What Would You Do? If a Train Blocked Your Race


I guess I’d be the only one to flip off the train as I ran in front of it? Does that sound like an anger problem?

Update: More research on this incident proved that the race organizers had made an agreement with the freight company that no trains would pass on those tracks during the race. Guess someone made a boo-boo. It’s completely maddening but it’s really not important enough to risk your life.


Active Weekend & the Evolution of Packing

Gary and I are still in the midst of packing and biding our time. Closing on the house is less than two weeks away and then begins the Great Move of 2014. We have now thrown out our couch, which wasn’t coming with us to the new house anyway, and we are slowly replacing its void with boxes. I am sort of but sort of not looking forward to the nights before our move, where we’ll have to reposition all our furniture so that the big stuff will be closest to the door to put into the U-Haul.

What I am really looking forward to in a giddy kind of way is unpacking and finding new homes for all our stuff. I find some weird pleasure in picking just the right spot for an item, and I step back and admire how it brings the whole room together, and the light shines through the Headpiece on top of the Staff of Ra, and it reveals the location of the Ark of the Covenant.

Mainly I just want the seller to leave so we can start moving in. She’s a very nice lady and she’s taken really great care of the house so it’s in really good condition and she was really excited to find out that I bake and prefer to let clothes hang to dry and will continue to put birdseed in the bird feeder, but she never lets you leave a conversation after you say good-bye the first ten times, and I’m glad she’s moving across the country because, let’s face it, she loves this house, and I’m sure she’d be unhappy if she ever found we were going to change anything (not that we’re planning on changing anything… are you reading this?). I’m a little awkward about taking ownership of things that once belonged to other people. Sometimes they resent the way you are using said thing, even though it totally belongs to you now, and imagine if they knew you threw it out (!) or painted it? They’d act like you accidentally released the demon they were hiding inside it.

This weekend wound up being a very active and outdoorsy type of weekend. We had envisioned lots of time spent at home, smiling and packing. That’s exactly how I picture it, smiling and packing. and there’s sunshine. and classic rock. In reality, we are sitting on the floor in our pajamas and watching Netflix and not wanting to move because there’s so much left to do.

I ran on Friday night, I think I did 1.69 miles in 28 minutes? Somewhere around there. I dug in the WordPress archives to find a blog post I read from Must Love Jogs about lacing your shoes differently for different foot ailments – I finally remembered to try the high instep lacing. I think it helped, because my foot didn’t fall asleep when I ran. My quads were killing me after my Tuesday run, and they were starting to hurt again at the beginning of the run. I was listening to music and a quick song came on and I don’t know why, but even with the quad pain I tried to match the pace. The more I picked up the pace, the less my legs hurt? Yes, that sentences ends in a question mark, because it doesn’t make sense to me, but I’m not going to argue with it. My lungs were less than cooperative, but my legs didn’t hurt so much.

Saturday: We drove up to my folks to visit and go out to dinner for my grandfather’s birthday. We were planning to stop along the way at a few different events and go apple-picking, but we did none of those things and instead spent a lot of time driving around. Driving around and seeing new sights is something I find very relaxing and wonderful, especially as fall starts to set in. We met up with some Carrie & Mike & friends to play disc golf, which is maybe our new favorite sport.

Sunday: I met up with Carrie & Mike & other assorted relatives and friends to bike through Duke Farms, which was awesome even if my bruised bones regret it completely today. We biked up ridiculous hills (ok, sometimes we pushed our bikes up the hills) to see a pet cemetery where Doris Duke buried all her pets, including a camel named Baby.

Gary stayed home to hang out with a friend, but that fell through, so he packed some kitchen stuff. Glasses, bowls, plates; all packed. Most of the stuff from our bookshelves is packed, but I keep forgetting that stuff still lurks behind the cabinet doors.

Lots of stuff.

One of those days

I’ve sort of taken a break from my running plan, and kind of a break from running in general. We’ve been super busy with house stuff, but that’s kind of just an excuse. I’m still bummed that I’ve made pretty much no progress in the past year. Right now, I’m still on track to run the Ocean City 5K in the same amount of time I ran it last year… or longer, which doesn’t make me happy at all.

I ran this race last year in 52:15, then I ran the Mercerville Mistletoe 5K in 50:18. Then there was the Dash for Duchenne 5K, 50:29. I also ran a Color Run that wasn’t really timed. I am using this race as a benchmark of progress, which maybe isn’t really fair, because some days you have awesome runs, and some days, you just want to lay down on the side of the road. I can assume that this kind of thing happens for seasoned runners – you fall into a groove based on your fitness level and ability and how hard you train and you probably don’t see a lot of variance in race times. I was expecting that, since I was just starting, I would lose weight and get stronger and get faster the more I ran but it is not working that way at all and it is really discouraging. I feel like I can do better, I can do so much more, so it’s so frustrating that it’s not happening. I do not like to be told “NO.” I skipped my scheduled run yesterday because I just really didn’t want to disappoint myself and thinking about how long it will take and how difficult it will be to try to run a straight mile without stopping really overwhelmed me. I let it get the better of me.

Don’t we all have these days? One of those days where running won’t make it better because running is the problem. I plan to go run tonight, to just start from whatever day I was on in the running plan and make the best of it.

