I ran to two extremes this week. During the work week I felt slow, with leaden legs dragging me down. This weekend I decided to combine two days of running into one. The decision was partly to address my fatigued legs, and partly because of a hankering for a truly long run.
I ran for 4 hours today and it was glorious. The weather did me a favor and gave me a starting temperature in the 60s and and ending temperature in the low 80s. You can’t ask for much better than that in early September in Austin. I followed up the run with a proper ice bath consisting of about 40 pounds of ice and some cold water. It was painful at first but my legs feel great now. We’ll see if it helps stave off the DOMS any more than a “typical” ice bath, where I’m just using what’s in our freezer.
Here’s what my week of running looked like:
- Monday: No run and 8,301 steps total.
- Tuesday: 32-minute run after work in the neighborhood. I ran too fast but couldn’t seem to keep my pace down.
- Wednesday: 34-minute run on Town Lake after work. I ran a bit too fast again and it felt rough the entire time.
- Thursday: 31-minute run on Town Lake in the rain after work. The rain was great.
- Friday: No run and 5,034 steps total.
- Saturday: No run and 6,004 steps total.
- Sunday: 240-minute run on Town Lake. I felt like I could have run another couple of hours, but that might have just been my desire talking instead of reality.
- Total active time of 337 minutes with an average heart rate of 143.5 beats per minute. Total steps this week: ~97,000
I dropped back into the swing of things this week and it was glorious. There’s nothing better than the steady state of bliss I feel when I’ve run on a regular schedule.
Here’s what my week of running looked like:
- Monday: No run and 5,449 steps total.
- Tuesday: 30-minute run in the morning with the dogs in the neighborhood. It was fun!
- Wednesday: 32-minute run in the morning with the dogs in the neighborhood. More fun!
- Thursday: No run and 4,312 steps total. I was going to run today but I stepped off a curb and tweaked my ankle on my run with the dogs the day before. I decided not to push it.
- Friday: No run and 4,919 steps total.
- Saturday: 125-minute run split across two activities, the first with Travis on Town Lake and the second with Mac the Border Collie at McKinney Falls State Park. He did great and I really enjoyed running with him on the trails.
- Sunday: 120-minute run on Town Lake in the morning. This run felt good and it seemed like I could have gone about double the time without tiring myself out. That’s the best way to injury, however, so I stuck to the schedule.
- Total active time of 307 minutes with an average heart rate of 142 beats per minute. Total steps this week: ~90,000.
So it looks like it’s actually Series-Of-Snapshots-With-Sound Saturday on the blog.
My week of running was another weird one, but not because of any kind of physical issues. I took a very quick business trip to San Francisco on Thursday/Friday, and I neglected to plan properly for my running. As a result I ended up doing more of an “off” week.
I’m going to edit down my time a bit for next week to account for not increasing my time too quickly. My legs are feeling quite strong, so I think it’s just a matter of ramping up correctly.
Here’s what my week of running looked like:
- Monday: No run and 5,672 steps total
- Tuesday: No run and 9,999 steps total
- Wednesday: 35-minute run on Town Lake after work
- Thursday: No run and 10,188 steps total
- Friday: No run and 8,775 steps total
- Saturday: No run and 12,260 steps total
- Sunday: I ran twice today, once with Travis on Town Lake for 51 minutes and once with the dogs in the neighborhood for 33 minutes. The dogs did mostly OK, but Mac is definitely the more enthusiastic running partner of the two. I just need to work with him on not trying to go play with other dogs when he sees them.
- Total active time of 119 minutes with an average heart rate of 139 beats per minute. Total steps this week: ~73,000
One mile was an eternity. The next six were a flash. The trance became all encompassing and faded away. A dog chased the shadow and snapped at the point where the penumbra connected to the foot. The canine parasite held on until the pace slowed enough to set off the end of the world. The white lines on the road shimmied out of place and twisted into serpents slithering on the path. They made their way back to the center when no one was looking.
