Training Log – Weeks 7,8

Comment: During most of this winter, my fast runs are not as fast as last year and my long runs are not as long as last year, but I’m not concerned. My attitudes about training change a bit from year to year, and this year I’m mostly focused on achieving total miles. In some years I think that speed during fast runs is important, and in other years I think that distance during long runs is important, but this year I’m just running my twenty miles per week and not caring about speed or distance in any particular running sessions.

Comment: March is typically the month each year that I purchase a new pair of running shoes. I’ll just put a note here in this training log that I won’t be purchasing shoes during this training period. I realized last year that I’ve been running over a thousand miles per pair of shoes, which is too much, and I want to be really serious about the full marathon I plan to run in the fall of 2017, so I’m going to purchase two pairs of shoes this year. The first pair was a few months ago, before I started training for the Indy Mini-Marathon. It was a pair of Brooks Glycerine version 14 size 10.5 medium running shoes in black with red trim from Blue Mile Broad Ripple. The second pair will be next summer, when I start training for the Monumental Marathon.

Comment: At the latest meeting of the B&O Trail Association, the volunteer organization reported progress in converting the former B&O Railroad into a recreational trail. The bridge over the White Lick Creek is finished and the trail is paved west of Brownsburg to CR 500 E, though they designate the western section to be closed because the street crossings don’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. I run along CR 500 E past the western end of the trail on most Saturday mornings, and have been restraining myself from simply going around the orange barricades and running down the perfectly usable trail.

Raw Data: The following are the dates, distances, paces, and locations of running sessions. For some sessions, additional information is included. ** 28-Feb-2017, 3.5 miles, 10.4 minutes per mile, treadmill. ** 02-Mar-2017, 3.1 miles, 9.9 minutes per mile, treadmill. ** 04-Mar-2017, 13.12 miles, 11:11 minutes per month, neighborhood. The temperature of 30 F meant that winter returned after some freaky weeks of temperatures in the 60’s F. ** 06-Mar-2017, 5.5 miles, 10.9 minutes per mile, treadmill. ** 08-Mar-2017, 3.2 miles, 10.4 minutes per mile, treadmill. ** 11-Mar-2017, 13.41 miles, 11:05 minutes per mile, neighborhood. Although the temperature was not too bad at 23 F, the wind made the air feel cold and I wasn’t comfortable. ** The total running distance was 41.8 miles for weeks 7 and 8.

Training Log – Weeks 5,6

Comment: My wife and I continued our annual tradition of discovering new music and artists by listening to some of the songs and albums representing the nominations, awards, and broadcast of the Grammy Awards. I added selections of music I liked to my library on the Napster music service, and will use some of those selections during upcoming training sessions. I don’t always listen to music while running, but sometimes the inspiration or distraction is welcome.

Raw Data: The following are the dates, distances, paces, and locations of running sessions. For some sessions, additional information is included. ** 14-Feb-2017, 3.1 miles, 10.5 minutes per mile, treadmill. ** 16-Feb-2017, 3.9 miles, 10.4 minutes per mile, treadmill. ** 18-Feb-2017, 10.38 miles, 11:20 minutes per mile, neighborhood. ** 21-Feb-2017, 3.1 miles, 10.0 minutes per mile, treadmill. I realized how slow I’ve been running this winter, and intentionally ran a bit faster this session. ** 23-Feb-2017, 4.9 miles, 10.8 minutes per mile, treadmill. ** 25-Feb-2017, 9.0 miles, 10.7 minutes per mile, treadmill. After a week of bizarre winter weather of sunshine and daytime temperatures near 70 F, I woke on this Saturday morning to 17 mph wind sustained, 34 mph wind gusts, temperature 31 F, and light drizzle, and just wasn’t feeling hardcore. Lamenting the loss of pleasant running weather, I went to the fitness club and did a long run indoors. ** The total running distance was 34.4 miles for weeks 5 and 6.

Training Log – Weeks 3,4

Comment: I participated in the Groundhog 7, which is an annual running event held on the Sunday closest to Groundhog Day. The race is Indy Runners’ gift to the running community; a timed and managed race offered free for all runners who are willing to donate an item to a local food charity. I did not train specifically for this event, and in fact, I only registered onsite an hour before the start. The day was unusually sunny and warm for an Indiana winter, and I finished with a pace that was about a half minute per mile faster than my pace in the same event last year. I’m pleased if that means I’m starting my current training for the Indy Mini-Marathon at a higher performance level than last year.

Comment: On 04-Feb-2017, the temperature was a steady 14 F throughout my outdoor run. I don’t keep detailed records of weather conditions during running sessions, but I’m sure this sets a cold temperature record for me. And after the first mile or two, I felt fine, and I returned home hot and sweaty like after any other long running session.

Raw Data: The following are the dates, distances, paces, and locations of running sessions. For some sessions, additional information is included. ** 29-Jan-2017, 3.79 miles, 10:36 minutes per mile, neighborhood. ** 31-Jan-2017, 5.3 miles, 10.9 minutes per mile, treadmill. ** 02-Feb-2017, 3.8 miles, 10.7 minutes per mile, treadmill. ** 04-Feb-2017, 6.75 miles, 10:18 minutes per mile, neighborhood. ** 05-Feb-2017, 7.01 miles, 10:31 minutes per mile, the Groundhog 7 on the Zionsville Rail Trail and through some neighborhoods near Zionsville High School. The data comes from my running watch, which agrees almost exactly with the official race results, though I didn’t anticipate the starting line correctly and started the watch several seconds early. ** 07-Feb-2017, 3.5 miles, 10.2 minutes per mile, treadmill. ** 09-Feb-2017, 3.3 miles, 10.7 minutes per mile, treadmill. ** 11-Feb-2017, 10.01 miles, 11:15 minutes per mile, neighborhood including a segment on the newest section of the B&O Trail east from CR 500 E. ** The total running distance was 43.5 miles for weeks 3 and 4.

