stevenpiziks: (Default)
I'm running faster these days. My treadmill has a speed scale of 1 to 10, and while I don't know how fast 10 is, I know it's faster than I can handle for more than a couple seconds. Usually I start out walking at 3.5 for a couple minutes, then speed up to 5 over the course of another couple minutes, then go faster until I hit 5.8 or 6.

But lately I've been rushing past 5 and into 6, finishing at 6.7 or even 7. I'm flying! Yesterday, I got up to 7.5 and pushed up to 8 for a minute or two before cooling down.

I'm trying to outrun the trauma. I hope it'll work, eventually. It's certainly helping my physical health.
stevenpiziks: (Default)
Last week I started running again, for the first time since the Great Hospital Debacle.

The previous time I had surgery (November of last year), I couldn't run for about two months. I spent a lot of time sitting, which meant a gained weight, weight that I couldn't seem to shake even after I started running again. It was still with me when I had surgery again this year.

But after this latest trip to the hospital, I lost a chunk of weight because anxiety kept me from eating. I decided to take advantage of this and keep going. When the awful stent was removed and I could move without pain, I climbed back on the treadmill.

I wondered if I'd lost my previous fitness. You'll remember that my resting pulse rate is in the low 50s, which panicked the hospital into running a dozen tests on my heart and putting a pissant heart monitor on me for three days even after the tests came back normal. It was my punishment for all the running. But when you stop running, your fitness level tends to drop quickly.

For my first run, I told myself not to push. However, I found myself accelerating fairly quickly and almost reached my normal pace, which peaks at speed 6 out of 10 on my treadmill. (I have no idea how fast this is in MPH.)

I decided I was going to run more. My previous goal was to run at least four times per week, five whenever possible. I punched the goal up to running every day. So far, I've only missed one.

Now, two weeks after I started back up, I regularly push past speed 6 and peak at speed 6.5. Today, I hit 7. I want to do more of that. Running and staring at a TV show lets me escape the wyrms that chews my mind for a while. And I've lost eight pounds. My goal is to lose 10 more, then see if I want to keep going. I've found that I can focus on "lose 10 pounds for now" better than I can focus on "lose 20 pounds overall." So that's what I'm doing.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Yesterday I ran again for the first time since the operation.  The doctor told me to ease into it, but I didn't really need him to tell me that.  I haven't run in three weeks, and if I tried to do my usual run now, my heart would no doubt bolt out of my rib cage and flop to the floor.

I got on the treadmill, intending to do a lot of fast walking and maybe a little slow running, if I felt up to it, and I told myself it would be perfectly fine to stop at any point if I got too tired or winded.  I mean, two weeks after the operation, it was all I could do to walk from one end of the house to the other.  My first day back at work completely destroyed me--I should have stayed home another day.  At three weeks, I felt fine, but I hadn't gone above a walk even once in all that time, so slow and careful it would be.

But I surprised myself.  I fast-walked for several minutes and felt no real exertion, so I cranked up the speed a little more.  By the time I was halfway through the Jeopardy episode (I run to Jeopardy a lot), I was doing a reasonable, if slow, jog.  When the episode ended, I didn't feel like I'd worked out much at all.  Huh.  I queued up another episode, edged the speed up a tiny bit, and kept going.

My body gave me "Hey, watch it!" warnings at this point, so I didn't go any faster.  I managed to get nearly all the way through the second episode before things became more serious, and went for a cool-down and shower.

That was good news, really.  I had been afraid that after having my abdominal wall pierced in three places and a chunk of my body sliced out and then sitting around for three weeks, I'd be way out of shape.    But I did very well, considering.

So we're have to carefully increase until things are back to normal.

My Spill

Nov. 2nd, 2016 08:53 am
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
This happened at World Fantasy Con, but warrants its own entry.

At World Fantasy, I was determined to keep up my running.  The hotel had a fitness center, but treadmill running is excruciatingly dull, and the weather was perfect, so I decided to run outside.  Good way to explore a little, too.

