I’m thinking about firing up the ol’ blog again, perhaps in a more generalist direction than it was aimed in years past. This morning I began receiving a rash of emails and phone calls regarding my inquiries for insurance coverage, student loans, and other consumer products that someone apparently requested using my personal contact information. How kind! How thoughtful of them! Resetting eight million passwords IS a great use of this beautiful spring weekend.
A phenomenon I was thinking about the other day is how many people will say, “have you been running lately?” or “still running much?” and I say, “yeah?” I think both my dad and one of my brothers asked me that last week and it usually happens with anyone I haven’t seen for a while. I haven’t ever stopped running, but I have stopped having much to say about it. I wouldn’t say I run a ton, but most days and it’s something to look forward to. So shines a good hobby in a weary world, if I might take the liberty of paraphrasing the late, great Willie Wonka. It’s a freaky world out there. Take your simple luxuries where you can find them and be thankful for them.
The first step of staying on track is making sure you have a plan. My goal is to feel productive, strong, and ready to tackle marathon training beginning in June/July for Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah. I have been running steadily, but with no structure whatsoever so on Monday morning, doubtlessly while acting like I was taking some important note, I scribbled down what felt like a reasonable guideline for my week; 3-4-6-7-5-4-4. I had already done 3 miles Sunday and Monday was a gimme after being up at 5:30 to drive back to Florence from my parents’ house. It is admittedly unambitious, but it feels good to more or less keep up with a schedule again. I say more or less because I ran more than planned on Monday, Tuesday, and today but knocked Wednesday down by a mile; felt bad since it was supposed to be the longest run of the week, but I was a loser and ate some grapes and crackers leftover from my lunch at 3pm at work, took a nap when I got home (usually I would eat a snack at home, loaf around, and run within an hour or so), and left to run around 7pm and realized I was running on empty after about two miles. The real victory was that I bought a Gatorade G2 two miles from home instead of candy at the CVS like my bad self was trying to tell me to. Pro tip: if you are running and your brain is like, “hey, you are really tired and you haven’t eaten in a while, but I am pretty sure if you ate some WILD BERRY SKITTLES you would feel really good and run fast until you get home in like 20 minutes,” your brain is lying because probably your jaw will hurt from chewing and you will have a gut ache. But I am not sure because I drank gross artificially flavored sports drink instead.
Tomorrow I have to force myself out of bed to run before work in the morning…another habit I have dropped while not training for anything, but what is the beauty of living two minutes from work if not sleeping until 7AM every morning? Then again, when will it ever be that convenient again to get up and run in the morning? I am mildly traumatized because the last time I did, I saw a turtle in the gutter, did not pull him out of the road because I didn’t want to be wiping turtle poop on my face for the next four miles while I sweated, and when I made it back to where he was, he had become crunchy turtle paste on the roadway. Sad.
On Saturday, I am going to run a 5k with my mom and brother, who is visiting from Colorado. I hope that by registering at the elementary school on my way to their house tomorrow night and by enlisting them to participate with me, I will manage to toddle myself out of bed and run some hills. Dream big!
I think I extended my running streak to something like six weeks solid before finally throwing in the towel in favor of some margaritas on a Sunday afternoon at home. Good deal, I would say. I thought I would get obsessed if I didn’t stop sometime. Since then, I have taken a day or two off, but have mostly stuck with 3-5 miles per day. Internship is still going well enough. I have seven weeks remaining and after that, I will have to figure out something else to do with myself. I wouldn’t mind a job that allows me to run all day and foam roll and eat large quantities of food, but I suppose my current gig of telling people to back off the sodas and eat some vegetables, punctuated with some running, isn’t the worst deal. I just need to work on the getting paid thing.
What else? I have been crutching on the treadmill at the hospital gym big time for the past few weeks. It started when pollen went up and my allergies were awful for a couple of weeks and then I just settled into the soothing sounds of Hoarders or Wheel of Fortune while getting reprieve from the evening heat. Has anyone noticed that Wheel of Fortune has gotten ridiculously hard while Jeopardy has gotten easier? True story. I know like half the Jeopardy answers and can’t solve a damn puzzle on Wheel of Fortune. Another really fun thing about being in Florence during the week and then visiting my parents’ house in North Carolina or my own house in Georgia on the weekends is that every single weekend I get to readjust to pollen wherever I go and experience a good hacking cough after going outside. So, there’s that. I ran a slow 5k a couple of weekends ago at Twilight. FUN.
