The Outdoor Runner

Lessons learned from a habitual outdoor runner

Fall 2022 has arrived

It’s been a while…

Personal challenges, society, health, economics, family, work, focusing on other things, etc. Yeah, whatever, that’s life, right?

I think about writing quite a bit, then never seem to find the energy or time as excuses can be easily made.

So here we are in October 2022. What’s going on? My visit with illness hit in late December 2021. While I was only out for a few days, the lingering effects remained for 6+ months. Most notable was oxygen absorption. I will estimate that 7-8 months were affected by difficulty with deep breathing, even when every other system appeared fully functional. When you like to run, breathing is kind of a thing.

On top of that little breathing thing, I was nursing my knees from previous incidents, only to trip on a raised sidewalk one morning in August, thus extending the knee issues.

Ok then, enough with the whiney backstory!

It’s early October, the mornings are getting cooler, and deciding what layers to wear on a ride or run is getting more time-consuming. There is no ice on the ground, but the wind speed in these temps is very noticeable. I am still running in the 5-7 mile range versus the 8-9 I was running before 2020. The lungs and knees are feeling better, and with the potential of slippery weather, the bike rides may reduce, so running becomes the daily routine.

I am grateful for what I can do!

The shorter winter days also bring back the stars to my morning routine. The sky is amazing, and seeing the sun break the horizon daily reminds me how blessed I am.

Spring-Summer 2021

I guess it is time to update my records here. With work, life, and the pandemic time has escaped my attention from posting here.

The good news is that my legs continue to get better from the previous injuries and I have had several sub 9-minute miles while running, which is a big deal for me as part of this recovery.

March-August 2021 Summary

Breaking it down by month

Monthly summary

Most of the cycling has been on Kermit as Goose is having bottom bracket issues again. I did have my first on the road flat this summer. I was 12 miles into a ride, about 9 miles from home, and luckily 1.5 miles from a Walmart at 7:00 am on a Saturday morning.

I do keep a tire/tube repair kit on the bike with me although I’ve not had to use it until now. It was the rear tire and it was really worn out so I was hoping Walmart might have a tube and tire I could purchase instead of just trying to patch the old stuff. Of course, the rear tire is more complicated to replace or repair.

I was in luck, they had both tube and tire so outside of the store as the sun was gaining strength, I started the repair. SNAP! The handy little multi-wrench in my repair kit snapped immediately upon first use. Back into Walmart to purchase a small adjustable wrench.

After completing the replacement and pumping as much air as I could with my portable hand pump, I started the 9-mile trek home. I was tired and hungry when I arrived home, but so thankful for how well things worked out.

The weather is starting to cool a bit here in the first week of September and I’m sure before too long I’ll be back to layering clothes to meet the change. Be safe out there folks and keep putting in the work to stay as healthy as you can.

Jan-Feb 2021

It’s been low miles on the bike with continued improvements on the running.

Goose has over 4600 miles on it now. I’m still amazed at how well this “cheap” “department store” bike has served my purposes. We (Goose and I) had one wipe-out this winter when we hit a spot of black ice on a turn. The bike fared well but the body suffered a few setbacks with some bruising on the legs, hip, shoulder, and arm. The longest repair was the ankle. Even though I was wearing above the ankle leather boots, the foot must have twisted or extended enough to do some damage. It was at least 4 weeks or slow going on that ankle. This was complicated further by the fact I couldn’t ride due to the slippery conditions, so I went into the slow-jog mode. I didn’t care about time, I just wanted to move!

I consider myself very blessed to be able to run again. I’m still slow and averaging a 9:45 mile. While I was recovering the ankle and there was snow and ice on the roads, I was averaging 11:00/mile. In spite of all that, I have ran over 9 miles two or three times now. I’m pumped about that!

Jan-Feb 2021 Stats

I took the plunge and purchased a multi-sport watch at the end of January. It arrived in early February. I went with the Garmin Venu SQ.

I like it! Previously, I was using three devices to track my activities. I had the Garmin Vivofit 1 for walking/steps, the Garmin Forerunner 10 for running, and the Garmin Forerunner 25 for cycling. Technically, the Forerunners are for “running” so I had to convert the activity manually from running to cycling. Not ideal, but workable. Now I simply select my activity when I start and it records properly all by itself, plus I only have to work with one device for charging, syncing, care, etc.

I have been able to charge the Venu SQ once a week with the settings I’ve enabled. There are many options (very many) that can affect performance and battery life. I like where things are as the Venu SQ is able to find the satellites quickly and has recorded activities without error.

There are many customization features on the Venu SQ as well, I was able to create my own custom watch face and select which elements I wanted to be on my at-a-glance display. Nice! The image below is just a few of what others have created. I’ve gone old-school crossover with an analog timepiece (yes, hands) and data fields of battery, date, temp, and heartrate.

Sample Venu watch face options

There are many more features with Apps and Widgets that I haven’t even explored.

It’s early March as I write this and the morning temperature has been closer to 40 F which allows me to expand back out into the country without fearing freezing to death in the event of an injury or equipment failure.

This morning’s bike route wasn’t anything extreme but nice to get out of town. I was fortunate to run into one of the other outdoor runners on his route and finally slowed down to chat a few seconds. I’m always encouraged when I come across others working on their health regimen.

Until next time, I hope you keep working on you.

Ended 2020 doing well

Yeah, 2020 was a tough time for us in the comfort and secure societies. We don’t feel good about threats to the way we live. I am encouraged by the number of people I hear speaking about personal health and nutrition as part of the reaction to the need for a healthier and stronger immune system.

I’m riding the bike a bit less as winter progresses for two reasons; first is the weather and road conditions, and second is that my legs have continued to improve which has allowed me to run multiple days without injury. Nonetheless, Goose has some miles on it! I’m contemplating changing the rear tire to a mountain bike tire but am waiting to see what level of snow we might be in for this year, so far not much.

Speaking of running; I don’t run fast, probably around a 9:45 per mile average. I still ok with this as I rebuild my legs. I do notice a “looseness” in my knees if I push too hard too many days in a row. Easy and progressive seems to be winning the leg repair challenge. Slow is far better than stopped!

Oct-Dec 2020 totals

While 2021 hasn’t seen much change from the previous year as of yet, we can remain hopeful that if we care for ourselves and others we have much brighter days ahead. Keep working on yourself so you can be more of what the world needs.

Goose nearing 4k

Earlier posts explain more about the bikes I have, Goose being the primary ride and Kermit the backup. There has been a few times where parts or tools were needed for Goose and I was so thankful to have Kermit.

When I first started cycling I assumed a department store may last up to 2000 miles. I had no idea what I was in for as I had never pedaled anything more than required.

I knew I had exceeded the 2,000 point and was a little surprised to see that my Garmin report shows I’m just one ride from 4,000 miles in a little over a year.

In those 4k miles I still have the original front tire in service and fortunately haven’t had to do any work on the front-end. The middle and back are another story. I’ve replaced the bottom bracket bearings twice and the last time I replaced the crank axle as well. On the rear end I’m still running a standard Bell tire from Walmart. It turns out these wear a lot better than the mountain bike tires in the rear. I did mention in another post that Goose had a cavity (broken spoke), but since those repairs, things have been pretty good.

I do have another mountain bike tire for the rear in the event winter gets dicey and I need better traction.

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