A personal 7-mile turkey trot

Some people run turkey trots to make themselves feel better by stuffing themselves at Thanksgiving. This year I was going to run a 5k, but after talking with a friend of mine the other day I decided to just run with a few other people, and log more than 3.1 miles. I was a bit hesitant at first to do what they were planning to do, but I stuck with it this morning and in the end had no guilty feelings about stuffing myself this afternoon. And I saved $20 in the process.

We ended up running 7 miles ... yes, SEVEN miles on big hills in Bedford that I'm not used to anymore. This coming from me who has cut way back on running since August. My longest run since the Rock 'n' Roll Half has just been 5 miles, I think, while I've mostly stuck to runs between 3 and 4 miles with a lot of cross training. Today was the answer I was looking for -- cross training does go a long way. At the same time, though, it doesn't fully replace running.

Don't look for me to change my plans for this winter -- I still plan to keep doing what I'm doing with less running. I am happy though to know that I can still push out a distance like I did today with no problems. Overall it was a great run. Of course with a group we started off faster than I would have liked -- the first mile was just a tad over 8 minutes -- but overall we kept a good pace. Two of the guys pushed it at the end while me and another guy hung back, finishing in just about a 9-minute mile pace. It made me feel good about what I might be able to do next time I run a 5k.

Lastly, I'd just like to say HAPPY THANKSGIVING to everyone out there. I hope you had a great day, and if you happened to run a turkey trot or something even longer, I hope you had a great run.

The "other" category

Since I'm still a relative newbie to the gym scene, it's easy to say that I've been hesitant to try out equipment that I'm not used to. Well, today that changed. Last week I noticed that the Gold's Gym I go to had some new elliptical-type machines that looked like fun. Usually "fun" and "elliptical" don't go together very well. Today, I got on it and had a great workout.

The new machine is from Octane Fitness - it's the Pro3700. It was so much better than a regular elliptical machine with lots of different options. It even has program and level controls on the handle bar so you don't have to worry about pushing buttons if you want to change up what you're doing. It also has a small fan on it. Today I did a mile in the "manual" mode, then about 20 minutes in the "X Mode" that targeted specific areas of the body in one-minute increments and then a "30:30" interval routine, which was pretty intense with 30 second "sprints" and 30 second "walks."

Overall I did 5 miles in about 40 minutes ... thus the category of "other" with my miles. My mileage that I'll officially mark down in my workout log will be from running, biking, walking and other. And after today, much of that other will be from the Pro3700.

November Snow

As you know, occasionally I do a weekly roundup. Well, this week was a very basic week with a couple of gym visits, a run outside and a few walks with my dog -- a week after being sick and doing nothing, it was pretty good. So instead of getting into any thoughts about the week from a working out perspective, I'll leave you with these photos of snow.

For many of us on the East Coast, it's too early to be this cold -- a normal high in Richmond this time of the year is in the upper 50s and lows are usually in the mid-30s. This week was nuts. It's one of only a few times I've actually seen snow in Virginia before Thanksgiving.

Two teaspoons of cold air

Last night I was pretty determined to get up and go to the gym. But after walking my dog and realizing that I could handle temperatures in the mid-20s, I decided to go for an outdoor run. It was my first non-treadmill run in a while and it's the first run in such cold conditions since March. Although I was running much slower that I thought I was going, it was a refreshing run. The cold, fresh, low humidity air was just what the doctor ordered.

I'm not a big fan of running in the cold, but today was definitely a break. It also gave me a chance to blow my nose like my wife hates ... fellow runners probably know what I'm talking about ... but it was really a relief.

Although I'll be doing a lot of treadmill running this winter, today was a good example of what I want to do at least once a week over the next couple of months if it's cold -- just get outside and run a few miles and not worry about pace.

Some sort of normalcy

With being sick, having a baby, experiencing strangely cold weather and catching up on work, this month has definitely been off when it comes to working out. Last week was pretty much a rock bottom with the sickness, but instead of worrying about "starting over," I've tried to resume some normalcy this week.

It hasn't been all that much, but I've gone to the gym a couple of times to get some short workouts in, including a good 3.4-mile run last night. I felt pretty good. Once all this snot is 100 percent out of me, it'll be even better. A few more hours of sleep this weekend will certianly help too. Tomorrow I plan to resume my mini-duathlon with some sort of run-bike-run routine. It'll probably be short, but it's a must.

I haven't decided on the Turkey Trot next week. We'll be visiting family in Bedford, so I'd do the one in Lynchburg. I need a few more good runs before doing it. I certainly won't be trying to set any records, but I'd like to still be able to hit around 24 minutes. We'll see ...

In need of a workout

This weekend's Richmond Marathon festivities (8k, a new half and the marathon) quietly passed without any involvement from me. The weekend almost became a tradition -- two years ago I did the 8k, last year was the marathon and until the early baby surprise and my sudden illness I was going to do the 8k this year. When I took my dog out for a walk that morning, though, there was part of me that was glad I wasn't out there -- it was very humid and strangely warm, and then the wind picked up quite a bit. It wasn't ideal for a race.

But missing out on this weekend has me thinking about 2009. Running a marathon is probably out of the question, but I can't completely rule it out. At one point this year, I totally ruled out doing the Shamrock Half again in March, but now that I've taken time off and joined a gym to avoid training in the cold, the thoughts of doing that race have resurfaced. I still want to do a duathlon, but that's not until late April, five weeks after Shamrock.

Meanwhile, there's the desire to just take it "easy" until the summer. By "easy" I mean doing a few shorter races and continuing a lot of cross training until late spring before the Rock 'n' Roll Half -- haven't I been saying that for a while now?