I feel grossly out of shape which I attribute to doing stuff like a) running on the treadmill and watching TV and listening to music and b) just being lazy at heart or something. My weight is fine, but I do not feel fit at all. I think I need to do some other cardio besides running, but I am not motivated to do anything else except when I watch sports on TV. Yesterday, we were watching the Players Championship (not sure when I started to like watching golf, but I do) and my dad said maybe when I give up running I’d be a good golfer…no mental game for that, though. I would get mad and throw the clubs, which makes me think I’d be better at tennis where I could also get mad and throw the racket, but in better outfits. Basically, I need to throw some stuff. When I started dietetic internship, I told myself it was not the time to worry about being in good shape or keeping up running a lot of miles. There are other things to do first, but it’s one thing to tell yourself that and another to keep feeling like you are being really slack week after week after week.
Here’s nominal proof that I still run. I am wearing spandex, therefore you know I am running. You get sunglasses because you don’t want to know what my face looks like under there. Yowza. Bad deal.
The nice lake behind me that my head is obscuring.
Something good about feeling out of shape is when I go home, I don’t mind running with my dog who cruises like a 9:30 mile on a good day including pee breaks. See also: earning his undying love. He is so sweet and starts getting excited when he sees me getting running clothes out and then really loses it when I put my Garmin on and it starts beeping. I feel sad that I am not home much and hate to disappoint him when I don’t take him with me. He looks weird in this picture and that is why I like it.
I am still abiding by my short running streak, day 19. Weather has been awesome, making getting outdoors an easy, mindless task. However, I need someone to explain to me the climatological phenomenon that allows me to be running into the wind on both directions during my out-and-back run. Today I was getting blown backwards while running east, briefly south into a northwest loop, and west on my return with about 20 feet total where the wind was at my back.
Tomorrow I am driving to Rock Hill for two days. Joy of joys. Internship will not kill me, but sitting in the car for hours each week just might. I have still yet to do anything I should have done before leaving, such as pack or find a place to stay. Oh well, alarm is going off whether I am ready or not.
I have been lax in my posting, but what else is new? Nothing has really been happening since Houston and I have been keeping busy with my dietetic internship, so posting has fallen by the wayside in favor of getting a run in. Some days it is hard to make myself do anything when I am done at the hospital, partly because I’m tired and partly because of the options I have for running routes near where I am living. In reality, I am not THAT tired and in the interest of getting out and doing something, I have a little bit of a running streak started. I’ve run every day for the past 15 days. Just short runs (3-6 miles), but enough to be relaxing and motivating to get outside each day. I am not one to wax too poetic about one thing or another, but I have become a lot more appreciative of running as my own personal quiet time in the past couple of months. It is so good to have some time set aside for yourself to be alone and not staring at a screen or around other people and just think about whatever you want, or think about nothing if you can manage.
The days are starting to get longer, which is a definite improvement. All my runs have been so short because I generally leave my apartment, cross one street, and then run on one continuous sidewalk until I get to the hospital where I am interning. The hospital is two miles away. If I want to run three miles, my turnaround point is just after I run across an overpass – so I can usually make myself continue to the two mile mark before turning around in the interest of not having to turn around and immediately run back uphill to cross the overpass again. Easy choice – run a little further and put off the uphill return for a few minutes. Once I get to the two mile mark, I can again either turn around and head home or I can cross the street and run a lap around the hospital which tacks on a little less than a mile. It took me a while to figure that out, but since I did, it’s a lot easier to force myself to just tack some extra hospital laps onto my run especially because it’s so much quieter than running along the road home. So far I have been lucky not to see anyone I know while doing this.
I have major race envy, but also very little extra cash to sign up for distances I can easily run for free like 5k, 10k, etc. I want to find some cheap/local-ish half marathons to run in the spring and have a very itchy marathon-registration-finger for something sooner than the fall, but I have not found “the one” yet.