Heart beats matched the steps until the cadence caused bits and bytes to break off in the thousands. Then millions. Breath came in, left, sped up and down. Feet touched the ground and left imprints in the asphalt. Weightlessness followed (caused) by the screaming mouth. Words that became ideas and letterforms. Then nothing. Pain from too many steps. Not enough steps to keep the pain at bay. The road ate its tail and spat it out again.
The sun dipped under the horizon. It came back when the eyelids opened. Hot heat trampled thoughts into piles of pulp left over from deforestation. The trail of vomit spanned two miles, a line of breadcrumbs pointing the way to the ambulatory machine. Sun disappearance ahead. Do not pass. Speed limit number.
Don’t count steps. Only 30 steps to the next light pole. Think stop. Don’t believe talking bird. Fowl knows foul knowledge. Camie escapes machine if nomadic mechanism completes purpose. More steps. Breathing one two three and four. One two three and four. Four steps per line. Feet. Miles. Don’t forget to think. Don’t slow. Don’t slow. Not slow.
Sun gone. No light. Brightness lanced through brain going up the hill. Unidentified flying something glowing in the distance. Human eternity. Actual eternity. Atomic clock explosion; perfect timing for destruction. Ambiguous dreaming with patterns. Lucid dreams breaking patterns. More light.
Jeff came back into the world slowly, with the sun rising to the east. He looked ahead and saw Camie’s family ranch in the distance.
The mugger stepped into the road and barreled toward the runner.
See you next Tuesday for more!
It was an interesting week of running. I didn’t get to run as much during the week, which is OK. I also didn’t get to run as much this weekend, mostly because of a blowup on today’s run. I was having major stomach issues that cut my run in half.
I still got out for a 2-hour run yesterday, however, which was great. I’m not exactly sure what caused my issues on the run this morning, but I suspect it has something to do with what I ate yesterday. I feel good otherwise, so I’ll be back at it next week.
Here’s what my week of running looked like:
- Monday: No run and 3,312 steps total
- Tuesday: 30-minute run in the neighborhood before work. I tried and early morning run and it went OK.
- Wednesday: No run and 3,860 steps total
- Thursday: 31-minute run after work in the neighborhood. I also forgot my Fitbit at home so I have a low step count this day.
- Friday: No run and 5,325 steps total
- Saturday: 120-minute run on Town Lake in the morning. I got out pretty late so by the time I finished it was quite warm.
- Sunday: 60-minute run partly on Town Lake and partly in the neighborhood. I had to come back from Town Lake because of the stomach issues, then I tried to go out again in the neighborhood mostly unsuccessfully. Just not my day I guess!
- Total active time of 241 minutes with an average heart rate of 139 beats per minute. Total steps this week: ~72,000
Jeff swam up to the surface slowly. He pushed away the trash and waste but couldn’t open up a pocket of air in front of his face. He kicked and jackknifed upwards, his eyes bursting open as he crested the wave of consciousness.
It was an unfamiliar room. The sickly yellow surroundings set his heart beating at a clip more suited to exercise. He looked to the corners of the room where the alien runic scrawls and splashes of color slowly resolved into the more recognizable graffiti of a 20th century variety. One graffito stood out from the rest, a moth with a death’s head inscribed across the thorax and wings. Jeff looked away and attempted to stand as he remembered the evil that had brought him to this place. He was strapped to the chair tightly enough to render any escape attempts unsuccessful. He strained against the bonds anyway.
“Ever the optimist,” a voice said from his left. “You’ll not find a way out of those knots on this side of life.”
The only light in the room was coming from the direction of the voice. Two pinpoints of light floated in the air above a gesticulating slit. Jeff saw it was a mouth. The glow was coming from the place where eyes should have been. The light slowly enveloped him as the unnatural thing came closer.
“Would you prefer the lamplight? You must forgive me, my rudeness is only caused by my forgetful nature. I can never remember how easily your minds turn to mush.”
