A Thousand Miles in His Shoes

One can really never stand in judgment of another person, but if you had to evaluate another person's character be sure to have walked in his shoes.The 1000 mile challenge is not only about walking (or in this case running) in an athletes shoes, but also an opportunity for the challenger to break away from his daily humdrum and take the time to run with his hair in the wind, challenging the elements and being triumphant and hearing his own breathing that speaks of the One that put the breath there, by calling Him by name - YHWH - the name of the living God. (Pronounce the letters representing God's name phonetically and it sounds like heavy breathing. Every breath you breathe is in fact calling to your God.)

This gives time to speak and be Spoken to.

I plan to complete this challenge in the year of 2009 and like much in my life, I am already behind.I would like you - anyone - to join me in this challenge. Write your comments on your daily run and bless me and others with your experiences on the road.

My 1000 Mile Runner's Log

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Photos on my run

Though there is a long trail one could run, I do most of my time on this road.

This river has some of the biggest Steelhead and Salmon one will ever see. There is a waterfall close to my home where the fish have to jump about 6' to 8' high if they are to make it to their upriver breading waters. I often sit on this pinnacle rock that hangs over the river and watch the fish jump clear out of the water within a meter or less from where i would be sitting. If I wanted to, I could take a net and catch huge fish right in the air there. But to see the struggle that these fish go through just to make it up this waterfall is far more rewarding. They often try 4 to 5 times before they make it or perhaps give up to try another day.
These fish have gauges out of their flesh as they struggle up the river, fighting elements and each other for dominance to be the ones to secure the species' survival.
Sometimes I wonder if things wouldn't have been better if man had a similar process of securing a better gene pool.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Garmin 305

I did the research and for the price and functionality, I am virtually convinced that the Garmin 305 will be the answer to great run-tracking. There is a new 405 out, but all the reviews say that when your hands are wet the bezel-adjusting-function doesn't respond well. And since I am such a sweat pig (I only have to think of exercise and I start sweating) I figured it best to stay away from the new and more expensive version.

It has always been my dream to own a Suunto watch, but their reviews were terrible or they were very expensive. The other choice was a Timex, but since the Garmin has a better GPS I went with it.

Imagine this. I run anywhere I want and this watch tells me the speed I am running at, the elevation of my run, way points to my run (so I could repeat the run or find my way back home), and I get to watch my heart rate. When I get back I can plot a graph of my heart rate to distance and elevation and yes the speed at that time.

I believe I could then figure out the correct running style to accomplish the best speeds with the lowest heart rate. I already know that I can continue over long distances with a heart rate around the upper 160's. I would need to now only know how I should adjust my running style to accomplish a higher speed. Obviously the style also depends on whether I am running uphill or downhill. I also need to know with which style I can continue to run for long distances.

The different styles, as I see it, is firstly: where my body leans forward more relative to where I plant my step in front of me. This style is very comfortable to me, but I feel that the stride might be to short to get good speed. The next style would be a longer stride with the front leg extending to its maximum before or just as it connects with the ground. My legs do almost a kind of pulling action into the next step. Where as the previous style was almost like running uphill continuously, falling onto the step with a bend knee and then extending it like a jump to fall onto the next foot.

The last style could be incorporated with either of the previous styles. This is to use the ankles to spring yourself forward or as in the latter style, more upward. I don't have well developed spring in my ankles and find it hard to sustain this spring action throughout the run, but I have seen some runners bounce real well. I might have to develop some calf muscles to increase my speed.

Somewhere in all of this there lays the perfect equation between forward motion and muscles energy consumed. The bigger the muscles, the more the weight to carry the full distance. Most of the worlds best long distance athletes are skinny and wiry - I fail miserably on all counts.

It seems tragic that there is such a slow-down that happens with the years that I didn't run seriously. I ran half marathon distances at an average speed of under 5 minutes a mile. Now I really struggle to keep my time under 8 minutes a mile. It seems almost an insurmountable difference, but I keep telling myself that some of the worlds best times have been established by men older than myself, so there is still hope.

My father would say that I have no chance since I don't consume meat, but I live to prove his thoughts concerning my abilities are ill conceived. My dad has a rope jumping record that I can only dream to better. He claims that he was able to jump up to 400 consecutive double skips. 120 has been my best before the muscles in my forearms burn so much I couldn't even dream to swing another double. There is a lot of wrist action in doing doubles that wear out your forearms quickly. Now to think that there are people that can jump 300 triple skips consecutively blows my mind. Come to think of it, I believe it is a lady holds that record.

The muscles of the body need so much daily attention, that I thank God that I have had such a labour intensive occupation for most of my life. It must be real difficult for people to maintain their physical conditioning and work long hours in a office environment.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Difficult to self motivate

It has been a week since I last went to run. I have been feeling a little under the weather, but today Esme' got into her pushcart when I mentioned my need to go running. All that's left is to teach her to say "let's go Pappai", and she would be the perfect taskmaster. It was only a matter of moments and I was ready to run. What a motivator.

She goes into a sort of a trans when she is in the cart and moving. Completely quiet and often takes a nap on the way. I need to get a set of speakers that would play some music for the two of us while on the road. I like to listen to inspirational music while running. I find it drives me to greater heights and gives me purpose for my running - to hear the voice of God speak to my soul. Oh, how my soul pants for His voice, just like a dear pants for water. I think it serves a little like a reset button and you get to start again with a fresh boot-up.

