I’m sure I’m not alone in my constant procrastination, and it’s time to do something about it.
Blogging has been on the backburner for too long. Good things are happening, and it’s time to share. I’m not going to worry some much about “crafting” my writing (since I’m not a writer), I’m just going to write. The biggest news for me: Running is fun again!
My Achilles seems to be pretty good for the most part. There are occasionally still times when it hurts, but the intensity and duration are lessened. I’m on 5 days a week, mostly following a Hal Higdon marathon schedule. Last week I ran with the R-U-N group for the first time in a million years and that was a blast. There’s a guy David who is pretty fast and I tried to keep up with him, and that was a great chase. The group is meeting again tonight and I have just enough time to write something…
An observation for you: I’m running the same greenway 5 days a week, at about the same time each day. Without fail, I see the same little old man walking the path. He seems very happy, and probably he waves or smiles at everyone. Whenever I passed him, I’d wave at him and he’d wave back. We don’t know each other, and I’ve never stopped and talked to the guy. But I’ve seen him so many times, I sort of feel like I know him. And now it’s gotten to the point where I can’t stop smiling when I see this old guy out there, in the heat, walking and smiling at everyone.
I’m tempted to stop and ask his name, just so I can say “Hi Fred! (or whatever his name is) when I see him. But I’m not skilled in the art of introduction, so I may just let that go. It may be enough to enjoy things as they are, and not want more.
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I just completed the fourth week of the 100 push up program! I’m elated, but not looking forward to week 5 and 6. This week was tough and I’m thinking about repeating the week. I will make 100 pushups. Perhaps this weekend I’ll see how many I can do in a single go.
That’s my entry to get myself back on track. An injury sucked all the gun out of running, but now, things are starting to look up. There’s plenty more good news I’d like to share.
“Fun” may be stretching it a bit, but today’s run was a good one.
My mom loves play Bingo. Today, there was a special, so she wanted me to go with her. ( I don’t really like to play, I only go for her sake.) We’d leave at 6pm and get back around 10. If I chose to go, I’d have to run before we left, which meant running at 3, pretty much in the heat of the day. Okay, so what if it’s a million degrees out! I’m from Texas, I can handle the heat, right? And why don’t I run a couple of errands just to make things interesting?!
Oh, and did I mention this would be my first double-digit run in almost three months?
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The high was (only) 97, and yeah, it was pretty dang tough. What’s worse is I couldn’t find my sunglasses. I ran some trail and some paved, staying in the shade whenever possible. Usually I don’t sweat much, but today, I was sweating like nobody’s business! In fact I weighed myself before and after the run, there was almost a four pound difference.
And as much as I hate wearing a Camelback, they are helpful days like this. The peace of mind that comes from knowing that you have enough water is worth the sweaty back. Having food is pretty nice, too. Today, I brought a Powerbar Vanilla gel and one of their new fruit gels. The vanilla gel is one of the few gels I actually like. It’s kind of a strong fake vanilla, but I like it. I just wish it had caffeine in it. The fruit gel I did not eat. I tried one a couple of weeks ago, and it was just okay. I think it’s basically baby food in a different, more expensive package.
My first errand was to deposit cash at my bank. Not even 4 miles in, I was fantasizing about how great the AC in the vestibule would feel. Usually it’s ridiculously cool. Usually, but not today. Dammit Chase! I lingered for a minute after my transaction, hoping maybe it would get cooler… it wasn’t getting any cooler. Very well, to the libary! (sic)
The heat was working its magic, so I stopped and sat down. I saw a deer, it looked at me. I did that slow blink thing that’s supposed to relax cats (it shows you aren’t a threat) and it seemed to work on the deer. It went back to nibbling leaves.
I stared at a bright red flower. My gaze lost focus and then I could see everything. And those bugs, whatever those bugs are, singing their slow heat song. Everything was very still and it was beautiful. It was a very cool moment. Mighta been the influence of The Power of Now.
Or more likely it was just the heat.
10 minutes later, I’m in the library. The AC feels amazing. I drop off my overdue Ayurveda video, and head to the hold racks. The book won’t fit in my Camelback. Just as well, less for me to carry! I’d like to stay and absorb every molecule of this fantastic AC air, but I feel weird wearing my running get-up here, so I split. 7 miles down, 3 to go.
No, wait, I’m supposed to do 11 today, I’ve got 4 more to go. Fuuuuudge. I mean, awesome!
I tack on a short diversion. I stop and eat my gel, hoping it’s enough to get me through 4 more miles. As I get closer to my finish, I realize I’m going to have to run a bit more. I make it to 10 miles and turn around. I stop and pause under some shade only to discover some stickers stuck to my shorts from sitting in the grass. And a sliver has embedded itself into my finger. Sweating furiously, trying to use non-existent fingernails to extract the thing, I’m cursing my luck, cursing this heat, wondering why did I choose to run now just so I can go play a game I don’t even like.
And then I looked up and saw a deer staring at me.
I immediately snapped out of sourpuss mode. The sliver could wait till I got home. There was only one more mile to go. And I’d just completed my first double-digit run since forever!! And perhaps most amazingly, the whole run went down without a peep from my Achilles. Hot or not, this was a good run. I ran the final mile encouraged and much happier.
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I didn’t pay attention to the time when I got home. I was just making my post run smoothie when I noticed it was 5:55. Holy crap! That took me three hours?! I drank my smoothie faster than usual and iced my feet for a few minutes. I was totally beat and seriously contemplated bailing out, but I didn’t want to upset my mom.
I’m super glad I went because, wouldn’t you know it, I actually won a game! $475! Woo hoo! New shoes, here I come!
Sometimes doing stuff you’d rather not do pays off.