Jeff didn’t respond. The thing must have taken his reticence for a yes because the room flared alight with the flickering glimmer of a Coleman camping lantern. The mugger sat in the chair across from Jeff. The light in its eyes faded, whether by choice or by nature of the losing battle with the new light source, it wasn’t clear.
“We never should have seen each other twice Jeffrey,” he said. “You’re the last human on a very short list of those who have lived long enough to look into my eyes more than once.”
“Why isn’t my world exploding into a million billion shards right now?” Jeff said. “This is the longest I’ve been still in hours.”
“We’ll get to that. First we have stories to tell and decisions to make. Would you care to join me for a walk? I always think better on my feet.”
Jeff sensed an evil strategy at play, but couldn’t resist the chance to make his future escape more plausible. Whatever was going on in this abandoned building was sure to have long-lasting implications, perhaps even for the rest of his life.
“I suppose I could walk. It can’t hurt after all the running you’ve already put me through.”
“Now that’s a fine way of looking at it, Jeff, my friend. You may not find it surprising that you brought all today’s running upon yourself. It seems as though you’ve been allowing that compulsion to direct your life for a while now. We both know that’s not the cause of your problems today.”
“Oh yeah? What did I do to deserve this then?” Jeff said.
“Such an apt pupil today! That is exactly what we shall discuss, just as soon as you’ve stood up for our walk.”
Jeff looked down just quickly enough to see a string of what looked to be dots and dashes uncurling itself away from his body. He tested his legs and found that standing was no problem, which was yet another impossibility for the absurd day. It was unlikely that the rest of his problems would slither away like some digital python dancing to the will of its charming owner.
The mugger was sliding his way toward the door. The accumulated detritus parted in his wake, tumbling away and putting off crunchy dust clouds of poison pollen. Jeff caused no such disturbance as he gingerly toed his way amongst the leavings of past tenants and squatters, his running shoes trampling out footsteps that slowly sprang back to their original shape as he moved away.
“You took your life in your hands the first time we met,” the mugger said. “You couldn’t have known it then, but you were twirling your fingers in the bits and bytes of a very particular program that was not meant for trifling.”
Jeff couldn’t understand how the evil in front of him could be speaking of programs and bits, as if it wasn’t a demon from another era. The torch eyes and seemingly telekinetic powers gave it away as an ancient evil right away. How did an anachronistic knave with murderous intent come to speak of modernity — as if it understood the pains of the now? The operative of such crass and beastly undertakings as muggings and murder could not possibly discern the hidden afflictions of modern man.
“Program? I don’t understand,” Jeff said.
“We’ve already established your status as an adroit observer, Jeff. There’s no point in denying it.”
Jeff decided that silence was the mostly likely path to redemption, and put his new hypothesis to the test.
“You must understand you’re part of the system,” it said. "There was once a time when fate was more malleable. A whisper here, some sacrifice there, or even the slow assimilation of a sharp mind to a new alternate universe of madness — those things might have saved you then. The foibles of the wicked once allowed for the occasional righteous fellow to make it out alive.
Unfortunately that’s not the case today. Your number is up, and the system won’t let me rest until I’ve put it right. And I need my rest."
Jeff eyed the lay of the land over his shoulder, disguising his reconnaissance with a snort and a shoulder to a nonexistent runny nose. What he saw wasn’t encouraging, but if he could keep the garrulous thing talking he might have a chance.
"You were supposed to die that night. It was all worked out, down to the exact geometry and dimensions of the bloodstain under your lifeless body. The system chose the method and scenario, a task I would have undertaken in millenniums past. And unlike the style to which I became accustomed, the system allows for nothing to be out of place. Nothing.
So we find ourselves here, you with a decision to make about whether I’ll find satiation in sleep by way of your decision about how to live or die."
“It doesn’t seem like I have much of a choice, according to this system of yours,” Jeff said. “Why should I consider any alternative when you’ve already told me I can expect nothing more than death?”