I will have to increase the frequency or the distance of my runs if I am to reach my goal. This last weak I got myself hit with a racquetball. The spot, white in the middle with the colours of the rainbow all around, turns black and blue and green. As the broken vessels cause bleeding to flood the flesh around the actual spot it is this blood that cause severe pain and lasted for a week now. I really believe that much of my energy went to recover that injury and the sad part is that after tonight I have a brand new ball mark on my love handle.

I am glad to see that at least one other person might take up the challenge. Give us your stats so that we could see how this challenge changes you over the course of the year.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Heart Rates

There are many different ways to calculate your ideal workout heart rate, we'll call this your target heart rate(THR). As I understand it, if you workout at too high a heart rate , your workout ends up being counter productive. Now as far as I could see, this is somewhat of a non-precise science.

For your THR you need to know your maximum heart rate (MHR) and your resting heart rate (RHR). An empirically derived formula provides you with your THR.

To know your MHR is part of the problem. You need to push yourself while under the guidance of a medical practitioner and be connected to an EKG. Where your heart starts showing signs of stress is where your MHR is established. This might be a little dangerous to approach on a regular basis, especially if you are a little older. So "they" came up with a little formula for your MHR.

MHR = 220-your age
Your RHR is easy to measure, but to get it completely figured out might require you to measure it regularly.
So then you use the formula of your choosing (and I say this, because there are several, but I found the product of all to be within a close range) to calculate your ideal THR and purchase a heart rate monitoring watch. On it you set your THR and an alarm goes off every time you cross the THR barrier. This was an easy enough formula and probably the most popular one.
Having said all this. I calculated my THR using all of these formulas and it was suggested that I run at 161 beats per minute (bpm), but while running I found myself being very comfortable at 170-172 bpm. So on the last half a mile I turn it up a little and watched my heart rate climb. I was amazed at the difference between 185 bpm and 188 bpm. I had to stop the run and walk for a few seconds to regain my breath before I could run the last 100 yards to the end. At 185 I was tiring, but the moment I reached 188 there was a clear lack of oxygen. The change let me to believe that I was reaching a current MHR, but I plan to verify my personal findings tomorrow by running hard sooner to see if there is greater heights to be reached with my MHR.
I plan on running without Esme' (my 22 month old daughter) so that she would be safe if I push a little far. I personally believe that I could approach 200 bpm without consequences.
So when I returned, I reverse-calculated my MHR by using the 172 bpm as my THR. Now this is not science and I know it, but it seems to me that if I felt like I could run forever at 170-172 then that is a good gage of what my true THR should look like. Since my RHR is 50 bpm I was able to calculate my MHR at 193 bpm. Now this presses the next self indulgence in me. There is a difference between the heart of a fit person and that of one that doesn't ever take his heart out for a run. So I went and reverse calculated my heart age by subtracting my MHR from the suggested 220 bpm and so I was happy to report on a 27 year old heart in a 39 year old man (I believe I don't look it, but...).
A few more gleaned facts: Small people have higher heart rates, energy drinks increase heart rates, the more fit you are, the lower your RHR and perhaps your THR (I'm not sure about this, because it seems that the mussle called your heart could run faster with exercise) and I will be liable only for my own actions and you remember to read more reliable data on these issues. I am not a doctor, nor do I have any more knowledge on the subject than what I found on the web. I wouldn't sue them and I wouldn't pay you if you went and stressed your heart out.;)
Joining me on this challenge happens entirely at your own risk, but to not sound scary, real long distance runners run at least 1500 miles in one year and that challenge we leave for next year. God willing we will all still be around.
The article I read, said that the 5 times Tour De France champion endurance cyclist, Miguel Indurain, was the person with the lowest RHR ever measured and it was at 28 bpm. Less than one beat for every 2 seconds. Imagine you were an EMT at an accident site where Miguel might have fallen and you were in too much of a rush, because there was several cyclists down, you'd perhaps declare him dead.
Perhaps the two most significant bites of information is:
1) Heart rate recovery: The heart rate measured at a fixed (or reference) period after ceasing activity; typically measured over a 1 minute period.
Heart-Rate Recovery Immediately after Exercise is a Predictor of Mortality.
For death, it has been hypothesized that a delayed fall in the heart rate after exercise might be an important prognostic marker.
Study by: Christopher R. Cole, M.D., Eugene H. Blackstone, M.D., Fredric J. Pashkow, M.D., Claire E. Snader, M.A., and Michael S. Lauer, M.D. ; Art. ref. from the NEJM, Volume 341:1351-1357 October 28, 1999 Number 18
2) Higher RHRs are dangerous: An Australian led international study of patients with cardiovascular disease has shown that heart beat rate plays a key role in the risk of heart attack. The study, published in The Lancet (Sept 2008) studied 11,000 people, across 33 countries, who were being treated for heart problems. Those patients whose heart rate was above 70 beats per minute had significantly higher incidence of heart attacks, hospital admissions and the need for surgery. University of Sydney professor of cardiology Ben Freedman from Sydney's Concord hospital, said "If you have a high heart rate there was an increase in heart attack, the increase was about a 46 percent in hospitalizations for non-fatal or fatal heart attack."