Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Addicted to Running

Due to weather and some knee pain, I have only been able to run 2 days in the past 8 day.  It is hard.  I missed it.  Some nights, my mood would change because I wouldn’t be able to go out.  I would get a little cranky.

Last Night the rain broke.  As soon as the kids were asleep, I busted out of the house.  I was so excited, I forget my gloves and ear warmers I use to keep warm.  I didn’t care, I was free.  It felt so good. I just felt the air and my legs do the rest.  We are having a warm spell the next few days, so I will take advantage and get out there each day.  Since I started Running Without A Watch, Running is something I want to do, not something I have to do.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


My wife asked me the other day, if I am becoming obsessed with running again.  I have gone through phases before where I could not miss a run and if I did, I would be kicking myself for not going.  A lot of this had to do with justifying my unhealthy eating for the day or I wasn’t able to go because I did not feel good do to unhealthy eating.

She asked me this question, because I was trying to plan a work outing after work this week since I was not running.  I am taking a few days off to rest my knee.  Or I would make comments like “Since I am not running tonight…”

I explained to her that this time it is different.  When I can’t go running, I miss it.  Since I am running without a watch, the pressure is all gone on my runs.  I run the three F’s, Freer, Faster and Farther that I could before. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cold Weather Gear

Running in the cold can be brutal if you do not have the right gear.  Without a doubt, I am a warm weather runner.  From the first cold days of November until the final cold days of March, I simply cannot wait until spring and summer arrive.  However, I have discovered a few pieces of essential running gear to make my winter runs more enjoyable.

1.       Running Gloves-- These are thin enough to hold my water bottle in my hand without dropping it but warm enough to keep the chill off of me when it is windy. 
2.       Ear Warmers--These are must.  Not only do they keep my ears warm, but they also keep my hat from flying off in the wind.
3.       Hat--Wearing a hat helps to keep my head warm.
4.       Undershirt--I wear a Champion brand thermal undershirt that also helps to protect
me against the chill of the wind. 
5.       Pants-- If it gets cold enough, I wear pants.   Although the pants seem to slow me down a bit, I figure that it’s better to get out there in the cold than to sit at home and complain about the cold weather!
6.       Sunglasses-- I love my Oakley 5’s.  These things wrap around, keeping the sun, the wind, and the rain/snow out of my eyes.  The only time I don’t wear my sunglasses is at night.  If only I could find a clear pair to wear at night…Oakley are you listening?
7.       Water Bottle --I use this easy to hold water bottle.  I fill up the bottle and place it in the fridge the night before.  Even though it is cold out, the cold water still feels so good.

If there is anything that you use to make your cold weather runs more enjoyable, please let me know!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

On your mark... get set.... GO!

As I have mentioned before, I am getting ready to run my very first race.  The Jerusalem marathon, half marathon and 10k takes place in just two months.  I am almost 100% positive that I will run the 10k, although I had briefly considered training for the half marathon.  My father ran a half marathon a few years ago, and he told me that according to his training program, it is critical to extend my runs to 14 or 15 miles a few weeks before the date of the race.  After some careful consideration, I felt that committing to that sort of training program would put too much pressure on me.  The best part of “Running without a Watch” is the freedom it gives me.  I like not knowing exactly how far I’m going to run when I hit the pavement.  So, I decided it was best to start of small and keep things simple with the 10k, a distance I have already run as part of my regular exercising.   
Without any pressures on speed and distance, I can really focus my energy on enjoying the sights and sounds of Jerusalem.  For me, this race is an amazing opportunity to run in the streets of the city that I travel to every day for work; streets that are normally clogged up with cars, buses and the loud sounds of traffic.  Seeing these streets filled with runners of all kinds is definitely not an opportunity to pass up.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In the Long Run

It always feels good when the scale reflects what you feel inside.  This morning, the scale said 155.5lbs, the lowest since December 25th, and 4.5lbs lower than January 1st.  I figured it would take about two weeks for me to lose some of my holiday weight, and I was right!    

Two days ago I ran an exhilarating 7.0 miles.  I knew I wouldn’t be running the next night because my wife had an appointment, so I figured it was a good day to extend my run.  Unfortunately, late last night I started feeling a pain in my knee.  This was about 24 hours since I finished my last run. 

One of the key components to “Running Without a Watch” is listening to your body during a run, as well as after a run.  This means that when I feel a pain somewhere in my knee, back or legs, you can be sure that I will take time off to recover.  About a month or two ago, I took five days off following some knee pain and felt zero effect on my fitness, speed, or health.  This was a great learning experience for me, and I plan to do the same with this current knee pain.  It is likely that I won’t run for at least 2-3 days, as I like to wait until there is no discomfort for at least 24 hours.  

Now let me be clear.  Just because I know this is the smart thing to do, does not mean that it is easy for me.  In fact, it is incredibly difficult.  Running is like breathing for me; it is the time that I reflect on the day and prepare myself for what is to come.  

But I will cope, as I have done before and focus on using this extra time to spend with my wife, taking care of odds and ends around the house, and preparing foods to munch on during the next couple of days.  I know it is all worth it in the long run…PUN intended! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Running is Like a Box of Chocolates

Do you ever feel like Forest Gump when you go out for a run?  I recently felt like that scene in the movie when he took off running and just kept going and going.  Twelve days ago I ran an invigorating 8.1 miles.  The following night I ran 7.0 miles.  Wow!  At the end of each run, I felt like I could have kept going.  If it wasn’t for the worry that I would aggravate an old knee injury,   I may have pushed it to 10 miles.

Running without a watch and without music gives my body a chance to get into a natural rhythm without any external influences.  After about 6 miles, I still felt fresh and wasn’t the least bit winded.  With my legs feeling strong, I just listened to my body and enjoyed myself.

Another thing that helps me is varying routes that I run.  I have no pressure to complete a certain mileage.  I extend it, if I feel up to it.  How do I that?  With the help of Google maps, I have discovered how to connect different running routes with each other.  I can add or subtract miles safely without putting myself in a situation of being too far away from home and needing to stop.  By developing these interconnecting loops, my runs can range anywhere from 3.0 miles to 7.0 miles or more, depending on how I am feeling in the moment.  It is so refreshing to go out for a run, not knowing exactly where my feet will take me!