Category Archives: exercise


27845836173_100102d4b2_zPiseco Lake…in the south west corner of the Adirondacks is a place where time stands still, where technology doesn’t matter, where face time means in-person, where base-camp overlooks one end of Piseco Lake, and dozens of mountains, and you never get tired of staring at the view….

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The warmup

Signs of an aging runner…


Doris drove the oversized van —  a rehabbed ambulance — into the lot designated for runners taking four parking spaces while Lois tended to other matters.  Outside, runners no older than 40 congregated, wearing singlets and shorts in 45-degree weather, not growing goosebumps, waiting for the half marathon to start. Inside the van, the temperature a balmy 78.

Sporting an age category far right of the runners bell curve, Lois and Doris broke a sweat with two layers of pants and a full contingent of long sleeve shirts, Goretex vest, and a winter jacket.  Behind the driver’s seat a long hallway  – presumed once used for stretchers – flanked a private bathroom, a closet with two fold out chairs, a coffee station and a large sofa covered with knee braces, ankle supports, bandages and four pairs of running shoes.
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The Code

25870657461_8490430f96_zAs their AmTrak train arrived in New York City, the screeching sounds of brakes grinding to a stop gave way to a sense that something special was about to unfold.  Doris and Lois, dragged their carefully packed bags, backpacks actually, that were only easy to carry during the departure from Baltimore.  Somehow, during the train ride these bags transformed into cement blocks, becoming heavier and wider, and any plans to walk the distance from mid-town to Battery Park seemed less likely.  It was New York City at 9AM and the hum of the city, the tall buildings that on some blocks shut down the sky, had that unique smell of humanity that the shop owners did their best to hose back onto the streets, for a city that claimed to never sleep.

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Day 14 of the Holiday Challenge: Aqua Fartleks

Outdoor running zones

For today’s thought challenge — Can an aqua running workout yield the same cardio intensity as running outdoors on pavement?  Today I would put this question to the test with some measure of objectivity.

To clarify – aqua running workouts are invigorating – but they still land short of the real deal.  When running outdoors, my RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) feels lower at the start, and much higher toward the end.   And when I load all that good data from my Garmin – my RPE is generally spot on.

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Day 13 of the Holiday Challenge: 13.1 mile mental test

My running volume has considerably diminished from marathon levels – less than 2 months ago.  Since the NYC Marathon on November 2, my longest run was one half marathon (13.1 miles) on November 23.     Since then….even less.   And while I’ve enjoyed changing up my routine – especially with my thought rut challenge – I signed up to run a virtual half marathon.   The Polar Bear Run —  a 13.1 mile charity fundraiser run that I could do anytime and anyplace  between Christmas and New Years.

The funny thing about running, is the less distance you run – the more your mind is convinced that anything longer is a really big deal.   In the last month – my long runs have peaked at 9 miles.  Despite the fact that I was running a 1/2 marathon+more each week for 5 months,  I’m not entirely convinced now that I can run 13.1 miles.  Continue reading Day 13 of the Holiday Challenge: 13.1 mile mental test

Day 10-11 of the Holiday Challenge: Lopsided legs

Day 10 of my thought rut challenge fell on Christmas Day.  Initially I had planned to run a half marathon – a virtual run for charity.  This would be a new adventure – running 13.1 miles on Christmas Day.  Never have I done that.  However, the gift and food coma thing took over earlier that I anticipated – so I allowed myself to take off an entire day from exercise.  Mostly.  Squeaked in a little 2 mile walk.  And followed that by way too much food consumption.  It is what it is.

Day 11 of my thought challenge had me curious about a recent injury to my left hamstring.  It occurred at the end of a tempo run.  I was lucky.  It wasn’t a debilitating injury – but more of a wake up call.  A wake up that I needed to be spending more time strengthening and stretching before and after I run.  A wake up call that I took seriously.   I do not want to be sidelined from running.  Period. Continue reading Day 10-11 of the Holiday Challenge: Lopsided legs

Day 8 of the Holiday Challenge: Balance

balanceIt’s day #8 of challenging my thought ruts – and I wasn’t quite sure what would appear.  With a day of slow steady rains – the notion of visiting the indoor public pool suddenly sounded appealing.  Somewhere in the midst of 5 months of marathon training – I lost all sense of exercise balance.  The kind of balance that changes up your routine.  The kind of balance that has you wearing out one part of your body – while the rest goes on vacation.  The kind of balance where you wonder if you have forgotten how to return – to homeostasis.  The kind of balance where the preferred exercise of choice is running above all else.

Today I opted to rediscover balance.  Just a little.  To see how it felt.  To try it on, wear it around and see if I liked the fit.  To see if balance is all that necessary.  And, to see if I even remembered how to swim. Continue reading Day 8 of the Holiday Challenge: Balance

Day 7 of the Holiday Challenge: Bagging the warmup

I enjoy running so much, that it is easy to skimp on the formalities.   You know, the stretching.  The strength exercises.  The core work.  Those annoying formalities that get in the way of just running out the door.

Despite my zest to just ‘up-n-run’, the hardest part of the daily workout is often motivating myself to do the warmup.   More than just 1 or 2 thirty second stretches.  Or, not getting all twisted up in my TRX ropes and calling that my warmup.  Continue reading Day 7 of the Holiday Challenge: Bagging the warmup

Day 6 of the Holiday Challenge: Veering off the beaten path

tundrabiking02It’s Day 6 of challenging my beliefs, my comfort zone, and the prevailing winds of my thoughts.  I’ve been a ‘regular’ at the BWI Trail in Hanover, MD for more years that I care to admit.  It’s just a great trail.  Not too crowded, and mostly filled with happy endorphin-crazed people.  It’s paved – making it perfect for running, skating, bicycling, walking, and riding an elliptigo…  Week after week, bouncing from one sport to the next –  rinse wash repeat on the BWI trail.  10.5 miles of trail encircles the Baltimore Washington International Airport.  And, if that’s not enough when you’ve got some miles to crunch – then continue on the connector trial that will take you to the B&A (Baltimore & Annapolis) trail – part 2.  2 miles of connector plus 13 miles on the B&A gives you a round trip of just over 40 miles of exercise bliss.  All without interference from vehicular traffic – except for a few pesky intersections.

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Day 5 of the Holiday Challenge: Breaking the route rut

Today’s adventure was breaking through a running route rut.  A rut of running the same 1-of-5 courses, the same route, the same general area, or the same roads or anything that has the bottom-line sensation of ‘same-o’.

2014_12annapolis01It’s the weekend – so my running adventure is joined by my partner in crime – Jill.   Apparently Jill forgot it is “winter” and we had to rendezvous for the Annapolis run (a  different city from our regular runs) by 6:30AM – meaning the alarm goes off at 4AM – and breakfast is inhaled by 5:30AM.  Sigh.  Sleeping fully will occur another day.

Continue reading Day 5 of the Holiday Challenge: Breaking the route rut