My internship is 26 weeks long and I just finished the ninth week, so there is your marathon metaphor right there. Far in enough to be invested, but if you are feeling tired now, you are probably going to see some ugly moments before you hit 26. Happily, I am really enjoying it and finish each day mostly (MOSTLY) feeling good. The time is going by quickly and sometimes that is the best thing you can ask for. Yesterday was a really good day, so I’m feeling a little more warm fuzzies than are probably typical of my day to day. I am not a “people person” at all, but the people are definitely my favorite part. Of course, that does not apply to every single person, but sometimes having one patient who is particularly friendly, interesting, or memorable will make my entire day. I’ll eventually get yelled at by someone and become a misanthrope, but for now it’s okay. I do spend a bit of time daydreaming about life post-internship.
When I got back to Crawford last night, I had this rad surprise from Brooks. Actually, it was not at all a surprise because Brian told me I had a package here two weeks ago and other IDers have been posting pics of their shirts for weeks as well, but I do love tearing my little hands into some mail. My sweaty post run hair+camera phone pic combo is a little rough, but I did spare you the side of my face with crackhead acne on it or the version of the pic where my dogs were doing some inappropriate licking in the background.
Okay, bye! Hopefully see you sooner than later.
Marathon #6 and the first of 2011 is over and done. I had an awesome time in Houston and would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in running a big event. Going into it, I was concerned about my lack of training and how bad it was going to feel to run when I haven’t run more than 13.1 in a few months. I finished in 4:35:26, which is my slowest time to date, and considering that I didn’t “train” for it, that is fine by me. No use griping if you didn’t put in the work; I’ve trained my butt off and run only a few minutes faster, and I was really worried I was going to be walking a lot more at the end due to generally feeling crappy during my runs for the past couple of months.
My brother lives in Missouri City, which is south of Houston, and he dropped me off around 6:15AM on Sunday morning. They had been forecasting 50-70% chance of rain and thunderstorms throughout the morning and into the afternoon, so I flew to Houston not knowing if I was even going to run or not. They sent out several emails saying that in the event of lightening, the start could be delayed, they might stop the race in the middle and restart it when it was safe, or they might call it off and somehow get all 20,000 or so participants back to the convention center. None of those sounded like great options and it was weird to go through all the flying and preparing meanwhile not being sure if you were actually going to run or not. To be honest, this was the only time I felt badly about not being prepared for the race because if I were prepared, I would have been so stressed about my efforts being wiped out by bad weather. It was drizzling a bit before the race and I wore my rain jacket and shorts, ever the over-dresser.
The corral setup was surprisingly efficient, with two waves of marathon starters (7AM and 7:10AM) that were separate from the half marathon waves. The mayor of Houston gave a little intro before the race and said something to the effect of “at least the weather will be warmer than last year,” which elicited a collective groan from the crowd. Do people that don’t run think that runners just love to run and sweat their butts off? People are always saying to me, oh, nice day for a run, on the very hottest days. It’s a freaking terrible day for a run, give me 40 degrees over 70 any time. I think the temperatures ended up in the middle to upper 60s. It rained off and on the whole time I was out there. The rain was a huge improvement over how humid it was when it wasn’t raining.
The Houston course is flat, flat, flat. Elevation maps can be kind of deceiving and I picked out the spot on the map with the biggest hill (mile four to five), which ended up being just about nothing and I felt okay knowing that was by far the steepest section of the course. Anything else was running under or over another road for the most part. We ran through a huge cheering neighborhood around mile five and from here through where the half marathoners turned around at mile nine, there were TONS of spectators cheering. It was intense and fun. At this point I was thinking Houston might be a contender for new favorite marathon, but you know of course things died down immediately after the half marathon pulled a yooey and then it was just kind of rainy, dreary, and quiet with 17 miles sitting in front of you. Things picked back up within a few miles near Rice University and there were very steady sections of spectators throughout the remainder of the course.
