Hundred Push Ups — Week “Five” Day two

August 27, 2008

I feel like I’m making forward progress again on the push ups. Perhaps I’m over my recent plateau. Or maybe I’m getting better at cheating on my form. My push ups are getting faster and faster, which is OK (even if it is the case that fast push ups are easier than slow push ups) but I have to admit they are also getting a bit shallow. Perhaps I will get to 100 bad form push ups and then work on 100 good deep push ups.

In any case, today called for two sets of 20, two sets of 18, two sets of 15, a set of 14, and one final set of at least 40, with only 45 seconds between each of the eight sets. I did them all successfully, with 50 for the last set. That’s 170 push ups in total. Go me!


Between the Bridges

August 25, 2008
The Sellwood Bridge.

The Sellwood Bridge, located adjacent to the neighborhood of Sellwood.

I’m still trying to stick to flat runs, since I think it helps my plantar fasciitis, so that limits my choices for Saturday morning 10-milers. This Saturday I once again ran the Sellwood Bridge to Steel Bridge waterfront loop. To switch it up (woooo!) I ran it clockwise, starting by going over the Sellwood.

I felt pretty weak at first. I think I was just sleepy. I’m having a hard time even remembering much of the first seven miles. I know my mile splits were creeping up above 9:30. I also recall having the wrong sunglasses on — they were a pair where the lenses get all drippy and blurry from sweat — and not really liking what was on the radio much. In the last three miles, I got into a much better zone and was able to comfortably push the pace way down. Mile 10 was sub-8:00.

The Steel Bridge

The Steel Bridge. I believe it is made of steel.

I’ve signed up for a race!

August 22, 2008

OK, it’s “only” a 10K. It’s Pints to Pasta, a popular Portland 10K road race on Sunday, September 7. I also posted it as a MeetIn Portland event, but so far that’s been met with a stampede of people not wanting to do it. Maybe people don’t want to get up at 6am for the chance to exhaust themselves then swill some bad pasta from the Old Spaghetti Factory? I cannot imagine why not.

I should pick a time goal for the 10K. OK, I just plugged my Eugene Marathon time into the McMillan Running Calculator and it says that an equivalent performance would be 49:01, or a 7:52/mile pace. Sounds good to me: forty-nine minutes it is. That would best my current 10K PR by about 3:30, which is a lot, but that was set on a hilly course on a hot morning. This course is downhill then flat, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the temperature.

The push-ups continue

August 20, 2008

How’s my hundred push ups program going?

If the goal is to be able to do one hundred push ups in six, seven, eight or some other relatively small number of weeks, I suppose I would have to say it’s going badly. After making it through week four on “middle difficulty level”, I tried week five. And tried again. And again. Week five kept kicking my ass.

So now I’m back to week four. But I’m doing the “hard” difficulty level this time (column three) and getting through it with push-ups to spare.  Today for example, I did sets of 27, 21, 21,18, and 30. So the good news is that I’m not completely plateaued; I’m still making forward progress.

I’ve been discouraged that a single set of 100 still seems well out of reach, but I realized something today. Having that goal out there serves as a good motivator for keeping up the push ups. When I reach 100, then what? Making progress is more fun than doing maintenance.

My body is showing some results too. I’m pretty sure I lack the big-burly-muscles gene, but I do believe my arms and chest are looking more toned and fitter. Vanity is a good motivator for exercise too.

Clackamas Hike

August 19, 2008

I went on a short hike this weekend, a MeetIn Portland event. It started on the Clackamas River, some miles past Estacada. First we had to cross the river to get to the trailhead. I’m not much of a swimmer, and the water was cold and there was a current, but we could wade most of the way. I flailed swam frantically across the deep bit, swallowing only one gulp of river-water, and then was across. (“You can stand up now!” shouted the people already on shore, pitying me.) We ferried across our belongings on a couple of inner tubes. I didn’t bring much, just my running hydration pack with a flashlight and a sandwich in it. A lot of people brought full changes of clothes, shoes, boots, etc. Those people are very lucky that their enormous packs didn’t cause the inner tubes to capsize.

