Thursday, June 28, 2007

Deep focus

In preparation for shooting the documentary that will eventually accompany this blog and a successful marathon run, I have been learning a little bit about film making. One of the things that I've learned is that with traditional film, there's typically one object (or character, or group) in a scene which has focus, while the rest of the scene is somewhat out of focus. To get an entire scene at the same focus level, the filmmaker uses a deep focus lens.

Shooting with digital equipment, such as consumer-grade mini-DV, has many advantages. One "problem" that I've discovered is that mini-DV suffers is that all scenes are in deep focus by default. This probably won't be much of a problem for a documentary. But if I were shooting a different type of movie, it might cause an issue.

I've read elsewhere that to make digital look like film, I move the camera further away from the action and use zoom. But I've also read in other places that it's always better to move the camera in close instead of using zoom. I'm a bit confused on this point, but, it shouldn't have an impact with the documentary. If I discover it does, maybe I can remove the "deep focus" problem in post ;)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Upcoming 5K race

I know from reading online that many runners will "train through" a race on their way to a marathon, and there's a local 5K coming up in just over a month. But I've heard others say to never train through a race, because training and racing are two distinct activities. What does everyone here think? Should I train through the 5K, or keep my eye on the bigger race in October?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I'm not sure how frequently I'm going to be able to post updates to the blog. I'm sure I'll be able to post at least once a week, but I'm not going to be able to maintain the once-per-day I was hoping for. With my limited amount of time this summer, I'd rather spend it actually running.

Monday, June 18, 2007


When I started running a few weeks ago, I started with just my every-day shoes. I had read all the advise online about getting new running shoes before starting, but thought that what I had was good enough to start with. I couldn't have been more wrong. My lovely wife bought a new pair of running shoes for me (our feet are nearly identical, so she can always buy my footwear and know it's going to have a correct fit) as a gift, and I was finally able to tackle a mile on the hills around my home without stopping to walk at any point. I probably could have kept going, but I still had to shower and get ready for work. I'll save an attempt at a longer run until Saturday.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Running Fast and Injury Free

I've been reading quite a bit about the POSE method of running over on RunningMonkeys and decided to do a bit of a follow-up research on my own. What better time to learn a new running method than when you're first starting out? Less bad habits to break ;) In the process, I've discovered a free book online called "Running Fast and Injury Free" by Gordon Pirie. From what I gather, not being a follower of the running world, is that the method is the same, or very similar, to the POSE method, minus the drills. I'll start reading it this week and post a follow-up once I'm done.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Training: Week 2 Review

This week has not been a good week for training. I talked about the disruptions yesterday, and you could argue that this week has been a step backwards. But the fact that I've run at all this week is a positive note, so I'll build on that.

I've managed to do a couple of my short, 10-minute, runs this week, instead of the 30-minute daily runs I was hoping for. Tomorrow, I'll do at least 30 minutes at a local park like I did last Saturday, and then leave this week behind.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


So far, this week has been full of disruptions from my routine. For some reason, I have felt exhausted. Last night, I may have solved part of this problem when I discovered that the humidity setting on my CPAP machine inadvertently was set at the lowest setting. When this happened is anyone's guess. Mine is that it happened right before I started feeling this way.

Also related to the CPAP machine: I thought the aerophasia was getting better and nearly a thing of the past. Boy, was I wrong?! I've woken up every morning this week feeling like I shouldn't move for about an hour. If I don't adjust soon, I should probably consider adjusting my running schedule instead.

Finally, this week is finals week at school. Even though I took a light load, two computer classes, I really didn't attend class regularly because of my familiarity with the subject. This means that I don't know the expectations of the instructor of those classes, so I have to actually study for the exams.

With all of the above going on, I've taken to running every other morning this week. While I'm a bit disappointed by it, and with only doing the 10-minute runs that I started with last week, I've stuck with it and run what little I can. In the past, I would have called this week a bust and pushed everything off until next week (making it easier to push it of until the next week, and then the next, and so on...) So maybe this week has been progress after all.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Tracking runs with FavoriteRun

I've recently discovered a website called FavoriteRun which allows you to enter routes that you run and also enter activity. I've been using it for about a week now, and it's certainly a convenient way to log all of your runs. Here are the features of the site I've used so far:

Creating a new route

It's pretty straight-forward to create a new route. You'll enter a name for the route, which is the only required field, followed by the city, state, and country that the route is in. There's also a field for you to enter a description of the route into. Following that is a field for the type of route. Your choices are running, cycling, walking, other, hiking, and triathlon. You can also set the route to private or upload pictures.