Houston might have been the most well organized course I have ever run, especially considering the number of runners. There were water stations every mile for most if not all of the course (I didn’t get water until mile 5 so I am not sure of the frequency before that). You could see them coming for about a quarter of a mile and they must have been a quarter of a mile or so long in most cases, with signage marking the last Gatorade table and last water table. They were still a complete cluster when the marathon and half were together, with most people going to the first couple of tables and people on the left all of a sudden cutting perpendicularly over to the tables on the right, but that was just people being dumb and not disorganization on the race or volunteers’ parts. Once the races split, there were still a lot of marathoners but the crowding cleared out enough to where it was super organized and easy to get a drink or go around if you didn’t want it. I thought the water stations were the bomb.
I started walking through the end of most of the water stations at mile 11 and popped my earphones in, which had been in my jacket pocket. It had rained enough and was super muggy by mile 2 or 3 that I took off my jacket, wadded it up, and carried it. The main reason I wore it was so I could put my phone in the pocket to call my brother after the race, but in hindsight that was dumb because a) it was hot as hell b) it was lighter to just carry the phone in my hand. So, I ran with the jacket hoping to hand it off if and when I saw my brother and his family. He said they would probably get to the race around 9:45 and I tried not to convince myself that I would actually see them because I didn’t want to be disappointed if I didn’t. I guess I carried that thing for 15 miles because I saw them a little bit before mile 18 and was ecstatic to make them take the jacket. I’m sure they were glad to cart my nasty wet jacket around. I had requested my niece and nephew wear their luchadore masks because they look really scary/ridiculous in them and if you haven’t noticed, I like things that are a little bit ridiculous. My niece was wearing hers when I saw them. They had this nice bright sign so I could spot them…
My brother said that while we were trying to think of sign ideas and I thought it was hilarious. Marathons are totally boring. So are people talking about them and writing blog posts about them, and yet here we are. Anyway, I thought it was better than seeing yet another “Chuck Norris never ran a marathon” sign because I saw about 25 of those this weekend. I think my favorite sign was “run like an Egyptian.” I don’t know what it means, but I like the mental image and used to listen to that song on my Pocket Rockers tape player when I was little.
Up until this point, the weather was still kind of dicey and I was crossing my fingers that the race wouldn’t get cut off and then I would have a worthless tshirt for a marathon I didn’t really run. My wardrobe is limited, what can I say. Around mile 20, the sun came out and I cursed mother nature. My shirt, shorts, sports bra, shoes, and socks (so many s-words) were all completely soaked and now it was sunny and hot and humid. That is some honky business right there. Luckily the sun went away and I didn’t have to be indignant for too long. I am pretty sure it rained some more, but it was pretty clear that it was not going to be canceled mid-run. The last eight miles were all on the same street, I think. I didn’t feel too miserable considering my state of preparation, but I was not feeling awesome, either. My feet were pretty much feeling like rotten meat at this point from being in wet shoes for so long. I didn’t think I would see my brother and them again, but apparently this is what I look like when you surprise me:
I am both encouraged that my shorts were not as see through as I feared they were after several hours in the rain and dismayed that I had an armpit roll, apparently. I think I am about to wave to them and yell hi. Or eat a small child in the crowd while doing jazz hands, I dunno.
There were some hashers giving out beer around 24.5 miles. I figured what the hell, drank a little, then I figured out “what the hell” was going to happen if I drank anymore (vomit), and chucked it. Felt like a rebel, though. At this point we were back in the downtown area with big buildings, it was super windy and off/on hot depending on whether the wind was blowing or not. There were tons and tons of people in the last half mile of the course. I finished and was scared to remove my shoes and see what my feet looked like.
I think Houston is a great race for a couple of reasons. One, super organized in general. Two, spectators are awesome and so many people cheer for you by name, which is really nice. I think it is so cool that people stood out there in the rain to cheer for someone they know and will also yell out other peoples’ names and be encouraging – more people were doing that in Houston than I remember anywhere else. And the weather was terrible for them. Three, good schwag. You get a cotton tshirt when you pick up your race number and when you finish, you get your rad heavy race medal, shuffle on inside, and they give you a finisher’s shirt (Under Armour brand, ladies cut if you’re a lady…or just female) and a glass mug/beer stein looking thing. They had other stuff inside, but I didn’t check it out (got an apple for my plane ride, which I didn’t die on, if you hadn’t noticed yet). It was easy to meet up with my brother outside, so that was a plus.
