Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Long time caller, first time listener.

Or something like that.

After my harrowing time at the Buffalo Half Marathon (it's too soon to write about it now), I've finally started running again.

Supposedly, the Brooklyn Bridge has been where it is for some time. And with its pleasant hills and comfy wooden pedestrian lane, I am glad I found it.

Now if only I could do something about all those tourists, standing inattentive, their bodies crumpled in absurd photographing poses.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I don't know about you but it's springtime!

Daffodils, forsythia, hyacinths, tulips, pollen.

Spring in Brooklyn. [Expletive deleted] fantastic.

Reflecting the recent dearth of posts, I have not been running. Fancy that. But even my big big list of excuses can't compete with that subtle verdant note on the breeze that marks the official end of winter. I've been going out as often as I am able and running as hard as I can.

The most mundane routes look different due to the surprise cherry blossoms, scores of strollers, big muddy puddles to splash through, and other runners out, some having spent their winters hunched over treadmills or cardio contraptions, seeming to shake their heads in disbelief that this pastoral beauty (exaggeration alert) has existed all through the winter.

Spring feels almost like a reward, a present, for having braved the winter weather.

Thank you, 23* tilt of the Earth's axis, this is just what I always wanted! How did you know?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bum wheel

After two long weeks off, I finally got back out this past Saturday. It was exciting to see the park again, as I miss it terribly when I don't run. And the cold, crisp winter air...actually, I'll get to the bracing, refreshing winter air.

When preparing to run, I have a routine.

use the restroom, stretch, get dressed, put on my watch, leave.

But hours before I run, I check the weather.


And I check it a few minutes before I go out. My mom is a big weather enthusiast and I suppose I caught it from her. I can look out the window and generally predict what will happen. At least as well as anyone else can, anyway. By smelling the air, I can tell you whether or not it will snow today. Wind, humidity, temperature, precipitation, I generally take it all into account.

But for some reason, I skipped this step on Saturday. To be more truthful, though, I did check the temperature. The wind, however, I failed to factor into my run. You can probably see where this is going.

From my window, it seemed a nice balmy, slightly humid 35* day. Perfect for a nice quick winter run. So, I dressed a little light: t shirt, long sleeved thermal shirt, my beloved sweatpants, no hat, no gloves.

And when I headed out, it seemed, for the first mile at least, that I had correctly gauged the weather and would have a nice uneventful five mile loop through the park.

Once I was just far enough that turning around to put on an extra layer was out of the question, the wind made its grandiose entrance. And it cut right through my two pitiful layers of shirt.

The thought of turning home and calling it a day entered my mind around mile two. It gained some ground every time the wind would bite into me. "There are hot showers, coffee, sweaters, etc. at home," my freezing limbs reminded me. If I had turned back, I would still have needed to run tow more miles. Four miles. "What's one more? Just get through it and remember this as the reason to always check the wind with the rest of the weather." The latter argument eventually won out as I reach the halfway point. Not because I am a robust athlete or anything like that...turning back now would still mean another 2.5 miles. Since both were the same distance, I opted not to surrender (courageous, no?).

And this is where the title comes in. Around mile three (having just settled my quandary over whether or not to surrender), my knee began to hurt terribly. I ignored it for a stretch but it got worse and worse, so much worse, in fact, that I had to break stride and walk. The pain subsided, the wind picked up and I started running again, hoping to get a little warmer. After another quarter of a mile, though, it happened again and I was forced to stop.

This strange pain continued every time I ran (intervals of running gradually shortening). Once I was about a half a mile from home, I leaned forward and decided to ignore the knee, get home, get warm, get coffee, get out of the damn wind. And you know what? My knee stopped hurting. When I was running faster, my knee hurt less.

It doesn't hurt at all now, you'd never know it happened. No swelling or limping or any lingering soreness. No nuthin'.

So while the knee thing didn't teach me anything, the cold did.

And now I will always have a wonderful reminder of how important it is to check the wind before I head out. 35* indeed!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I can definately relate to all of those excuses and then some!
I have only been running for serious since our family met in Myrtle Beach a few weeks ago. My mom, aunt, and I walked the half marathon while Jerry ran.
I decided that day (along with my husband), that next year's half we would be running!
So, since then I signed us up for a 5K (coming in March), and with a little help from my friend Hal Higdon have started to run.
Now, most of you would not have to train for a 5K. BUT, I do ok? So I am working my way up and feeling great.
Running (and marathoning in general), I feel has helped spur a whole new world of conversation within our family.
Don't get me wrong, I have always liked to work out but have generally needed a goal (like my wedding) to keep me motivated. Otherwise, that's when the old excuses started cropping up.
So now, with the 5K only weeks away I am trying to stay motivated.
I'll let you know how long this lasts. =)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Making all these excuses has rendered me too tired to run.

So I haven't run in almost two weeks.

