Turkey Run

Here in the US, there are two occasions in a year, that people are strongly compelled to exercise. During these times there is a considerable spike in gym attendance. This is based at least in my observation and purely my opinion only.

The first one is during early January, when everybody is jumping on the band wagon for the New Year’s resolution to exercise, lose weight, and join the gym. However by the end of January, some if not most of them, have already fallen off the wagon.

The second occasion is right after Thanksgiving, when many are feeling guilty they over ate during the holiday. According to one study, an average American will gobble 3000 calories during Thanksgiving dinner. But with all the snacking throughout the day, it can easily amount to 4500 calories in that day alone.

Some will reason that they can burn all those calories when they go shopping on Black Friday. However, unless you go jumping rope while shopping or you’re hauling or carrying a piano, the amount of calories burned is not even close.

One exercise physiologist estimated that in order for a 160-pound person to burn 3000 calories, he has to walk 30 miles. Or if you want to burn them faster, you can run. For 4 hours!

So this weekend, I avoided the gym altogether since I know it will jam-packed. This morning, I decided to run outside instead.

The problem is during this season, in this part of the world, it is already pretty cold. In fact, we already had snow and freezing rain this past week. Today is no different, the temperature was subfreezing.

Good thing is that I have invested on nifty cold-weather running apparel that I can be warm and toasty even if the temperature is below freezing. So I layered up, summon the spirit of the Black Ninja runner  (see previous post), and ran.

I was a little chilly when I started but by the second mile, I was already feeling warm that I took off the hood from my head. By the third mile, I already unzipped my outer layer. I ended my run after 4 miles, and I was all sweaty and hot that I even took off my jacket, at least temporarily, as I was walking to cool down.

I checked on my smart phone, and the temperature was a nippy 29º F (-2º C).

I believe my run will partly burn off all the turkey I ate. Though I still have to burn all the kare-kare* and krema de fruta*, which were what I really feasted on during the Thanksgiving dinner.

Now I’m feeling hungry. Where’s the left over kare-kare?

(*traditional Filipino dishes)

Ninja Runner vs Polar Vortex

It’s dead of winter. But I ran 3 miles outside today!

Before you declare that I am a little crazy, well, I know that already. Yet hear me out.

After last week’s polar vortex which plunged our temperature in the arctic range, we are enjoying a slight break today. During the cold blast, the mercury here in our place plummeted to -15 F (-26 C), with wind chill in the -20 to -30 F. It was so frigid last week that school was forced to close, not from snow, but just from the bitter cold. It was so frosty across the US and Canada that I have seen photos that the mighty Niagara Falls froze and stopped flowing.

But today was different. The thermometer reading have wandered above freezing. It was even a few digits higher than the freezing point that the ice coating the roads have melted and it was not slippery at all. It was a heat wave!

So that’s why I decided to go out for a run. We may never have another “warm” day like this for a while. In fact, it was a balmy 37 F, when I went out this morning.

Besides, over the years I have invested on high-tech cold running gears. They were light-weight yet warm. (See previous escapades of Black Ninja runner). If I layer up and use my nifty apparel, I can run comfortably outside as long as the temperature is not in single digits (F) or lower.

Even though I can run in an indoor running track inside a gym, or in a treadmill, nothing beats running outside in the open. To feel the sunshine on your face, breathe the chilly air, while winter birds cheer you on, is so liberating.

Here is the man-made lake that I usually pass over during my morning run. The water was frozen over. Should I try to run over it?

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Here is what it looks like during summer.

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I have not been running consistently for the past month or so, so I took my time in completing the 3 miles. After about 40 minutes, I came back home exhausted yet feeling fulfilled.

In keeping up with this trend of self-portrait photos, below is my selfie.

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As you can see I traded my Black Ninja look for a more colorful gear. Green Ninja? Oh, Ninja Turtle!

Because it was still cold, even after running for more than 30 minutes, I don’t think I even broke out a sweat, not until I went inside the house. The first 3-mile run of the New Year. No sweat at all!

Now my muscles hurt. Should I ice it? Or maybe I can just go outside to cool them.

Multiple Personalities

You have met the Black Ninja before. He is a fearless runner and is not afraid of rain, cold, or snow. But is scared of “black ice,” for he is not fond of slipping and sliding on icy road. He does not know how to use a samurai sword.

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Then you met the Lone…..ah….er….. the Wrong Ranger. He loves to take a hike and climb mountains. He does not have a horse, and does not know how to ride one. He’ll appear for a photo shoot, only to disappear in the shadows.

