Thursday, October 22, 2009

Will Running Kill Me?

I've wondered about this since I had a heart scare in 2006, when I was in the best running shape of my life. Is "obsessive" running bad for the heart? When I heard about deaths in Detroit last week, it rekindled the question in my mind.

The docs over at Science of Sport have a long post about it. Their conclusion:

"The reality is that people who die during exercise have some underlying, probably undetected condition that predisposes them to a cardiac event during exercise.
So in the light of the latest events, and until toxicology reports are in, deciding on the cause is premature. Agreeing that it's sad for all involved, but recognizing that it's not running that killed them, is the way to go!"

Run hard out there...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Exploring the mountains

(all images from Google Earth. Click to zoom.)

Sometimes the best runs are those that are begun without thoughts of time or mileage. Thanks to tools like Google Earth and GPS, it is easy to find places to explore right in your own backyard. As long as you respect private property and Leave No Trace, the world is at your, um, toetips.

My running buddy Jay and I spent most of Saturday exploring Fort Lewis Mountain. This mountain runs from Bradshaw Rd in east Salem, VA all the way to Ironto, west of West Salem. Its ridge line runs about 13 miles, making it one of the longest continuous ridges in the Roanoke area. The highest point on the mountain is around 3300 feet, but we started our run at around 1250 feet on the valley floor. We climbed about a mile through the Forest Acres neighborhood (including the new construction which seems to be continuously encroaching higher and higher). At the end of the asphalt, we left civilization and started our adventure.

4.5 miles later we were at about 3100 feet and we begin exploring the ridge. First we checked out what we thought was the summit to our right. We found a radio tower and some interesting stuff that seemed to be weather station related. As we started along the ridge, Jay suggested that we try to get in 20 miles for the day. 20 miles would be my longest run since March, by several miles. So I told him I would let him know later if that was in the cards.

One of our goals for the day was to find what our map called a "lookout tower." We ran for miles along the ridge in search of, but never finding anything resembling a lookout tower. We were following what appeared to be an old power or phone line, so we kept on running. Just as we were about to give up and turn around, Jay spotted a tall radio tower just ahead. His discovery led us to a complex of FAA towers and radio towers. Pretty neat stuff.

We had come 12.5 miles out and we both had places to be and people to see later that evening. Our goal for the day was to get in a good run and explore this unfamiliar ridge. We reveled in success as we turned around and headed back. The "back" was about an hour faster than the "out," not hard to do when you consider how much of it was down hill.

What a great day to explore the mountains!

Run hard out there.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cold and Miserable

I rode my bike to work this morning. It was dry and 51 degrees. Shorts and a long sleeve wind jacket proved to be too much and I had a good sweat going by the time I got to work (rarely a goal, given that I have no showers available in the morning). By lunchtime, it had dropped 10 degrees outside. It was windy and raining hard.

A few of us ignored the weather and went out for a quick run and a workout. All I could think was how happy I was that Hellgate weather was finally coming to town.

The workout?

1 mile jog to the park, then a prison workout (descending sets) starting at 10 of:
Burpees, push-ups, crunches
Run 50 yards,
repeat until done.

12 minutes later we were done with the workout, and continued for another couple miles back to downtown.

It was cold and miserable. I was in Heaven.

Run hard out there.