Recovered from trip

I managed to sleep for 8 hours within a 12-hour period for two days in a row, so I declare myself cured of jetlag. Granted, interrupting my sleep for dinner may strike some as less than ideal, but having odd sleep hours is par for me. The important thing is that I'm no longer waking up after 4 hours, desperately thirsty and/or exhausted yet unable to sleep again.

As promised, on the day after I got home, I went for a 10.6 km run. It was... well, part of me wants to say "pathetic", since it too me 59 minutes. On the other hand, I was very short on sleep, food, water, and energy. And there's lots of people who couldn't manage a 1-hour 10 km run even in the best of health. Still, I'm not happy with that time. But it took quite a bit of forcing myself to achieve even that -- I hit "the wall" (NB: this is a runner term, not a literal wall) at 8.5 km, and ended up running the final 10 minutes with a wide-eyed look of pain. It also took me three days to be able to ascend/descend stairs normally. That far exceeds by benchmark for having pushed enough.

It was quite neat, though. I woke up at 3:50am, just as the sky was starting to lighten. I had a very leisurely breakfast while reading emails and whatnot, then drove to the park at 6am. Driving a car after only taking transit in Singapore was a real treat -- no waiting, no crowds. Just you, the massive acceleration (in comparison to human movement), the freedom to point the car wherever you want (modulo the traffic laws)... yeah. I've never quite enjoyed driving so much as I did that morning; probably in part because I'd talked to a few people in Singapore about public transit and the North American love affair with cars. Yes, this might make me an evil planet-butchering capitalist pig, but I don't want to sacrifice driving for 10-15 minutes each week.

After the day after I got back, I didn't really do much. Ate when possible, slept when possible, played computer games, watched anime, and answered a few emails. Not productive in the least, but hey, I figured I deserved a week off.

Today I went for another run. My time was only 56 minutes -- I expected to have improved much more over my initial time, since I wasn't tired. However, I think the problem is my muscles, not my cardiovascular system. I wasn't the least bit out of breath this time, but I was still in pain. I could have pushed myself more and shaved off a few more minutes, but I was being sensible (for once) and decided that it really wasn't a good idea.

As I hobbled up and down the stairs at home, I started to wonder if my current running practices were good at all. I mean, even with my "not forcing myself", it'll still probably take a day to regain normal stair movement. I'm particularly troubled by my knees; they shouldn't be this stiff after a run.

I started looking at few webpages about running. It's no surprise that my posture is totally wrong, but as I read more, I encountered an idea I first heard while in Singapore (it must have been from a BBC documentary): barefoot running. The basic idea makes sense: when you run barefoot, you run completely differently than you run when you have shoes on. I mean, you'd never slam your bare heels down on concrete -- so why am I slamming my (slightly padded) shoed heels down on the ground? And humans evolved to run without shoes. Also, the world's best long-distance runners (Kenya, Ethiopia) tend to run barefoot.

There were other arguments about the kinesiology, looking at weight distribution, bone structure, etc etc, but I'm hopeless at biology so I didn't really pay attention to that. Granted, barefoot running tends to be practiced by hippies... but then again, I'm a hippie -- at least in the digital realm (open source is terribly hippieish) -- so hey, why not?

I think I'll give it a shot for the next two or three weeks. Not for long-distance running; it takes time to adjust to a new running style. I'll go to a track and practice there.

In other plans, I'll start seriously catching up on my LilyPond work tomorrow. I want to have most of the organizational stuff finished within two weeks, so I can move on to actual coding. Once that's under control -- or perhaps even before that, just to give me a break -- I'll revisit the MEWER game. With a few more bugfixes, it could be quite useful for people getting ready for the WCAMS summer music camp.

Posted at 2009-06-04 10:40 | Permanent link | Comments

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