I returned Wednesday night from a nine-day trip to the San Francisco Bay area for work and brought a little something extra home with me. There was the usual suitcase crammed with dirty laundry and a pouch filled with dozens of receipts for the expense report, but there was also an extra four pounds around my mid-section. I knew we were eating well, but I didn't realize just how well. The extra poundage comes at a bad time, as I've yet to shed my winter weight. And the fact that I just nonchalantly typed the words winter weight makes me want to punch myself in the face.
A rather unfortunate pattern has developed these past few years. The Seattle weather and increased workload of the late fall and winter conspire to shift my weight 10-15 pounds above what it is in summer, typically going from 188 to 200 pounds every season (for the record, I'm a smidge over six-feet in height). The problem is that both the lower and upper limits of this range have been creeping up ever so slightly each year. The creep apparently built up enough speed to make a full-blown leap yesterday. After these 9 days in Marin County my weight shot up to several pounds above my previous heaviest weight of all time. I'm not quite in fatass territory, but this is certainly not cool.
Apparently my periodic mountain biking and occasional working out with EA's Active 2 for Kinect is no longer enough. Not that I wasn't already excited about the improving weather and anxiously awaiting long days in the saddle on my mountain and road bikes, the true tale of the tape is thus: I need to start running again. But this time I need to ease into it gently. During my hiatus from blogging last year, I had gotten back into running. It was painful at first, as running always is if you haven't done it in a while (e.g. years). But my pace and endurance soon came back and I was back to doing regular 10 mile runs at a 7:30 pace within a couple months. A pace not even within the same zip code of what I was formerly capable of, but not shabby for someone who hadn't run in years. This unwillingness to hold myself back led to a stress fracture in my femur followed by some severe plantar fasciatis just in time for a couple 25k trail races I was doing with Kristin. I had custom orthotics made, but we just couldn't ever get the shape right. They seemed to hurt my arches even more. The pair I had from my days running track and XC in college were shot and the doctors convinced me that though I still had the molds from 1995, new ones were warranted.
Yesterday was bright, sunny, and warm enough to go running in shorts and a t-shirt (oddly enough, the mountain pass just 30 miles east of me got a bunch of snow later that night). I decided to charge up the Garmin Forerunner 305 and even downloaded the new firmware for it. While playing around on the computer I came across the site for Garmin Connect. It seamlessly blends the logging characteristics of the Garmin Training Center software that comes with your various Garmin fitness devices (I also have the Edge 305 for cycling) with Bing maps and does an absolutely fantastic job of presenting info for your workout, whether it be running or cycling or something else entirely. The ability to search the online database for routes from other users and download their workouts as courses to your device makes it all the better. Best of all, it corrects the elevation numbers. While the Edge 305 does a very good job of tracking cumulative elevation gain thanks to its barometric altimeter, the Forerunner series relies on GPS for elevation. The unit itself measures elevation very accurately, but the Training Center software does a laughably bad job of summing it all up.
For example, my 3 mile trail run yesterday is mostly flat. I've done the loop many, many times on bike and have always clocked it right around 150 feet of elevation gain. Well, yesterday Training Center told me it contained 551 feet of gain. Nonsense. But when I uploaded the data from the Forerunner 305 to Garmin Connect, it corrected the elevation and reported it as 151. You can see my workout file from yesterday here. The pace was pretty slow, and I decided to briefly walk a short bit after the 2 mile mark (where my pace drops) but it felt good to get back out there. Even if it means, predictably, that I'm sore today.
Going to go for a short ride on the Moots today to stretch the legs out and get the Stumpjumper ready for a ride tomorrow with some hammerheads I know. They're going to show me some trails up near Mt. Vernon I hadn't ever ridden yet. Can't wait. Then we're going bike shopping for Kristin, as she wants a proper road bike to go on group rides with some ladies she knows. Probably put our 20% off coupon to use and get her this one. Take it for a maiden voyage on Sunday if the weather isn't crummy, otherwise we'll probably go hiking or take the mountain bikes up to Poo Poo Point for a hill climbing cardio ride.
I recently discovered that the climbing gym we used to belong to will be opening a second massive new location at the site of a former Circuit City in Bellevue, about 25 minutes closer to my house than the location we used to go to. Kristin and I spent a year or so going bouldering twice a week and loved it up until the 45 minute drive got to be too annoying and the imbalance of my strength-to-weight ratio started to really hold me back. The new climbing gym is set to open on October 1st, 2011. My birthday. I'm really hoping to give myself a proper gift and get my weight back down to 185 (or less) by then so that I can better enjoy climbing and not be held back by my own unwanted mass.
Watch this space for updates.