I queued up the next episode of Zombies, Run! on my phone, put on my earpiece, and headed out.  It was perfect running weather--not too hot, not too cold.  I found myself running easily, too, which is always nice.  (Some days the running is simply difficult, as if my body is saying, "What the hell are you doing to us?")

I got about ten minutes into it when I came down off a driveway curb wrong and fell.

I still don't know what caused it.  I knew the curb was there.  I saw it coming perfectly well and was prepped for it.  I didn't turn my ankle or come down off it expecting more or less space beneath me.  I just came down and . . . fell.

Naturally I tried to regain my balance, but this turned out hugely difficult.  I was going at a fast clip, so all my momentum propelled me in the wrong direction and made it all the harder to correct myself.  I stumbled, managed two more steps, then slammed into a freestanding parking garage sign.  That ended any chance of recovering, and I went down, tangled up with the metal sign.  It all made a tremendous crash.  My momentum dragged me another two or three feet down the sidewalk on my right side.  My phone flew off to my right.  (I had forgotten my armband carrier, and was holding it in my hand.)  Pain tore down my shoulder and my knee and lanced through my wrist.  I fetched up against the brick wall of the parking garage and lay there, stunned for a second.

"Are you all right?"  This from a set of pedestrians--two women and a man in their twenties.  They were looking down at me with concern.

I ran a check.  Nothing broken.  My ankles weren't hurt.  Several abrasions, probably forthcoming bruises.  My wrist hurt quite a lot.  But nothing life-threatening or worth calling an ambulance for.

"I think so," I said.  "That hurt."

The young man offered a hand to pull me upright, which I accepted.  My phone lay a foot away, and when I picked it up, the screen was broken, despite the heavy-duty case.  Fuck.  That upset me more than any of the injuries.  And my earpiece was missing entirely--nowhere in sight.  One of them women handed it to me--she must have found it.  I didn't even notice it falling out.

The parking garage sign was badly dented.  It looked like a camel had kicked it.  Stupid piece of shit sign.  If it hadn't been there, I probably would have regained my balance and none of this would have happened.

I thanked the trio again for their help and they continued on their way.

I considered my options.  None of my injuries were worth going to a hospital or urgent care over.  I was pissed off about my phone and my left side burned with pain, but my legs and ankles were fine.  Should I quit for the day or keep going?

In the end, I decided to keep going.  I was afraid if I stopped, my muscles would stiffen up and I'd be in even worse pain later.

I finished the run, my earlier good mood utterly spoiled, and not even the sight of a man walking four beagles at once in a park could lighten things.  Well, maybe a little.

Back at the hotel, I took a long, hot shower, wincing at the fresh pain as the water hit the abrasions.  I had several on my shoulder, arm, and leg.  Inexplicably, my jaw hurt as well, though I hadn't hit my head.  It must have been from the jolt.  And my wrist really hurt.

I looked up pharmacies on my cracked phone.  None were within walking distance, and I =really= didn't feel like walking four blocks to my car so I could drive to one.  So I went down to the convenience store in the hotel lobby and paid a scandalous price for a small bottle of ibuprofen there.  I swallowed a handful.  Rather than go out for supper, I opted for the hotel restaurant, which was more than I wanted to pay for, but necessary.  I braced myself for bed, afraid I'd be really stiff and in serious pain in the morning.  But when I woke up, that wasn't the case.  The abrasions hurt, but I had no muscle aches.  The continued run, hot water, and meds had done their job.

When I got home, I bought a wrist brace.  I think I have minor sprain.

I didn't run again, either.  But I will.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
For a long time, my exercise regimen was to run five kilometers three times per week, though I would try for four or five times.  This usually took an hour--changing into running clothes, getting on the treadmill (or strapping my phone onto my arm), running, cooling down, showering.

Problem is, this became more and more like a chore.  I mean, to begin with I DON'T LIKE RUNNING.  It's boring, it's often painful, and I never ever get the "runner's high."  An hour of running (40 minutes of actual running plus the assorted activity around it) has become a major crapfest, and I found it too easy to put it off or not do it.

So I'm changing things around.