“Ah, but you’ve introduced an infection to the system. It will work itself out, and by your choice alone. I might have had a say in the past. The days of collecting perceived kindnesses to exploit at a later time are gone. The system has already plotted the paths. You must choose.”
Jeff was having trouble following the cryptic declarations of the evil thing, and especially so because nearly all his attention was elsewhere. They had made a lap and a half of the towering space before he saw the crack of shimmering dust that must signal the door where he had entered the building. If he could make it to the point of egress there was a chance the path to freedom would be unlocked.
“The time for us to enter an accord is upon us,” the mugger said. “As the system is wont to do, you’ll have two choices. You can die alone in the company of your family, or you can die alone here while your family perishes along with you.”
Jeff barely had time to consider the specious contradiction in terms before he exploded into action. He was at the perigee of the orbit around the exit and he intended to take the shortest path through it. He burst out of reach of the mugger and slammed through the door into the light of day. His head was afire while the skin on his legs sloughed off like molten lava dripping off the side terminal side of a volcano.
“You’ve made your choice, whether you know it or not!” the mugger yelled after him.
Jeff pumped his arms and added on speed, despite the rapid destruction eating away at his body. Like before, the pain stopped when he was up to speed. Unlike before, he now knew his affliction had nothing to do with his mind.
Now if he only knew how to keep his family alive.
See you next Tuesday for more! Update: Read part 5 here
This week I really took the “off” part of “off week” to heart. I only ran one day, and didn’t get in much cross training. It felt good to take it easy after a big week last week, and I’m excited to get back into it.
Most importantly, I’m happy to report that I have no sign of any kind of injury. This is good because my entire running strategy is built upon the goal of keeping myself healthy enough to run regularly. Yay for plans working out.
Here’s what my week of non-running (or doing much of anything) looked like:
- Monday: No run and 4,290 steps total
- Tuesday: No run and 5,828 steps total
- Wednesday: No run and 6,113 steps total
- Thursday: No run and 6,337 steps total
- Friday: No run and 6,544 steps total
- Saturday: 60-minute run in the neighborhood in the morning. It felt good to be back out there, and I was tempted to run for another hour or two.
- Sunday: 86-minute hike at McKinney Falls State Park with Cassandra and the dogs. We got to the park by 8:15 and hiked the Homestead trail. We also took the Flint Rock loop. It was a great day for hiking and the pups enjoyed it.
- Total active time of 146 minutes with an average heart rate of 130 beats per minute. Total steps this week: ~58,000.
This week was another one where I added 10% more time to my weekly total, which was fun. I ended up only running twice during the week on Wednesday and Thursday, so my long run was extra long. I really enjoyed the 2 hours and 42 minutes I was out there running for that long one!
Here’s what my week of running looked like:
- Monday: No run
- Tuesday: No run
- Wednesday: 40-minute run on Town Lake after work
- Thursday: 42-minute run in the neighborhood after work
- Friday: No run
- Saturday: 62-minute run in the neighborhood in the morning. I found a new route that takes me off the more highly trafficked roads I had been running on, so that’s nice. I still prefer to run on something other than concrete or asphalt when possible. It’s nice to have a decent route right out my front door though.
- Sunday: 162-minute run on Town Lake in the morning. I made it to Town Lake and started running by 7:45, so the heat wasn’t too bad by the end of the run. I miscalculated how much food to bring with me, so I ended up running the last 30 or 40 minutes with a hungry stomach and a slightly fuzzy head. Despite the caloric deficit I still had a great run. I felt like I was in a flow state for about an hour across the entire run. That’s the main reason I love running long so much, when I feel like I’m in the zone and everything is just effortless. I’m definitely looking forward to ramping up the time for long runs on the weekends as I continue training.
- Total run time of 308 minutes with an average heart rate of 143.75 BPM
Next week will be a slow and/or cross training week for me. See you on the trails!