I don’t think I mentioned it, but during my run last Tuesday, I had a brand new injury appear out of the blue. I was afraid it was going to wreck both races, but thank my lucky stars it did not. Things worked out just fine and I am super relieved.
I was nervous about the 5K. I wanted to push hard, but was fearful about making the injury worse, especially for Sunday’s 13.1. It was very cool out, I ran around the parking lot to warm up. I could feel some slight pain, but hoped that would be it. Otherwise, I felt good. (And this may be TMI, but after two trips to the bathroom -one of which was five minutes before the start- I felt a lot better. It really sucks to run when you think your stomach might betray you at any moment.)
Before long, we were lined up and then we were running. I started my playlist, or at least I thought I did. I had an 18 minute playlist that I was hoping would carry me to an 18 minute finish. All uptempo, hard charging music. But the second song? 06 Jah Calling
At this point, I realized I’ve always used my iPod shuffle on random, and never bothered to figure out how to specifically play the playlist! D’oh! But Jah was calling for me to go easy the first mile, which I did.
The course was not the same as I’d run before, so my pacing felt off. I was shocked when we hit a turn around and were halfway home. And I must say that I hate turn arounds where you go around a cone and just turn around. I’d much prefer a gradual turn like a roundabout or something. This kind of turnaround just seemed lazy, like they couldn’t be bothered to figure out something more graceful. Perhaps expectations are lower in races that go through shopping center parking lots.
I started to pick up the pace and passed a few runners. My breathing was under control, but my heart rate was high. One of the guys I’d passed came back and passed me. I tried to keep up with him, but he wasn’t having it. He toasted me and I had to let him go. The last quarter-mile was tough. I gave it all I had. Cruising under the clock, I saw my time 19:32. (6:17 pace.) Not as good as I’d hoped, but under 20 minutes, which was my goal. The good news is, there’s plenty of room for improvement at the next 5K!
I developed a new-found respect for the 5K distance. As an aspiring ultra runner, a 3.1 mile race seems silly, but this race isn’t about distance, it’s about speed. It’s almost like an extended sprint. Which is doggone hard! And beautiful. It’s another way to see how much you can endure. Best of all, this test takes only 20 minutes instead of 20 hours! I definitely look forward to doing more of these, and training specifically for the event.
One race down, one to go.
It was another cold start. So cold (relatively speaking), that I was wondering if I should have worn more clothing. The wind made it seem way colder than it was. But I knew I’d warm up.
I had my dad try and take my picture with my iPhone. That was a comedy of errors as my dad is challenged by any technology from this century or last. After literally the fifth try, he got a picture.
I will definitely have to teach my dad how to use a camera one of these days…
So the race start was 7:45. I got an okay spot near the front. I was cold and nervous. There was a guy to my right wearing a Garmin that looked like it was from the 80’s. He had his arm in the air for a good four minutes trying to acquire satellites. I never heard a countdown and all of a sudden we were off.
Surprisingly, the crowd thinned out almost immediately and there was tons of room which was great, but weird. The wind walloped us the first two miles or so, but eventually died down. Or I stopped noticing it. One or the other.
I had no idea about the course other than this map below.
I can be really dumb sometimes, okay, a lot of the time, but I just now figured out how to read the map. It does tell you which direction to go! My point was I had no idea what to expect on the course. The good news is there was only one hill on the course, and it was no big deal at all. The hardest part was making sure I was following the arrows on the ground.
My mystery injury wasn’t bothering me, but then some other things pains made appearances. Most of them were brief, but noticeable. It made me think of that idea of intentionally inflicting some smaller pain to take your mind off of a bigger pain. Thankfully though, the second half of he run was pain-free.
When we got to Trinity University, we ran around the track. That felt great underfoot and was a welcome relief from the concrete. This was the halfway point and I didn’t even realize it. I had a gel with me that I had intended to use at the halfway point, but I didn’t want to stop or futz around with it. Plus I’d eaten a ton of quinoa two days in a row, so my glycogen was still good.
I looked at my watch and tried to math in my mind where I should be to hit my time goal. I had forgotten to write down my goal on my arm. Was it 1:35? 1:37? 1:39? I thought it was 1:35, which meant I should be at about 47 minutes, and I was at 49. So I freaked out and started running harder.
Even if I had written down my overall goal finish time, that information is basically useless. If I’m falling behind my pace, I need to correct that during the race, as early as possible, not near the end when it may be too late. They have rub on tattoos – “pace tats” – which have your time splits.
I’ve never used them before, but I now understand how they would be useful. With the pace tat, the info is right there. You just look at what mile point you’re at and your time, and you’ll know where you stand. Because the last thing you want to try to do during a race is math.
I may have to give those pace tats a try because I thought I had set up my Garmin for a virtual pacer, but didn’t get that to work. Honestly, I think I’m not really cut out to wear a Garmin. Or maybe I just need to find a Garmin for Dummies book. But back to the race.
I’m pushing hard now, and coming down a hill, I see a huge mass of runners coming up the hill. For some reason, that makes run even harder. I hate to think I was showing off, but maybe I was. A little bit. And so I showed off the last 4 miles, averaging about 6:35. I felt good!
The finish finally showed up and sprinted the last bit. I remembered to stop my watch. After I’d caught my breath, I looked and saw that I was under 1:35! (And actually, my goal was 1:37.) My Garmin had me at 1:29:32, for a 6:52 pace (and only 13.01 miles.) The race ticket had me at about the same thing. I was super happy that I’d made my goal and wouldn’t have to fret about it for the next few months. Although I will admit I was a little bummed because if I’d run five minutes faster, I could have gotten into the A Corral…
But for now, the races are over. Time to get healed up and ready to start building up the base.