running

Catching Dawn

Finally I managed to catch the sunrise at my favourite spot. I didn’t catch dawn … I need to do that on a medium run day!

Since I run 6 days per week  and really slow, I notice a lot of things. Things like how the tide influences my running and when I can beat it, as today. Tide was low which leads to beautiful soft sandy spots.

One of the things I know will keep me running is the joy of it. Sometimes those are awkward things … like “running in circles” or “hills“, but usually it’s enough to head to the beach. During winter it was easier to catch dawn and run into the sunrise obviously …

So when would I have to get up to have the full experience? At 4:31!!!

Sunrise

05:17

Dawn starts at

04:31

Duration Dawn

17:42

I left the house at 4:38 if I can believe my Garmin which I don’t even remember putting around my wrist. Luckily it had just started and I arrived at the right time. I prefer “the sun behind the clouds rising action”  over “pink fluffy happy dreamy no action”.

Yeah … one gets a bit picky about the perfect sunrise … so here are the photos:

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running

On being slow

Yesterday, Julie aka Mawil asked me a couple of interesting questions on a post from January. It made me reflect the following during my 80 minute run today: “How would I feel if I found out/find out that I will not get faster” and “Am I getting faster”?

The second one is easy to answer, yet I don’t have a fully qualified response. The easy answer is: Yes – I am getting faster and here is the “proof”:

Similar runs on the beach – the one from today – and ~ 1 month apart similar run, same area, same sand/surface, same average heartrate.

2016-04-25 9:59 min/km 144 bpm
2016-05-19 9:31 min/km 144 bpm

I also feel faster/fitter. I can run for 2 hours consistently without walking breaks, I run now between 6 and 7 hours per week. Over the past year I had 3 breaks: One due to a none-running related injury, one flu and one stiff neck. For all 3 I had to stop running and the cool thing is, that afterwards I didn’t succumb to the sloth and got back into it. After each run I feel good, relaxed and have tons of energy to get my work done.

But then it isn’t as simple and that is where the interesting questions start to come up. Questions I’ve had in the past and they are quite similar to questions I have in my business:

  • What are the long-term and short-term goals (6 months, 3-5 years …)
  • How do I measure performance?
  • How can I make sure I enjoy it and it has a future?

So … what has the questions “am I getting faster” to do with all this? Speed is a performance metric, but it is just one of them! There are a lot of others and this is what I am interested in right now. What are the others? Speed is only relevant in relation to duration. Everyone that does a bit of running knows that it is a whole different thing to run for 20 seconds vs 10 km. So next to the pace I can run at for a defined heartrate, we also have to take into consideration how long I run it for and how it changes during the course of the run. We also have to include hills/beach/trail etc surface and wind into the equation. Oh and let’s not forget fatigue and form … It is a whole different situation if I take a rest day in the middle of the week and then run fully rested. I will be faster then.

Confused? So was I and still am … however I love to read and been digging through a lot of research/books on the topic and think I will be soon able to try an “analysis” of all the data I have collected over the past year. I also hope to achieve one “simple” thing. Create KPIs (Key performance indicators) for my running that are updated automatically, so I don’t have to obsess all the time, but still am in full control and able to learn more about me and my running.

Oh … and to answer the first question: “How would I feel if I found out/find out that I will not get faster?”

I still would feel amazing and proud of what I have achieved. I’ve not only lost tons of fat (17kg since I started last May to be exact), I also went from couch potato to running 6 times a week. My resting heartrate decreased, my blood pressure went into the normal range. I am now fully plant-powered and learned to cook the most delicious things from scratch on the way. Oh and not to forget I made the most amazing memories and can’t wait to continue doing so – even if I don’t get faster, the sun will still rise each morning:

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running

Mighty fine

I did 1 hour at 139 heartrate. Spot on! I think staying witin a certain range 139 to 144 for me is easier that hitting one specific rate.

I feel I’ve gotten faster as well, but how could I proof that without accurate data … can’t compare one day of pebble hopping with another. Maybe time to hit the park again soon as the tide is getting higher again …

running

Get up and run!

I woke up today and wanted to get on top of a hill … I know running does crazy things to you.

Fortunately for me a hill is just around the corner. I didn’t even wait for sunrise and just headed to the beach.

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Today wasn’t a double sock day, but the wind was making a bit of a wave. Nothing like the gale force stuff I had got used to over the winter so happy times! You can see the hill and the obelisk on top. Getting there does involve  a bit of climbing.

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Now if the hike didn’t kill your breath the views will – sun is optional!

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You can see Dublin waking up in the distance.

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Check out the beach below where I started. Looks like the tide is still out so more playtime!

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And that’s what I did, inventing some sort of new  slow running reverse hill training. While I couldn’t discipline myself enough to hike up steep hilly parts at a low heartrate I kept it down while running. I was surprised how much of it I could actually run and what joy it was! Checkout the pics … only a runner can understand how those surfaces bring happiness to feet!

I ended up climbing up another hill and snag a pic while the heartrate cooled down.

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All in all a perfect experience that ended with me falling into a bowl of baba ganoush I had from yesterday.

 

running

… and then something amazing happened

Today I had this moment of doubt … this tiny voice trying to convince me to drink another coffee before heading out for a run … but we all know how this would have ended. So I did the best to ignore that voice by putting on my running layers and it worked. Somehow I found myself out the door and as I spotted the rays of light breaking through I couldn’t wait to hit the beach. After warmup and taking in the sunrise I started my run.

And then something amazing happened!

My app had lost the connection to my heartrate monitor!!!

All I can say to my defense is that I had the most amazing time ‘flying down the beach’ and if there is no proof it didn’t happen right?

Now let’s quickly distract ourselves with some more photos:

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Can you spot our friend spreading it’s wings?

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running

Here’s a treat!

I was being treated again with a beautiful sunrise. Temperatures around -3 couldn’t stop the birds spreading their wings and bathing in the sun, nor me doing a slow 30 minutes. The double/double sock strategy is working a treat and I get away with 10 minutes warmup walking  and no heartrate spikes.

This is a perfect week: the tide is perfect, no rain or wind and my heartrate is getting used to staying in or below the 140s.

Life is good, it’s just a matter of wearing the right amount of layers!

Also, someone seems to have called backup:

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