I'm doing half a run twice as often.  I get on the treadmill and go for 22 minutes, do a shortened cool down, and shower.  This is the length of a single sit-com or an episode of Jeopardy.  I can run for that long, and it's not a big deal.  My plan is to do this six times per week.

I'm also finding that I'm willing to push myself to run faster and harder if I know I'm only running a short while.  ("Crank it up to level 6? Jesus, no--I have 30 minutes left!" but "Level 6 for 12 minutes?  I can do that.")  So the net effect is that I run less per session, but more miles per week.

We'll see how this goes.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
I got a kilometer and a half into my jog when Zombies, Run! abruptly stopped working.  It didn't crash--the GPS that tracked my speed and distance was still going--but there was no music, and the storyline quit.  I had to stop running for a moment, which I hate because it kills my momentum, and end the app so I could reboot it and try again.  The same thing happened.  I tried twice more, and it became clear that the app was failing me.

I could have kept on running without it, but I =hate= running, and the only thing that keeps me going is either the treadmill (when I watch TV) or the Zombies, Run! storyline.  So I wiped it and went home after half a run.

stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
I'm still running five kilometers at least three times a week.  My goal is four or five, but between teaching, writing, and family, I can't often get in more than three.

My time continues to hover around 8:00 per kilometer, not counting warmup and cooldown.  I don't continually push myself for more speed, since I'm running for general fitness, not training.

Until recently the weather was poor and I depended on my treadmill even more heavily than ever.  At my previous house, there were places I could run outside even in winter, so I would bundle up and go.  My new place, however, doesn't have good places for running.  I live in a subdivision with pine-shaded streets, which means that the roads were always snowy--not enough sunlight got through the melt anything.  No sidewalks, either.  So it was the treadmill or nothing.  This was fine--I watched TV while I ran: THE FLASH, JEOPARDY, ARROW, GOTHAM, MODERN FAMILY.  As usual, I found that snappy comedies, game shows with rapid-fire questions, and action shows distracted me best from the misery of running.

See, after all this, I still hate running.  I like having run.  The process itself is still awful.  I don't get the runner's high.  The best I can hope for is a good run that makes me glad to stop.

Now the weather has turned nicer and I've gone out to explore ways to run outdoors again.

I'm dreadfully picky.  I don't like running down busy roads that don't have sidewalks. (Very few roads and streets around here have sidewalks--developers around here don't want to pay for them and the inhabitants figure sidewalks encourage foot traffic, which can only lead to trouble.  The message is clear: if you can't drive a Mercedes, you don't belong here.)  I don't like running down sidewalks, either, to tell the truth.  I dislike dodging around other people, waiting at crosswalks, and leaping over dog poop.  As someone who grew up in the country, I want to run through the woods.  My old house was less than a minute away from a long nature trail that was perfect.  But I've moved.

My new house is surrounded by pine trees and lots of private property.  The subdivision owns the woods that border the subdivision, and a little network of trails runs through these woods.  There's also a little neck of land nearby owned by another entity with a few more trails on it.  The trails only combine to make about one and a half kilometers of running, however, which means if I use them, I have to run loops.  I'd rather run flat out in one direction, turn around, and come back.  (I told you I'm picky.)  This lets me keep better track of how long I have to go.  I can't do that here, so I put up with it.  (The horror!)  One thing I've noticed so far, however, is that no one else seems to use the trails for running, or even walking, so I always have them to myself.  The nature trail near my old house was often crowded, especially on the weekend.  So we're good.

I'm still a big fan of the Zombies, Run! app, which continues to be one of the best fitness apps out there.  They continue to expand the content with more missions and more stories, and the features in the app have become more and more customizable.  The app keeps me entertained while I'm running, and I really like pretending I'm in a post-apocalyptic world.  These days when I'm outside, I can't imagine running without Sam Yao on my headset shouting about zombies coming at me from this direction or warning me about problems coming in from New Canton.

This summer I'm hoping to drive down to the old nature trail and run there again.  It's only a few minutes away by car, and I can go during the day when there's no traffic.


