2011: So far, so good

I ran 7.5 miles on the treadmill this morning and it was no big deal. This is major. I remember how running used to feel now. Or, at least, how it should not feel: namely, like a burdensome experience in which every step feels hard and every mile feels like three miles.

I haven’t bothered to post training, and I don’t dare tally up my miles for 2010. I’m sure it’s about half what I ran in both 2008 and 2009. Maybe that’s a good thing. But I’ll start tracking things soon.

Over the past few weeks I’ve run between around 25 and 35 miles a week. This week I’m trying for 40. On Sunday I had the first good run since August, an 11 miler in Central Park at around 8:20 pace. Considering that I’ve been plodding along at 9:20-9:50 on a flat treadmill, running that pace over hills is huge. I was in a great mood after that run. Weather permitting, I’ll probably go for a 12-14 miler in the park again on Sunday.

The stress fracture is totally healed up. The adductor pain is so subtle that I don’t even feel it much of the time when I’m running. It comes and goes, but mostly goes. I ran the last mile on Sunday in 7:15. I could feel it then, but it wasn’t bad. I will continue to test it with bits of faster running on Sundays.

In other news, I had my three week progress check-in with The Nutritionist. She is baffled by the fact that between being ill with a cold (and barely eating anything), then running just about every day (and eating what she has told me to eat, and when), that I’ve lost a grand total of .5 lbs. I reminded her of what I said when we met last month: “I told you I’m a hard case.” She assures me we’ll crack this case.

As part of the detective work, next week I visit an endocrinologist and also go for a VO2 max test. I would have gone for the VO2 max test earlier but I was sick with a head-and-then-chest cold for two weeks, and it seemed stupid to do anything that relied on good breathing, and then Christmas was upon us. So I called today to make the appointment. It was a funny conversation, with the person on the phone telling me what to expect, in a tone that was somewhat ominous: “It’s going to be a very hard workout.” She paused and then said, “Wait a minute. You’re a marathoner?” I said, “Yes.” She laughed, “Oh, good!” I guess she knows I like to suffer. 20 minutes pedaling hard on a bike? Pfft. Bring it on, lady. I’ve done Joan Benoit’s bike workout and that takes 1:20.

It’s a new year. I have lots of resolutions and goals, as usual. This year, however, they have a gravity to them that they have not in the past. I’m on a self-improvement tear. I have a long list of things to accomplish. I am not going to slack off or give up.

We started off the year with a massive clean out of our office. I’d spent about three days last month cleaning up the piles of paper surrounding my desk. Jonathan was infected by this bug and we just spent two days cleaning up the rest of the office. We’re recycling no less than four computers (and lots of peripherals). We threw out or recycled about eight large garbage bags’ worth of crap. It will not be our last trip to the Yonkers dump. Next up: the guest room closets.

Jonathan has been more attached to the things we own than I have traditionally. I would describe myself as ruthlessly unsentimental. I have no idea what’s changed in him — maybe it was my insisting that we get rid of the pool table (and actually disposing of it less than 24 hours later) and replace it with dining room furniture so we could live like civilized people. Now we have interesting conversations over dinner. We can have people over to eat. These are no small matters.

More shit is going out the door this year. The Bowflex. The rugs we don’t like. All of the semi-disposable IKEA furniture (with a nod to Douglas Coupland) that we bought with the idea that it would be temporary, yet which has insidiously become permanent. The mountains of I don’t know what in our basement. All this detritus is oppressive, both physically and mentally. I want a house that’s positively Japanese when we’re done.

12 Responses

  1. So you’re doing the VO2 Max test on the bike?

    I’d normally be concerned that it would underestimate your fitness, as compared to a running test (my bike specific fitness failed way before my aerobic fitness during mine — I supposedly hit my “max heart rate” at 170 BPM — I assure that’s not the case.

    (of course, my test was also an exercise PFT that measured Vo2Max along the way, and wasn’t focused specifically on VO2 Max)

    But if you’ve been doing enough biking, then maybe it’s fine.

  2. It must feel sooooo good to finally be able to run and feel normal again! I’m really excited for you, I hope it just keeps getting better.

  3. I was wondering the same as Chris re a bike vrs run VO2 test. Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see the result, although there have been great runners (Derek Clayton for instance) who’ve had low VO2maxes.

    Love the positively Japanese house idea. I want to do that. Realised on my last trip to the US that I can live quite happily with just the stuff that fits in a suitcase.

  4. I’ve always (no – that’s a lie – for some time I have) wanted to take a VO2 max test. Although, I suppose it would be pretty useless to know the results unless I were working with a professional. Hmm.

    If you have a Japanese house, will you have slippers right by the front door for guests? That is fun. Clutter stresses me out. I can’t even watch those hoarding shows on television.

  5. Thanks for all the comments. The test is to compare my resting metabolism to my working metabolism and try to get an idea of how many calories I’m burning (and how they are distributed between fat and carb fueling) at various levels of effort. This as opposed to just finding out what my “max” is. I have this sinking feeling that I actually burn something like 50-60 cals a mile at moderate efforts, or something ridiculous, rather than the estimated 85 or so. But we shall see. Maybe The Endocrinologist will find that my hormones are wonky.

    I’m sure I’ll hit higher heart rates and relatively “lower” speeds on the bike (as compared to the treadmill), but I don’t really care about that. 80% of MHR is still 80% of MHR whether I’m hitting it as a shitty cyclist or as an efficient runner.

    But the main reason I’m not pushing for a treadmill test is that with a dodgy adductor I’m not eager to have someone ramp me up, say, to 10MPH in an environment that’s already going to be less than relaxed. If I blow out that tendon it won’t be good. This won’t be a danger on the bike. The woman on the phone also said that since the mask has more of a tendency to slip around on the treadmill (because of the jostling) vs. bike, they feel they get more accurate readings on the latter.

    The test is $100. That’s cheap enough that I can go back when I’m in full running form again, and hit the treadmill this time, just to compare.

  6. Nothing will motivate you to declutter more than watching a few episodes of Hoarders. I highly recommend it, it’s like free therapy.

  7. Yeah, I’ve caught a few episodes of Hoarders. But those people are rank amateurs compared to the infamous Collyer Brothers:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collyer_brothers

  8. You selling the stuff you’re getting rid of, or just tossing it?

    (Wondering if I can fit a Bowflex in my tiny apartment) :)

  9. A combination of Freecyling, recycling and tossing. The Bowflex went fast, not surprisingly. It’s now with a very nice family that wants to get in shape this year.

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