Snapshot While Running

Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/2700 sec, ISO101
“Cloud up the Hill” Cedar Park, 2020

This is one of the longer hills near our house but the school bus gave me an extra bit of motivation to power up it today.

When facing a big hill, I usually think of a saying: “Just keep your legs moving and let the top of the hill come to you.” It’s worked every time! 😊

Have a great day!

As Seen on Today’s Run

Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/1300 sec, ISO100
“Scortch” Cedar Park, 2020

Today’s route took me around Koa’s high school, where I took a few photos, saw a mountain biker head off into some trees, followed him and found some nice trails and a shortcut to the adjacent neighborhoods. Lots of fun exploring! Of course, Koa said these “secret” trails are used by the cross country team. But still, new to me!

Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/220 sec, ISO100
“Trail” Cedar Park, 2020
Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/900 sec, ISO100
“Lone Star Shadows” Cedar Park, 2020
Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/1600 sec, ISO100
“New Normal” Cedar Park, 2020
Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/125 sec, ISO100
“Drum Brake” Cedar Park, 2020
“Stencil” Cedar Park, 2020

Triple Exercise

“Evening Stats” Cedar Park, 2020

Wow, what an active day that I had! The weather was fantastic in the morning, so I headed out for a short 2.5 mile run. I often run (and bicycle) to the elementary school that Bay and Koa attended, and it is always a mental pick-me-up as I remember the good times watching them grow up. It seems like just yesterday they were attending Cox Elementary!

As I ran by the front, I took a photo of this sign, which shows the first phase of the re-opening during the pandemic. I hope this the the only time they will have a sign like this on display.

Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/1200 sec, ISO100
“Reopening” Cedar Park, 2020

In the evening, I had to go for a bicycle ride around the neighborhood, and that included both Cox Elementary again and the other elementary school on the other side of the neighborhood and the football stadium that is used by the district’s high schools. At that time I was treated to a nice sunset:

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO200
“Sunset” Cedar Park, 2020

On my way home, I received a text message from Koa asking if I wanted to throw the baseball over at the school, so I headed over to Cox for the third time today! We threw the ball until it got dark (and my arm was tired) and then came home to my second shower of the day.

It was a lot of physical activity (running, cycling, baseball) but I feel great! Thankful for my relatively good health as I approach age 52. Whee!

10K Challenge Complete

“11k” Cedar Park, 2020

Today there were plenty of clouds and the temperature was only 89° F when I headed out for a run. These cooler conditions let me run farther today than I did a couple of days ago when I wilted under the intense Texas sun. There was also a really nice breeze so I totally enjoyed the run (more of a jog, really) and was able to complete my September 10K challenge early. Yay!

Hitting that milestone again is great, but what is really neat is that I wasn’t tired. I could have gone farther if I had more time.

When I was in my twenties, I used to run a lot and I noticed that there’s a point in your training at which it seems you can just keep running indefinitely. It’s a really neat feeling because you stop worrying about how far from home you can go on your route, and instead are free to wander down different streets and trails on a whim.

I used to enjoy exploring the city of Monterey Park where I lived at the time, and later when I moved to West Los Angeles and the area around UCLA. It’s kind of my goal to keep my legs in just enough shape to stay in this level. When I visited China a couple of years ago I could explore around the hotels without worry, and when we visit my mother-in-law in Osaka, I love cruising around the city. Even visiting my folks in my hometown of Torrance, I can run to the ocean and back. It’s so fun!

I like this kind of motivation for running, rather than something like losing weight. It’s something to look forward to for sure. I guess it’s about the journey rather than the destination. There are lots of cool things to see and hear while running (an bicycling too). I really enjoy it.

Thoughts While Running Hot

“Run in the Heat” Cedar Park, 2020

Today there was a heat advisory for the area where we live, but I wanted to try to get a 10 km run in to meet my August 10k Challenge in Strava. The 11:30 am start was later than I wanted, but oh well… the temperature was still only 89° F, which is below my cut-off of about 93° F. So I drank plenty of water and headed out.

There was a slight breeze which meant it was a bit cooler unless it was a tailwind, in which case it was like no wind at all. And the air temperature was fine. The big problem was the sun. It felt extremely intense today, and any time it was directly on me, I could feel my temperature rising quickly. Sure, it wasn’t optimal, but it did give something new to think about.

I’ve been meditating daily for a while now, and so I try to attune myself to how my mind wanders, and the thoughts I have. While running, I try to see where my mind goes on its own, but also have to keep track of how my body feels. With the hot weather, top of the list is making sure I don’t succumb to heat exhaustion (which I read about in the heat advisory alert on my phone earlier). Long ago I wrote a blog post about how when I run, I sometimes imagine my body as a mecha-robot from a Japanese anime, and my brain is the pilot sitting in the head. I still have that same idea, but now try to classify the random thoughts that come into my head. Perhaps they are like messages that flash onto the pilot’s computer screen. Some of the messages are related to the run, some are not. For instance, a thought about work might enter my mind. In my mech-robot, this is an incoming message across the computer monitor. Or remembering the heat advisory. This is also a message, but something more pertinent to the activity. At the same time, the pilot (my mind) has a dashboard of gauges and meters to watch. These are things like what my body temperature is, how hard my lungs are working, if I feel any soreness or pain in my muscles, or if I feel something truly alarming like getting the chills. The last example would be a flashing red emergency alert telling me that heat exhaustion is likely.

So those thoughts kind of run through my head on each run.

But today the extreme sun got me thinking about where I should run, specifically, should I run in the street or on the sidewalk. Here’s a list of pros (and cons) as I see it:

    • In the street (against oncoming traffic) – The asphalt is easier on your body, as it is softer than the concrete, especially in the summer. There are less cracks and bumps in the road as compared to the sidewalk, so running in the street requires less constant attention to the road surface. FYI, running against traffic is safer because you can see cars coming your way, and when there are none, you can edge out into the street farther to ensure social distancing if necessary. If you run with the traffic (on the right side of the street in the US), you will not be aware of cars coming from behind.
    • On the sidewalk – More shade. That’s pretty much it.

Today I ran on the sidewalk. I can’t remember the last time I did that, but the sun felt so intense that I decided it was the safer option. As you can see in today’s photo, the left side of the street was not very inviting while the right side looked nice and shady.

Anyways, my planned 10k route would take me on a stretch that had no shade at all, so when I looked at that long straight baked by the Texas sun, I said no way, and turned around to run on more shade-friendly streets.

While I didn’t complete my 10k, I did put in a decent distance which will make next month’s 10k challenge easier to accomplish.

I hope you had a cool day! またね~