Finally, there's a map, centered on the location you enter as your starting point when you sign up. You simply click on the map to create a waypoint. Create a second waypoint to create a leg. Be sure to create waypoints at bends in the road if the route is along one, otherwise the leg will be a straight line between your waypoints. If this the route is a loop, just keep entering waypoints along the way until you're back at the start. If you want to run a route that takes you to a location then back along the same path, once you're at the end waypoint, you can click on "Route Back to Start" to do so for you. And if you create a waypoint in error, you can click it to remove it. Once you are satisfied with the route, click on "Save."

Log an Activity

It's also pretty straightforward to log an activity. First, you chose the type of activity from a list of the same types available for creating a route. Then, enter a duration. It's a required field, but you can leave it at all zeros if you'd like. The next required field is the distance, or you can optionally choose a route from a dropdown to fill it in automatically. You can also enter a description, the date and time, and whether to set the activity as public or not.


The final option I've used, though there are many more options available with a free account, is option to view my logs. This shows all the activities that I've entered in a nice report, including my pace for each activity if I didn't leave the duration as all zeros when I entered it.


Overall, not a bad site for keeping track of your running (or other activity). There are lots of other features that I haven't checked out yet, and even more if you upgrade your account to a premium membership. You can upgrade your account for $2.49 per month or $11.95 per year, which includes a bunch of features that look useful. Even with the free account, it sure beats logging everything on paper.

(Update: Please note that this is *NOT* a sponsored post.)

Monday, June 4, 2007

When do you run?

On workdays, I like to get up and run around 5:30 or 6:00 AM. On Saturdays and holidays, I might sleep in a little, but prefer to run upon waking up. This tends to keep me from running during the heat of the day.

However, I suffer from aerophasia (which occurs when you swallow air) caused by the CPAP machine which is being used to treat my sleep apnea. On days that the discomfort is significant, which is thankfully less and less often, I have two options. First, I can skip a run. If it's been awhile since I skipped a run and it's mid-week, I might chose this option to give myself a second recovery day. If it's the beginning or end of the week, I'll take my second option, as two days off in a row is a real motivation killer for me.

My other option, the one I prefer to take, is to run in the evening on those days that I can't run first thing. It's harder to motivate myself for an evening run during this summer heat, but not as hard as it is to motivate myself after two days off in a row.

So, what time of day do you run?

Friday, June 1, 2007

Training: Week 1 Review

This has been pretty much my first week of running. I actually started running a couple of months ago. But after a few weeks, I was forced to stop for a few weeks. So I count this as week one. Also, it's been more like a pre-training period. I've done short runs of about 10-15 minutes every day this week, working on getting my muscles used to the activity. It has also helped to get me into the right frame of mind and gage where I'm at now so that I know how much progress I need to make before October 21. Here's how the week has gone so far:

Monday - Since it was a holiday and I didn't have to work, I ran for 10 minutes in the early afternoon.

Tuesday - I started doing my early-morning, workday, runs, doing another 10 minutes this morning.

Wednesday - I was starting to feel it, even with these short runs, so I ran 5 minutes, walked 5, and ran another 5.

Thursday - Breaking up the run yesterday with some walking seemed to help, so I felt good today and did the 10-minute run again.

Friday - I could have done the 10-minutes straight again today, but I'm planning on doing a slightly longer run on Saturday. So I did the 5-5-5 thing again today.

Saturday - This week has been more pre-training, sort of a "getting my feet wet" type of thing, and I plan to cap it off with a 30 minute run.

The reason I've started so slow is two-fold. First, I need to adjust to getting up earlier in the morning. Second, if I run more than 5 minutes in one direction from my home, I wind up running on fairly steep hills. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I didn't want to throw up an obstacle that discourages me right out of the gate. My run tomorrow will be at a local park, where I can do 30 minutes on flat ground.

Looking forward to next week, I'll be returning to my local roads to do my running on Monday, without fear of the hills. I'll increase my daily running time to about 30 minutes, capping it off with a longer run on Saturday again.

Welcome to Run!

Welcome to Run! One Geek's Journey from Couch Potato to Marathon Runner. I plan on taking you on my journey as I break out of my old, sedentary, lifestyle and prepare for the Columbus Marathon in October. I also plan to shoot a documentary of the experience, so from time to time I may post about that as well. This will primarily be a runner's blog, though, so I'll try to keep those posts to a minimum. I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I do.