Reasons I have used to skip a run (far from complete):
I've been busy
I haven't felt like it
Too tired
It's cold
It's hot
It's raining
It's foggy
It's humid
It's dry
I ate too much and now I'm way too stuffed to run
I still haven't replaced my old stopwatch
I have plenty of time before my next race
I'm bored with my route
I can't find a better route
I...um...my sweatpants need washed
There's a scary bug near the door

Ok, fine, the last two have not happened.


If you have identified with at least one of the items on this list, congratulations! You are a normal human being. And if the sweatpants one comes up more often than not, buy some more sweatpants or...actually, I don't think I can help you on that one. Sorry, pal.

If you read the above list and were overwhelmed by the deluge of reasons why you should not go running, fear not! Below are a ton of things that will inspire you to go running (again, neither complete nor exhaustive):

buy some new gear
read about running (you can check this one off and directly to go, collect $200 as you're doing that RIGHT NOW!)
plan a new route (I love http://walkjogrun.net/ for this)
subtly change an old comfortable route
try some new techniques
get a running partner
register for a race
don't register for a race (but look at the registration page. Think about joining. It elicits the same feeling as the one above except you won't get a free t shirt)
look at your shoes...see them? Look how lonely they are. They love you, won't you love them back?
get out all your favorite running gear - isn't it nice? Since it's out, and you're most likely stadning up, why not go for a run?
find some new stretches to do
is there a park near your house that you've never been to? You could probably run to it. Just saying.
if you run with an mp3 player, make a new playlist
look at weather.com: any really nice days coming up this week?
do a push-up or a sit up; getting into the mindset of exercising will make going for a run seem less insurmountable and totally accessible
find some badass quotes from someone more inspiring than myself (bit of a downer, that Jerry is). Steve Prefontaine is good, Teddy Roosevelt, Lemmy Kilmeister, whatever you like. Finding a positive, uplifting mantra can help get you motivated
talk to someone about running - chances are, they will be impressed that you are even considering going out for a run
you actually love the cold, crisp winter air
the rain isn't so bad (remember that hot new rain-proof jacket you just bought?)
sure it's hot out but there will probably be people selling popsicles and ices on the street and guess what, you deserve it
running in the snow is quiet, peaceful and beautiful (bonus: you'll probably have the road to yourself)

Now get those dirty sweatpants out of the hamper and get out there. No one cares if you're stinky - you're running for crying out loud! It's expected.

Friday, February 20, 2009




Guess we should get this bad boy started.

A year or two ago I started running regularly. I ran occasionally in high school though only for soccer. "Sedentary" would be an apt description of my adolescent, college, and young adult life. If nothing is chasing you and you are not in danger of missing the bus, I reasoned, why run at all?

I wish I could say that upon hearing some inspiring story, or having been moved by some tragedy, I put on a pair of shoes and have been running since. There is no good personal interest story behind why I run. I do it because it calms me and because I like spending time in my own head.

When I'm not running, I get cranky...I've also heard "fussy" and "colicky." So in that regard, I run because I have to. And that's maybe the best reason. If I skip a few days, something feels amiss.

Another reason I do it is for health. This one is relatively minor. I come from a family full of bad tickers and I worry about that more and more as I get older. So this reason will probably muscle its way to the top in the next decade or two.

My last reason I'll mention here is the one I tell people most often. I love to eat. When I finish a long run I figure I've burned enough calories to eat a second dinner. If I didn't run, you might be seeing me on Maury Povich. You would remember me, too. I'd be the guy they had to cut out of his house because he couldn't fit through the doors anymore.

With no great impetus behind my running, one might think I happen to be naturally gifted with a perfect stride or have received some rare genetic makeup that allows me to pile on the miles. Sadly, this is not the case either. Miles one and two are just as hard and eleven and twelve. My will to run is strong but I'm not some exceptional athlete. Masochistic, perhaps but even that in moderation. If running were easy, I probably wouldn't want to do it. If running were nearly impossible, I probably would have hung up my sneakers a long time ago.


A year ago I started a running log. It was a simple gmail conversation with myself. Every time I finished a run I added an entry. Since I had no idea what I was doing, a lot of the entries dealt with the mysterious aches (runner's knee) and pains (plantar fasciitis) I felt. I wrote cautionary tales to myself about dressing for all sorts of weather, addressed the many frustrations and occasional exultations I felt, any missteps I took, puppies I saw.

I want people to see that there aren't two types of people, those who are in good enough shape to run and those who are not. Almost anyone can do it. I'm not doing anything incredible or superhuman by running five or ten miles. It's an addictive habit. I have it. I would like you to as well.

Admittedly, there is a selfish motivation for keeping up this blog. I'm not motivated solely by an impassioned calling to make a runner out of each of you. Writing here, and knowing that someone can see how often I get out will probably shame me into running more often.

Maybe I'll see you out there.