|2008 logo of the DC Ragnar Relay Turtleslugs.|
|Apparently I painted my coffee table “spicy mustard.”|
Who says the USPS is dying?
Even though the skirt arrived more than a month before the event at which I’m planning to wear it – the Virginia Tough Mudder on October 23 – the skirt couldn’t have arrived at a better time in my training cycle. I was in dire need of a pick-me-up.
Two Fridays ago, I set out for an 8-mile run. It was dark, dry, a little breezy, and 50˚F. The sky lightened but remained mostly overcast. These were my ideal conditions, and that’s how I ran the 8 miles: 10 minutes faster than the last time I’d gone out and done the distance, in a humid 80˚F. It definitely wasn’t my fastest 8 miles ever, but it wasn’t bad for this year. The shorter runs during this week also went reasonably well, so I expected to have a repeat of last Friday when I woke up yesterday morning.
Except after I ate a small breakfast, I felt like going right back to bed, even after putting on running shorts. I actually crawled back into bed for about 5 minutes before convincing myself that it was possible to start a run feeling like crap but wind up feeling better partway through. Not yesterday. I called it quits after 3 miles and contemplated either trying again for 8 later in the day, or at the very least, finishing off 8.
This is pretty distressing 2 weeks before a race and has messed with my head.
After eating a proper breakfast and lunch for the next three hours, I texted my friend Jonathan to see whether he was going for a run later in the day. Maybe I’d join him for a few miles. It turns out he was planning on running 5. 3 + 5 = 8. Voila!
Now, a few notes about Jonathan: (1) he’s recovering from some health issues and (2) there was a point in his life when a sub-3-hour marathon was normal. My only chance of keeping pace with any former elite runner is, I think, if they’re actively suffering from a health issue and/or missing a leg and have no prosthetic. There, I wrote it. Jonathan with one lung and half a soleus muscle = Stephanie with two lungs and intact calves, maybe. Not that I would ever wish my friend to have one lung or half a calf muscle, of course.
Anyway, around 5pm yesterday, I found myself on hill #1 of Jonathan’s Northwest DC Tour de
Hell Hill. Don’t get me wrong. I like hills. Especially those covered in snow.
|Hoofing up a hill the day before Christmas 2009.|
But my idea of a running hill is an on/off ramp. Seriously. So imagine my oxygen-deprived horror when hill #1 turned out to be half a mile long. And sure, what goes up usually comes down, but then it goes up again if you’re a former elite runner trying to pack in the most efficient run possible. Gack. Hill #2 basically had me for dinner. Or as an apéritif at the least. Yes. I walked up hill #2. It was lame. And at some point, Jonathan decided to describe to me the incomprensible plot of a crazy Korean movie he watched the night before, maybe to see if the plot made any more sense to someone who was oxygen deprived. See how all of this is messing with my head two weeks before the Army 10-Miler?
Between my morning run, the run to and from Jonathan’s place, and shuffling myself along Jonathan’s route, I logged 9.3 miles. They were neither pretty nor particularly satisfying.
That’s why it was a treat to find my mailbox packed with goodies yesterday, especially the traveling Team Sparkle skirt. It’s like the powers that be knew that I’d need a pick-me-up at 6pm Saturday. Thanks, powers that be!
|The girls at Team Sparkle are psychic.|
I laced up after Nadal beat Murray.
And I’m still looking for a mantra if you’ve got any suggestions…
My obliques will be crying uncle tomorrow, but before I lose the capacity to do whatever it is that oblique muscles do, a few thoughts on my first time out on a stand up paddleboard.
|At least it doesn’t look as ridiculous as the boards did on a Golf.|
|Way too excited to be at an open-air bar for lunch.|
|I can’t wait to see how my obliques feel tomorrow.|
Wednesday night, someone asked me whether I was a morning runner or evening runner, and I responded morning because it’s usually more bearable, temps-wise. This reasoning usually makes no sense in December, nor did it make sense this week, when the post-Irene weather has been
awesome unbelievably amazing. I’m not even really a morning person; I’m just a night person in disguise. At any rate, at some point in the past, I had decided to run in the mornings, and that’s what I now do. I couldn’t remember why.
Thurday morning, I remembered: less traffic (foot, bicycle and vehicular) = decreased likelihood of getting hit by an
idiotic distracted DC driver.
Five years ago this month, I was doing a short loop through town just before 7am and making really good time when I got hit by a car driving forward out of a nursing home driveway. I stress that the car was moving forward, not backing, out of the driveway because when I posted this on a RunnersWorld forum at the time, I got flamed for not watching for cars backing out of driveways. Ah….the anonymity of the interwebs!
So, in August 2006, I was about a mile from the end of my run and on the sidewalk. The car was moving slow enough that when I got hit, I folded over the hood all Matrix-like (and
possibly keying the hood in the process) but stayed on my feet. Go yoga! After my brain realized that I just got hit by a car, I did a quick body scan and yelled at the driver that I was okay. I figured that if I had just hit someone, I’d be concerned about whether the person was okay, right? Well, the driver, in turn, yelled at me for not stopping to look both ways before crossing the driveway. Whatever, bitch…you hit me — at least be concerned as to whether I’m, I dunno, injured. I fired back some choice words and ran away. Then I spent the rest of the day telling everyone who would listen, “OMG, can you believe I got hit by a car while running? I got hit by a car while running!”
I’m sure this is about when I started waking up earlier for my training runs and also switching up my routes so that I either beelined for the Mall or for a park trail.
Guess what! Yesterday, I was on the same route, but I didn’t make it outside until just after 7am. I was .75 miles from the end of my run when I took one step into an alley, and a car came barreling out past me and the sidewalk before coming to a stop just beyond the cars parallel parked on the street. I was heading uphill, and I’m so out of shape that I was able to immediately stop, inches away from the car. This car was moving fast enough that I have zero doubt that if I had taken one more step (or was faster), I would have been on the hood. The entire time, the driver had her head turned to her left. I don’t think she noticed me until after she stopped and found this crazy 5-foot-tall woman dripping in sweat, yelling and pounding her rear window. Then I ran off. I call that a hit and run.
This week is a step-back week in my Army 10-Miler training. I know, I don’t feel like I’ve built enough mileage (and I’m not exactly blazing fast, either) to step back, but I’ll take a week where all my runs are no longer than 4 miles.