Jan. 6th, 2014 11:32 am
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Yesterday the treadmill arrived--just ahead of the storm.  Two guys from Sears showed up in a big truck and muscled a smallish box off the back.  Hey!  That box would easily have fit into the back of Darwin's car with the back seats folded down!  On the other hand, we would have had to haul it in and put it together, and neither project sounded like fun.  So we'll call it a win.

The guys whipped through unpacking the treadmill.  Many, many, MANY parts.  I tried not to hover.  I really wanted to go back upstairs and work on rewrites, but I had no idea how long it would take or if the guys would need anything, so I sat in the kitchen and fiddled with my phone instead.

At last they were done.  We tested the treadmill and it seemed to work fine.  I signed some papers, then tipped them $20.  (I'm sure they didn't get a dime of the Sunday delivery surcharge I paid Sears.)  They scooped up the boxes and left.

Mackie got on the treadmill first.  He thought it was pretty cool.  I let him have his way on it--I needed lunch.  But eventually I kicked him off it and ran myself.

It was very nice, I have to say.  By now, the storm outside was going full bore, but I was able to run in the comfort of my living room.  I could either look at the snow patter against the glass doors or watch TV.  No tripping over snow, no blasts of icy air in my face.  And I didn't have to leave the boys.  (Maksim still has some anxiety troubles, and he always feels safer when I'm in the house.)  Once summer comes and the temperature goes up to 95, I'll be able to run without worrying about heat stroke.

When the weather is good, I'll want to run outside again.  I'm an outdoor cat--LET ME OUT!  But this will let me keep up my exercise regimen regardless of the weather.
stevenpiziks: (Signs)
I'm still running from zombies, as those who follow my Facebook page know.  I've been pushing myself more, making myself run more often, run longer, run faster.

I started out with the idea of running 20 minutes (not counting warmup and cool down) two or three times a week.  You know--the minimum required exercise to stay healthy.  But whenever does the minimum get you what you want?  And what I want is a combination of weight loss and fitness.  Time to push.

Running is still a chore, but it's the most efficient way to exercise, and it's the cheapest--no machines, no special clothes.  Yeah, I'd love a treadmill, but . . . meh.  Right now I'm running outdoors on that nature trail the country recently put in where the railroad tracks used to be.  In summer it'll be shady.

Anyway, I decided to run longer and farther.  So I downloaded the sister program to Zombies, Run!, which is Zombies, Run! 5K.  It's a training program that's supposed to bring you up to running five kilometers, which is between three and four miles.  It gives you stretching exercises and run-jog-walk-sprint exercises to bring you up to speed.  And all of it is set in the Zombies, Run! post-apocalyptic world.  (In this case, you're training to be a full-blown runner for Abel Township, but township politics and zombies keep cropping up.  Someone has been stealing supplies, you see, and . . . )

At first it was total hell completing one of the sessions.  When each ended, I was covered in sweat and all but crawling back to the house like a zombie with one leg blown off.  But I made myself keep going, and like the video campaign promises, it got better.  I was finally putting in five kilometers three times a week.

Then I was finishing the 5K before the mission ended in my headphones, and I would have to do an extra couple laps through the streets near my house to get to the end of the story.  I was getting faster.  So I lengthened the run, and now I do six kilometers, which is about four miles.

Next I realized I needed to run more often.  I increased my schedule, and now I'm up to six kilometers, five times a week.  In some of my more insane moments, I wonder what it would be like to train for a marathon.

The only downside seems to be with my weight loss program.  I got on the scale today and saw that I'd actually gained a pound.  That couldn't be right--I haven't been cheating on my weight-loss eating at all!  And my pants are getting way loose. Then I realized I was probably adding muscle to my legs, and muscle weighs more than fat.  If I want to be really strict about keeping track, I should buy one of those machines that registers fat content, but I'm not sure that I want the expense.

I've also come to realize that the running will have to be a permanent part of life.  If I stop, I'll quickly lose everything I've gained.  So I'm settling in for the long run.  (Sorry.)  Learn to love it!

Hmmm.  Winter will return soon.  Better save for a treadmill now.


stevenpiziks: (Default)

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