Choosing to squat down for a photo was probably a bad idea. My nephew said I walked funny and asked if I was going to run some more. I told him I was going to give him a quarter to pop all the blisters on my feet, but apparently that was not a lucrative offer.
I read this today from the winner of the race and thought it was funny: “I was not ready for my first marathon last year.[He ran 2:14 at Amsterdam in October.] I only trained a month. This time I trained two and a half months. It would have been better if it was not cold and rainy, and if I had someone with me to push me. This summer I will train to run 5,000 meters in 12:56. If I have to choose in the future between 5,000 and marathon, I will choose the marathon. I think I have too much kilos [I weigh too much.] I weigh 58 kilos. Some of my friends who run fast weigh 54 kilos.”
Too many kilos! I hear you.
In the interest of having already written a ton, I will note that all four of my flights were pretty reasonable except for the chronic over-sharer on my flight to Houston who would not stop telling me his life story. I made it home on time and had my first day at the hospital today and feel pretty good physically. I am a little sore, but would probably fell better if I didn’t sit on a plane for so long yesterday. My left IT band is a little unhappy from sitting with my leg at an angle. Yes, I thought about signing up for another marathon today.
I am in full on fool myself mode here. Since I am in exile in SC, I have all of my and Brian’s music on a hard drive and finally figured out how to load it into my Itunes (actually, he told me – I didn’t figure anything out). Brian has over a month’s worth of music and I have about 20 minutes, mostly consisting of Fergie songs. For a while I thought my songs weren’t loading in and then I realized that I just literally have 1/1000th of the music he has…anyway, it took me an hour and a half to make a Houston Marathon playlist with a second little playlist of music that makes me feel good to listen to on the plane. I’m not going quite as far as to say it’s music I want to hear if the plane goes down, but I did just to happen to call most of my loved ones today…just in case.
It’s not that I am a firm believer that something bad will happen; it is that I think if I take every precaution and throw it out there into the universe as many times as possible, it will not happen. So, at 11:11am this morning when I looked at the clock, I wished that I would have a good [fun] time in the marathon…and-not-die-in-a-plane-crash. Am I the only person who makes a wish on the clock like that (2:22, 3:33, etc) and then always tries to jam in a second wish? Usually I wish for something and then tack on something about not dying so that I am not on my deathbed thinking, “WHY DID YOU NOT WISH TO DRIVE TO THE BI-LO WITHOUT GETTING HIT BY A SEMI-TRUCK, YOU DIPSTICK?!” Not sure if that qualifies as superstition, paranoia, or something else entirely.
Also contributing to my positive mental attitude is drinking some Michelob Ultra with the hopes of falling asleep sometime before midnight tonight. My flight is at 5:30AM and as you might surmise with my recounting of absolutely no long runs for the past couple months, it’s not a time of day I’ve seen in a while. The gas station attendant totally tried to poo poo my out of state license. She was going to sell it to me, changed her mind, and then got the manager to come over and okay it. I was like, woman, do you see these fine lines and wrinkles? Do you think this is a freaking sting operation? There is a line of five people behind me. I am 28 years old. Give me the mother loving light beer and let me get out of here because my reheated frozen pizza in my crappy apartment is getting cold.
Perhaps this is also a good time to admit that today I was cruising around being kind of bored/lonely and I thought, hmm, I kind of like it here. [screeching tires] What? There is absolutely nothing to do, but I also never feel like I should be doing something else. I don’t feel rushed. There are not zillions of college students everywhere. I kind of like driving down Irby Street every day and seeing the same weirdos, waving at the lady dressed as a blue M&M, homeless black dude with super white beard riding a bike, mental man who is always speed walking with his mouth open. Today there was someone dressed as a dalmatian outside of a vet’s office. Never been to a place that loves to employ people dressed up in ridiculous outfits to wave at traffic like Florence, SC.
Okay, time to pack. See you in the future with my tales of triumph, woe, misery, and various unsavory characters in the southern USA.