Do you ever have days where it just seems like it’s not fun? Do you ever take a break when you’re having a rough day?

Today’s GRR Moment

When I ran on Monday I encountered some major disappointment: my training was not quite as far ahead as I thought it was. Big-time bummer. While I’m sort of bummed that I’m not getting faster, I’m also bummed that I’m not tackling longer distances. I’ve been running for over a year, blogging for almost a year, and I’m barely scratching the mile / mile and a half surface. I know fitness takes time, so I’m trying to be patient, and hoping that this progress is normal.

I also experienced some lower back pain. I’ve had some trouble with that in the past, and I’m not sure what brings it on. Maybe I’m just pushing myself too hard and it’s time to take a little break – so that’s my GRRR of the day. I can’t run tonight and I need to evaluate how I feel tomorrow. I’ve been trying to squeeze a lot of stuff into a little time lately and finally, something had to give.

Another GRRR occurred today when I got a flat tire on my way home from a final exam (I’ve been taking a finance class). Not too much fun, but at least I was in a place where I could pull off to the side of the road safely. AAA responded quickly to help my change the tire, although I wish they’d been more helpful in telling me where I could buy a new tire. They suggested Walmart, but the one I went to didn’t have an auto section. Someone at Walmart suggested a tire place called Crescent Tire, but they didn’t have the tire in stock, so they suggested I go to a place called Tire Corral – not exactly the most inspiring name, but they got me hooked up in a cheap way. At least I passed the exam!

The Depressing Realization

I’ve been saying to my husband that I’m totally impressed with my improvement, and I was like, How on earth did I get better so quickly? And he joked, maybe your watch isn’t accurate. WELL GUESS WHAT. IT’S NOT.

I’ve used a Garmin watch for a long time and recently switched to the MapMyRun app for iPhone so I could connect with my friends. Today, I used both. I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time to sort of gauge what’s going on.

According to the MapMyRun app, I ran 1.23 miles, at a pace of 15 min/mile. According to my Garmin watch, I ran 1.08 miles, which puts me firmly in the 16 minute mile range. I know which one I’d really like to believe!

I don’t know what’s more depressing, finding out that I haven’t been logging the miles I thought I was, or that after all this time, I thought I was getting faster and I’m totally not. Mainly, I’m just sort of disappointed that I was led to believe that I was doing so much better than I really am. @#$% you, MapMyRun. I trusted you.

God, I’m Starving.

Just felt like sharing.

I finished the third week of my running plan and I was like, ON TO WEEK 4! but the plan directs you to take a hard look at how you actually did. The hardest workout started with a fifteen minute run, which at first seemed entirely impossible. I promised myself I would not walk until at least 8 minutes in, but once I got close to 8 minutes, I changed it to 10 minutes, and then once I got there, I decided to challenge myself to run the whole 15 minutes. I reached the first mile at about 14 minutes, which is a little slower than it has been the past few weeks but much faster than that six-month 16 minute/mile plateau I was stuck on for a while. Seeing 14 minutes makes me start to worry that I’m backsliding, but I quickly tell myself to cut the crap, because it’s actually completely fantastic.

This plan doesn’t call for any speed training, but focuses rather on getting you to go the distance with long runs. Basically, the first plan wants you to be able to run for 30 minutes at whatever pace you run, and the harder version tosses some speed workouts at you to help you better your time.  Maybe I’ll switch things up a little in the next level and switch out a distance run for speed intervals. I want to crush my 5K PR and I know, for me, run/walk intervals is the way to go.

I took a really good look at how I ran: there were three running workouts and I cross-trained once or twice. The cross training was good – coach/husband made one workout intense, and the other I kind of phoned in so I’ll have to dial that up a little. Each run consisted of walk/run intervals, starting with a longer run then walk/run/walk of varying times. I kicked butt on the runs that started with 5 minutes and 10 minutes. When I finished the 15 minute run I was shocked and I wondered how I would ever do it again. That was a sign that I wasn’t really ready to move on, because the runs are only going to get longer and harder.

So, I started the third level over again. I did the 15 minute run on Wednesday and I was surprised by how confident I was when I approached it this time. I never doubted I would be able to run the whole time. It was tough around the end, for sure, I didn’t have to bribe myself with the relief of a mid-run walk. I almost can’t believe that I can run a straight mile without walking and it’s, like, no big deal. I’m not sure that I’m beating my times from the prior week, but to be fair, it’s been really hot and humid, and I’ve been trying out some route with different terrain. I just hope this mugginess breaks soon.

I really do love this plan; it’s pushed me and given me attainable goals and it never makes me focus on running a certain distance. My aunt Kara is also running the 5K in October with me (!!!!) and she started trying to run with the Couch to 5K (which was my first training plan, and the first training plan that I scrapped, because I hated it.) It’s not working for her either – she found something else which is great because she can change the length of the intervals to fit her better. It’s really important to find what works for you. I’m really excited to move up to the next level next week!

We’re gearing up for another busy weekend: running tonight, seeing friends, birthdays, BBQs, cleaning, packing, going to the movies to see Guardians of the Galaxy (again), reading & studying. Cue me taking a long nap on Sunday.