I think my issue right now is that my sickness and lack of sleep have prevented me from doing anything in the past week and I have an itch just to run a couple of miles. Sitting still makes me think -- when I hit that treadmill tomorrow (I hope), all this craziness will go away.

I hate you mucus

With being inactive for much of this week, there really hasn't been much to say. I'm a day away -- probably two -- from going back to the gym. Since my sickness peaked on Wednesday, I've been slowly getting better every day. A Z-Pak, Mucinex, Vitamin B, lots of water and, newly discovered last night, Breathe Right strips are making life a little easier. I was amazed at the Breathe Right strips -- I've been missing out. I think I'll have to try one out on a run. With a little one in the house, getting extra rest is out of the question, so a quick recovery isn't happening. At this point, it's a matter of not getting something else right now.

I did run a half mile with my dog yesterday and I felt OK, but I have some more stuff to get out of me before I attempt doing anything for more than 5 minutes. With the progress I've made, I'm confident I can get back into a routine this week.

I was wrong; I am sick

Last year after my marathon, I felt this way, but put off going to a doctor for a while. This time around, with a newborn in the house, I wasn't going to wait. Sure enough I have an upper respiratory infection. I essentially have no voice, am coughing occasionally, but I have no fever. My head is a little swimmy though.

So I'm on the same meds as last year that worked pretty well. I do feel better tonight than I did this morning. As long as I can get a little better every day I'm not too worried. I will lose a week of any kind of working out besides some short walks with my dog, but at this point I don't care about that. I just want to get healthy. It's needless to say, but the 8k is out this weekend. And depending on how the next few days go, a Turkey Trot may be out of the question too. I'm not giving up hope yet!

Sick? No. Just worn down

If you could hear me talk right now, it sounds like I have something stuck in my throat. It's the deep sexy losing-my-voice sound. I ask myself if I'm sick or am I just worn down with the baby ... or am I having side effects from my weekend flu shot. The one and only other time in my life when I got a flu shot, I immediately got sick. It's been downhill ever since I got it Friday.

I haven't gotten a workout in for a couple of days, so the 8k is out this weekend. I'm setting my sights on a Turkey Trot if we travel to see my family on Thanksgiving. I'm actually taking better care of myself from an eating standpoint than I usually do, so I'm not worried yet about losing my endurance that I got rolling in the past few weeks.

This seems to happen every year to me -- it's like my body saying hey, it's almost winter, don't do anything. With a gym membership in my pocket, that's not going to happen this time around.

The fresh November air

With all that's been going on from the weather to the time change to having a baby to work, I haven't ran on the road in a while. I've done a lot of treadmill running, but the satisfaction just doesn't feel the same. Yesterday I finally had the chance to get outside and get a few miles in. It was a nice, slow but steady run. It was a nice change of pace from alternating speeds on the treadmill, and it was nice to get some fresh air before the cold weather actually settles in. (Is that such a thing in Virginia?)

With all the life-changing happenings this week, it's been nice to continue working out. It hasn't been all that much, but something is better than nothing. I've helped balance out not working out as much by having a salad for four of my meals this week. I've realized quickly how important it is to make sure that I'm taking care of myself as I worry about a new life here. And as you can see, this little guy has already stolen one of my running visors!

The future runner is here

As I said the other day, I won't set any goals for November since I had a baby on the way. Well, the little guy had other plans than being a Thanksgiving baby. He wanted to be a Election Eve baby. Conner James came into the world at 6 pounds 10 ounces and 19 inches long. Since this is a running blog, I thought I'd share his impressive footprints for such a little guy. Mom and baby are doing great so far and got to come home a few hours ago.

As for my November goals, it seems things may work out for the 8k in a couple of weeks, and I'll be able to do a Turkey Trot. I'm determined to stay on some kind of schedule. I even hit the gym last night for a quick workout and got in 7.5 miles on the bike. It was a nice break from the whirlwind, but great past few days.

Au revoir October

After the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in August, I was ready to just give up on running ... hell, I was ready to not do anything for a while. I documented it pretty well that I was taking September as a rest month. In the end I did a little bit here and there and finished with 24.8 running miles, 20.8 walking miles and 19.9 miles on the bike. When October got here though, I said enough is enough, and I ended up having one of the best-feeling months I've had in a long time.

Joining Gold's Gym has turned things around for me. In just a few short weeks I have figured out how to keep going without running, although running is still very important to me. In October, I still ran 53.6 miles, the fifth most this year. I walked 36.3 miles, the second most this year. And thanks to the exercise bike, I hit 49.1 biking miles. That bike is really giving me a burning sensation in my legs that I haven't felt in a long time. I also put in 6.7 miles on the elliptical machine. It's worth noting too, that I ran my first 5k in more than a year.

All told, I had 145.7 miles of exercising for the month, just shy of what I did in August (107.4 running miles, 32.8 walking and 8.2 on the bike). As I mentioned the other day, I passed 1,000 exercising miles for the year. As I head into the final two months of the year, I'm at 1,012.4 miles (not counting today) -- 576 running; 255.7 walking; 174 biking; and 6.7 on the elliptical.

Today, for the second Saturday in a row, I did a run-bike-run workout doing 2.1-5-1.1 Just like last week, the transition from the bike to running felt weird, but it didn't seem to last long. This week I have done three run-bike workouts, and I'm feeling pretty comfortable with that transition. It's the second transition that I need to start working on.

As November begins, I am not setting goals -- I do have a baby on the way you know. I'm still hoping to do the Ntelos 8k in a couple of weeks, but the commitment has to wait. I'll do as much as I can when I have the time to do it.