inactivity, due to needing (NEEDING) shoes, foot operations, bronchitis, and vomit dragons. Happily, nausea is completely gone now, my feet are totally healed, leaving me in a happy place last night to strap on the now “new” 3-month old pair of shoes, and give this running thing a round 2.

I didn’t push myself hard, as I was fresh returned to the road, and just a couple of days out from being majorly dehydrated from an inability to keep anything life-sustaining inside me. So, I figured I’d do a nice half-mile, see how I felt and then decide from there. By my memory, this half-mile was going to be essentially a return to the first half-mile I did, and was going to be pure hell. Happily, it actually turned out to be kind of pleasant.

My new shoes worked AMAZING. My feet felt great, and the there was no numbness in my toes or feet at the end of a  half mile. I was starting to feel tightness in my shins, but that was the extent of any physical discomfort. Cardiovascularly, I was doing decent, I hadn’t worked up a big sweat, but I was fairly winded. So when I rounded the end of the half-mile, I felt really well, and was contemplating doing a full mile instead. Unfortunately, I saw that our garage door hadn’t closed all the way for some reason, and not wanting to leave an access point open, I decided to end the run in favor of keeping the home secure.

A big part of me now wishes that I had just closed the garage, then turned around and gone to finish the full mile. A feel a lot like I wimped out. My wife’s insistence that keeping it short was the smart move doesn’t help one iota. I feel like I took the easy way out, and used an excuse to do so, despite what rationale I may tell myself (or my wife may tell me). I need to find a little, green, old man to ride on my shoulders and verbally whip me if I start to slack off. Still, being Yoda-less, I’ll keep at the half mile for the remainder of this week, and then go to a full mile for a full week of running starting Sunday.

My actual toe. Soaking in hot, soapy water.

Last Thursday I had the my second Toe operated on. The first one took a little over a week till I felt like I could put my full weight on it again, and it wasn’t until just before the second toe’s work that I felt like I could run on it. So I expect by the middle of next week, I should be back to running again. I’m mentally looking forward to it, as I know I’ve packed on quite a few pounds since the holidays where I got lax in my eating as well as a complete cessation of physical activity. Inactive and stuffing my face for a few months straight does terrible things to my belt.

The surgerys themselves went smoothly, no hickups and the healing is going well. The doctor SAID I could run on it the day after the surgery, but screw that. I went bowling yesterday with some guys from church, and was able to play, but the discomfort from that didn’t inspire a running attitude. Of course, and I kid you not, I dropped a 13 pound bowling ball RIGHT on my toe. Pastor standing right next to me, I somehow mustered the will of not letting an explitive escape past my lips. I don’t know how, but I did.

Tomorrow morning I will be getting the operation on my toes that should cause my in-grown issues for the rest of my life. The recovery time isn’t too great, about two weeks where I avoid running or any heavy-impact activity on my feet. So, by mid February, I should be back on the road again, running my ass off. It’s been a while coming, and I haven’t run in a long time because of it, so I’m a bit concerned that getting back into the sport is going to be disheartening and painful all over again, but we’ll see how it goes in two weeks time.

The operation itself is supposedly very quick, a couple numbing injections, some chemical burn of nail roots after cut and removal, and I’m on my way. If it’s not too dissimilar from what I recall having done in my youth, it should be a walk in the park, other than my absolute hatred of needles. I can watch my foot get sliced up three ways to Sunday, as long as I can’t feel it, but there is something inherently wrong with watching AND feeling a piece of metal longer than my finger being jabbed into flesh.

Anyway, here’s to getting back to running!

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