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And now, I introduce you to Lance (under)Armstrong. A cyclist wannabe. A slow rider. But is not afraid to get sweaty. The only thing that is “strong” is the “underarm.” He really needs to take his shower.

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What? Who are you calling Dr. Jekyll?

Black Ninja Runs Again

I woke up today and decided that I will run outside. It is the first day for Daylight Savings Time (DST) this year. That means, Spring is in the air!

I looked at the temperature gauge outside and it was a few degrees above freezing. The snow that has blanketed our surrounding for most of the winter has largely melted and what was left were small patches. You may say that it was still too cold to go outside, but hey, I was wearing my Black Ninja running gear. Ninjas are fearless and are not afraid of anything, not even frosty weather.

The sun was nowhere to be found, even though it was already 8 o’clock (DST), as dark clouds hang over the sky. In fact it was even drizzling. But since it was at least 35 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) that means the rain will not freeze over the ground, and I will not encounter Black Ice (see post about Black Ice here).

I was already running for about a mile, when I have noticed that my eyeglasses were fogging and fine precipitations were misting my vision. I also became aware of the gusty winds, and that the drizzle was getting stronger. But Ninjas are not afraid of the rain. Besides, I was too far out already to turn around, might as well press on.

As I continue to run, I started to enjoy the morning even though it was not a picture perfect day. I have also observed that the migratory birds were back.

Here are the ducks, geese and swans taking a leisurely swim in the cold foggy morning.

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I completed my run without any major snag, though I have taken off my glasses the rest  of the way. Ninjas don’t just rely on sight, they can feel their way with their keen sense of hearing, smell and “Ninja” sense.

Yes, I may be a little out of breath and may have a little muscle soreness after the run, but it just feels so good to be out again, and breathe the cool misty air.

The Black Ninja runner strikes again! Next on my running gear wish list: eyeglasses with wipers.

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Black Ninja runner

(*At the time of posting, the rain has turned into snow once again. Will the Black Ninja tread through snow? Until next time….)

Cool Running of the Black Ninja

Running is a simple sports. You don’t need a lot of equipment or gears. Just a good pair of running shoes and the endless road ahead of you. Well, not quite. Not if it is cold.

There is winter running apparel available in sports stores, that are light and yet warm. However, even with these gears, once the temperature is in single digits (Fahrenheit), or worse if it’s below zero, they don’t feel warm enough at all. And I am not recommending running with a parka on.

Of course one can run indoors in a gym. Although, running in a treadmill is so unnatural for me. It is really boring. If it is just a mile, well, I can bear it. More than that, I just feel like I’m running and not going anywhere at all. For that is exactly what it is!

There are also indoor running tracks, which fortunately the gym where I am a member has. One lap is 0.1 mile. Actually, this is where I usually run in the winter. Again, after running more than a mile or so, it feels dull and repetitive. It is like running in circles. Then again, because that is exactly what it is!

I still prefer to run outside. Feel the wind in my face. Breathe the crisp cold air. Enjoy the beautiful winterscapes. Run and really go somewhere, and not just in circles. As long as I don’t freeze to death.

Last Sunday morning, our temperature wandered above the freezing point. 33 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 Celsius) to be exact. I know it was still cold but I decided it was a good day to run outside.

My wife said that I was crazy. I admit, maybe  just a little bit. She even took pictures of my craziness.

heading out our walkway

I donned my cold weather running gear, complete with thermals, gloves and balaclava headgear, which I just call my Ninja mask. There  was snow on the ground but the road was plowed and cleared. No problems, so I thought.

Ninja runner. Where’s my sword?

When I stepped outside, it was foggy and even gently drizzling, but it was not too cold at all. However, I have not gone far when I noticed that something is not quite right. It was very slippery!

With the temperature right about the freezing point, the fine rain freezes when it hits the ground forming a very thin coat of glazed ice on the road surface. They usually call this “black ice,” as it is unnoticeable until you step on it or drive on it, thus making it very dangerous. If there is Black Ninja, there is also black ice. I was not prepared for ice running or should I say ice skating.

I had no choice but to turn back and return home disappointed. I may be a little crazy, but not crazy enough to risk myself slipping or falling and breaking a leg.

returning back already on our driveway without even breaking a sweat

I wondered, if there is winter tires for cars, maybe there is winter running shoes with ice and snow traction. As I googled it up, I found out that there really are. I must have one of those.

Or maybe I can even have Ninja spikes shoes so I can tramp black ice and can also scale walls and trees. Who said I’m crazy? Huh? Are you talking to me?