Another Blog Origin Story

When I created the Running Soul in the Heartland blog two years ago, I began by writing a couple of essays that served as origin stories about the blog. The first post presented some reasons why I chose to resume blogging, and the second post presented some reasons why I chose to start running. I didn’t fully appreciate, however, that I was looking right past the minor crisis that was unfolding in my life at the time, and was more honestly the real reason for creating this blog. In hindsight, I can see more clearly what happened, so am documenting the story here as another essay.

In October of 2014, my employer announced to me and my fellow scientists in small molecule drug development that our current jobs would end in a few months. This is the employer for which I relocated to Indiana a dozen years earlier, at first to Lafayette and later to Indianapolis. I was worried, because I hadn’t expected to enter the job market ever again and I was remembering the many ways my life was disrupted after getting caught in a mass layoff of employees by my previous employer. I wasn’t panicking, though, because a few things were different this time around. For one thing, my current employer was offering some ‘new’ jobs for which we could apply and interview. The catch was that there were seventy-five fewer ‘new’ jobs than current jobs. This was simply the method that the company was using to downsize small molecule development. For another thing, if I didn’t manage to receive an offer of continued employment, I would technically enter retirement rather than unemployment, as one of the company’s available triggers for retirement was fifty-five years of age with ten years of service. I narrowly exceeded both criteria and could retire with enough of a pension to reduce the amount of financial compensation I would need in my next job.

After the shock of the announcement wore off in a day or two, I realized that navigating the process to receive one of the job offers was way more important than working on any of my research projects, and I updated my resume, practiced interviewing skills, and networked like crazy. Ultimately, I convinced management that I was one of their most valuable employees and their best option was to keep me around. I received one of the job offers and no longer needed to worry, but the experience challenged me in ways that were uncomfortable. I had confronted questions about what I would do if my employment was to end prematurely. Would I try to continue my career as a scientist and perhaps relocate again? Would I try to find a replacement job in Indianapolis, perhaps with part-time or contract work? Would I actually retire? I realized I didn’t have the answers.

Both during and after the employment process, I was wondering how I would spend my time if I wasn’t employed anymore. Creative writing was a hobby that had some appeal, and I speculated that I might write essays about spirituality, spiritual practices, and other topics that interested me. I was once a member of the worship team for a church congregation, assisting in worship services and occasionally writing and delivering sermons, and wouldn’t have minded having a blog as a new outlet to express some thoughts and ideas. As I reflect on the circumstances, I realize that my decision to train for and run my first full marathon also came out of the situation. I registered for the Monumental Marathon around the time that I started this blog.

My ‘new’ job had the same supervisor, same responsibilities, and same projects, and was in reality nothing more than a continuation of my old job. I relaxed and gradually eased away from trying to answer post-employment questions. This Running Soul in the Heartland blog evolved to become just another running blog like so many others on the web, with training logs and race reports and other running related content, which wasn’t my original intention.

Then yesterday, in February of 2017, my employer announced to me and my fellow scientists in small molecule drug development an optional repeat of the process. It’s voluntary this time, but I could use the process to enter retirement with thirty-four weeks salary as severance pay. No, I’m not going to volunteer, but there are those questions again, looking for answers. And there is this blog …

Training Log – Weeks 1,2

Comment: As I’ve done many times in recent years, I counted weeks backward from the next Indy 500 Festival Mini-Marathon until I got to sixteen, and then declared on the first day of the first week of the sixteen that I was in-training for my next goal race. This year, the day fell on January 15. I don’t have a formal training program that I’ve chosen, but I’m thinking of simply trying to begin with about twenty miles per week of easy running divided between three or four running sessions until I get reacquainted with this quantity of running. Then maybe I’ll create a short training sub-program with designated fast runs and long runs about two months before the race. I’m planning to add a little bit of stretching and weight lifting this year for balance, which I haven’t been doing so much in previous training programs. I’m not going to begin the program with anything hard, because I don’t have a solid running base on which to build. For the past two months, I took a break from goals and plans, intending to just run for fun, and unexpectedly, I mostly took a break from running.

Comment: Back at the beginning of the year 2016, I made a New Year’s resolution to run less, keeping running distance totals down to around twenty miles per week and thirteen miles per long run maximum. I reminded myself of the resolution repeatedly, and did an excellent job of adherence throughout the year. In the beginning of the year 2017, I made an unresolution, to free myself from the previous year’s resolution and run as much I want. And on New Year’s day, I registered for the next Monumental Marathon. The Indy 500 Festival Mini-Marathon will be my next goal race, but it will also be a step to my next full marathon.

Raw Data: The following are the dates, distances, paces, and locations of running sessions. For some sessions, additional information is included. ** 15-Jan-2017, 4.0 miles, 10.9 minutes per mile, treadmill. ** 17-Jan-2017, 3.3 miles, 10.3 minutes per mile, treadmill. ** 20-Jan-2017, 3.1 miles, 10.3 minutes per mile, treadmill. ** 21-Jan-2017, 5.53 miles, 10:58 minutes per mile, neighborhood. ** 22-Jan-2017, 4.01 miles, 10:33 minutes per mile, neighborhood. ** 24-Jan-2017, 2.5 miles, 11.0 minutes per mile, treadmill. ** 28-Jan-2017, 5.2 miles, 11.5 minutes per mile, treadmill. ** The total running distance was 27.6 miles for weeks 1 and 2.