Saturday, December 31, 2022

Year-End Report

In terms of my running routine, this year ends on an unusual note.  I had planned to do my long run today so I could take a break tomorrow, but ended up running it yesterday afternoon.  I rarely run on Fridays.  I can't remember the last time I ran after lunch.  This morning, I proceeded with my usual short run, but as a track workout...without any plan to run on New Year's Day.

If you recall, I completed last year with a personal record in terms of total mileage, so my goal for this year was to work on pace.  I pretty much failed to do this.  This morning's track workout was one of only a few I attempted to do in 2022.  I took a page out of Vic's book and did a mile challenge.  I did it in 7:04... nowhere close to a PR.  In past years, I strived to break the six minute mile barrier...not seven. In some ways, I'm happier I managed a 7:39 during the seventh mile of Friday's eight miler. That said, I'm still considering this a win because very few of my miles this year have been under eight.  

My annual average pace slowed back into the mid-tens (10:29/mile to be specific) after being just under ten in 2021.

About the only goal I successfully hit was running fewer miles...cracking 1,200 with yesterday's run and finishing with just over 1,206.  So what exactly went wrong?

Well, I lost roughly ten weeks of training due to travel, injury, and illness.

I spent much of February traveling in Tanzania and first trip since the pandemic began, first time my wife and I visited Africa, our first genuine safari, a pandemic deferred 25th anniversary celebration combined with my milestone birthday...a bucket list item boldly checked.  There is really no way to run while staying in safari camps, so I didn't even bother to pack running gear (plus bush flights have significant luggage weight limits and much of my allotment was reserved for camera equipment and batteries)...but we did a bit of hiking (which included mountain gorilla and golden monkey trekking).

I am nearly certain I cracked a rib in a freak non-running accident in April.  The injury sidelined me for six weeks. Around the end of May, shortly after I had resumed running, I caught COVID-19.  By the time I finally shook its lingering cough, my pace had significantly slowed and it took awhile to get back on track. I completely lost track of time and didn't realize I hadn't started on a full marathon training schedule until I couldn't possibly complete it within 2022.  And then, just as I was getting comfortable running longer runs, I got sick again...with a fever....just before Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

ASICS Sizing Confusion 2022

When my wife ordered my first pair of ASICS GEL Kayano 26s in 2020, she ordered my usual size 11 shoe...and I didn't discover the size was off until I tried using them at the beginning of 2021.  What added to my confusion is that most of the industry considers U.S. size 11 the equivalent of a 29cm shoe, but ASICS lists their size 11 as 28.5cm.

So she ordered me another pair of Kayano 26, this time in size 11.5.  We just had to get used to the idea my feet would likely need ASICS shoes a half size bigger than what I usually wear.

Three pairs of Kayano 26s and two pairs of 27s later, my wife confronted more sizing confusion when she tried ordering my next pair from ASICS website.  The size guide link next to the Kayano 27s now suggests size 11 is now the equivalent of 29cm, but the Men's size guide elsewhere on the same website still shows size 11 being equal to 28.5cm.  Which is it?  My current pair of 27s are size 11.5, with 29cm printed as the size equivalent on the tongue.  I could see ASICS changing the size alignment on a new generation of shoe (like I discovered the hard way when I attempted to transition from 25 to 26 wearing the same size), but it would be most unusual to offer the same model in different sizes, don't you think?

Meanwhile, I still have that first pair of Kayano 26s...only used for a single six mile run.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Galaxy Buds+

 As I started to cross the street at the beginning of this morning's run, I realized one of my Galaxy Buds+ ear buds felt loose...but, before I could reach up to adjust it, it slid out and started bouncing on the pavement.  This was one of my biggest fears with wireless headphones, but this was the very first time in over a year I've had them that one actually popped out.  And, when I picked it up, I was surprised to discover its shiny white casing was completely unscathed.  I just rinsed it with water from my bottle, dried it with my shirt, placed it back in my ear properly, and continued my run.

I have to say that this latest generation of gear (not just the wireless buds, but my Galaxy S21 and Garmin Fenix 5 as well) have exceeded my expectations in terms of durability, performance, battery life, and ease of wireless connectivity...even after a year of ownership.  Though I initially complained about being somewhat forced to adopt wireless buds, they have worked out far better expected in all respects.  They are certainly less obtrusive than having a wired headset (how quickly I forgot that wired headsets would often get caught on my water bottle as I ran, the buttons on their in-line control would eventually stop working, the connectors would wear out so I'd lose audio in one ear or get muffled audio in both...sometimes corrected by a little jiggle, but not always). I still only need to charge the buds' case once a week (about as often as my Fenix 5).  The wired headset's connector used to put stress on the smartphone's USB port when I carried it in my Spibelt (possibly prematurely weakening the phone's USB connector, causing issues for both charging and data transfer). With wireless buds, I can now completely zip up the phone in my Spibelt...which makes the phone feel quite a bit more compact when I run.  The Galaxy S21's battery life has been so good that I have not once worried about leaving Bluetooth on when I run, even during a marathon (I'd leave cellular enabled if we had better coverage where I usually run).  The phone recognizes the buds almost as soon as I open their charging case, reporting their state of charge and instantly shifting music playback to them.  Connectivity between my phone and Garmin watch is also as easy...with the Fenix 5's Bluetooth enabled, data starts to transfer as soon as I open Garmin Connect on my phone (and my workout shows up in Strava shortly thereafter).  I used to have quite a few annoying issues when I tried to pair my Fenix 2.

Anyway, it's time for work...

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

PSA: Don't Use Equestrian Trails

 Every year I forget how torn up the equestrian trails get during the rainy season.  Last week we had a few consecutive days of rain (rare for the Los Angeles area)...Friday being the first dry day.  I just just assumed that five days would be enough time for the wetness to evaporate, but we have also dealt with unusually cold daytime temperatures.  So there are still many muddy patches on our local equestrian trails (the tunnel under Crenshaw Blvd is still flooded!)

But even the dry patches are no fun to run on right now...the ground is really chewed up.  It's not just uneven, but there are some especially large ditches in the downhill stretches, obviously carved by flowing water.  One wrong step and I could easily trip or twist an ankle.

The hard packed dirt trail on the Palos Verdes Drive North median strip is still in pretty good rarely gets affected by the rain.  That said, this latest storm toppled a tree across the entire median and into another tree, so that trail is currently obstructed.

In other words, I'll run upon roads more than trails for the foreseeable future...

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