Back on dry land, we followed an unmarked sometimes-barely-there trail away from the river and alongside a big creek. (Later research seems to indicate that this creek was actually the South Fork of the Clackamas, but if that’s right, the South Fork isn’t much of a fork… much smaller than the main branch.) It was a pretty creek, cutting a gorge through the hills and going over several waterfalls. Soon the trail went through a couple of short, large-bore tunnels someone, sometime had built through the rock. There was a lot of speculation about what all the old construction had been for. Water pipes? Hydroelectric? Mining?

After a side-trip to an old but still-sturdy bridge over the creek, and the foundations of an old building of some sort, we returned to the main trail, which shortly came to a log bridge. Over to the left was a nice view of a 100-foot waterfall. The view of the fall was especially good from the middle of the bridge. Not that I looked. The logs were remnants of an old bridge someone had built once, and there were two of them, right next to each other. They were long logs. Eighty feet? And the gorge was deep. Fifty feet? It didn’t seem likely you’d survive a fall. I watched a few people walk over, one at a time. Some people did it with both feet on one log. Some put a foot on each. Using both logs seemed safer balance-wise, but the weight coming on and off the logs that way caused them to flex up and down an alarming amount. How long had these logs been here? How rotted were they? How much more flexing could they take? If one snapped, would I be able to grab the other?

I went. I started off on one log. About ten feet in, that freaked me out and I switched to two. I shuffled across, watching my footing every inch of the way. They two-log technique had another problem: a lot of times there was a gap beween the logs, so watching your footing meant looking down between the logs, down to the creek ever so far down there… Yikes. Once I was across, I had a hard time even watching other people cross. One girl — a one-logger — even stopped in the middle to take a picture. My head span.

After the bridge was another tunnel, like the earlier ones only longer, and with a big metal pipe off to the side. After that was a scrambly trail up to the last tunnel. This one was long enough that we needed flashlights, and it was steep, too. The rock floor was uneven and wet and slippery. There was a wooden path in the middle, taking up most of the width of the tunnel, but it had large sections that were rotted away. At the top, we came out back at the creek, just a little above the big falls.

Making my way a little farther up the creek, I managed to fall in, bang up my left knee, and take a little ride down a rapids. It would have been kind of fun, but I was worried that my pack was getting wet and maybe my sandwiches were getting soaked. As it turned out, they were fine.

We came down the same way we went up. I tripped on the trail at one point, cutting my right knee, completing the pair. The log bridge was even worse on the second attempt. I’m not sure I could ever try for a third or fourth. Except for the bridge, though, it was a fun and interesting hike.

Hot. It was hot.

August 18, 2008

Saturday I ran up and back on the trail by Lacamas lake, over in Camas or wherever that is east of Vancouver. It’s about 25 miles from where I usually run with her, so I was surprised to see Kelly out there. She was leading a big gaggle of runners, part of the Portland Marathon Clinic‘s training runs. Checking their site, it looks like they were doing 16 miles from Fit Right Vancouver. Let me say, Saturday was a terrible day to be running 16 miles, especially on the exposed streets between to store and the lake. It was hot and sweaty and sunny and did I mention hot? It got up near 100 later in the day. Me? I wimped out and only ran seven miles, one out and back along the (mostly shaded) trail.

Running; Olympics watching

August 12, 2008

I ran 10.5 miles on Saturday, a Fanno Creek loop from the house. It was a pretty good run, one where I made a real effort to keep it slow. Monday’s five miler was also reasonably slow, about a nine minute mile average. I’m trying to make the majority of my limited weekly mileage about base building (or, really, base maintenance) and just throw in a bit of speedwork. My tendency is to try to make all my runs fast if I’m not running as much as I’m used to, and that’s probably not a good thing.

I’m sleepy today. Three days in a row of staying up too late to watch the Olympics is catching up with me. If only I could just get an East coast feed; I’d actually be seeing the “live” events live, instead of delayed for the west coast, and I’d get to bed three hours earlier. NBC are jerks for delaying the “live” coverage to get it into their prime time. (It’s also ironic that they show more “live” coverage when the Olympics are halfway around the world than they do when they are in the US, since the 12-hour delay pushes a bunch of daytime events into prime-time east coast hours.) That said, I’m relatively happy with NBC’s coverage so far.