Tag: running

A Typical Early Morning Conversation

Me: *snoring*

Alarm clock @ 5:15: *Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz* WAKE UP. WAKE UP. *Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz*

Me: Huh? Wha? Huh?

Alarm Clock: WAKE UP. Or I will continue to blare Top 40 Country hits until I wake up your wife and daughters.

Me: Huh? Wha?

Me: Wait, what is going on here?

Me: Does that clock say 5:15?  Who the hell set the alarm for 5:15?

Me: Oh wait, I set the alarm for 5:15.

Me: Why on earth did I set the alarm for 5:15 again?

Me: *slides out of bed, turns off the alarm*

Alarm Clock: See ya tomorrow, sucker.

My Body: Wait. What are you doing standing up? We should be sleeping right now.

Me: I’m not exactly sure, myself.  Brain, you want to weigh in?

My Brain: You’ve reached Ross’ Brain. I can’t come to the phone right now, but if you leave a message I’ll get back as soon as possible. Hahahaha.

Me: Umm.

Body: Seriously.  Get horizontal now, or I’m gonna do it for you.

Me: Wait. Running. I’m supposed to go running this morning.

Body: Are you kidding? There’s no way I’m going running this morning. Actually, I don’t know why I’m even having this conversation with you. I’m going back to bed.

Me: (weakly) No.

Body: Excuse me?

Me: (more strongly) Just give me a minute. Nap while I stand here and think for a second.

Body: Ok, get back to me when you decide to go back to bed.

Me: *shuffles to kitchen, makes cup of coffee and toasted english muffin w/ peanut butter*

Brain: Is that coffee?

Me: I think so.

Brain: *sniffs* GIMME.

Me: Hold on, it’s too hot.

Brain: DON’T CARE. GIMME.

Brain: Oof. Why am I so fuzzy?

Me: Because it’s 5:27?

Brain: Yeah, that’d do it. Ok, drink your coffee and I’ll check back in with you in 10.

Me: *sips coffee and eats breakfast in silence*

Brain: Hey, so, question for you…

Me: Shoot.

Brain: Do you really need me on this run? Or can I check out until you’re done?

Me: Um. As long as I’m aware enough to watch out for cars, I should be ok.

Brain: Cool, yo. Catch you later!

Me: *gets geared up, stretches, and heads out the door*

Me: *starts to jog down the block*

Body: WHOA. Whoa. WHOA. WHOA. What the hell are you DOING??

Me: Running. Or at least trying to.

Body: Who told you that you could do that?

Me: Um. I need to. I want to. I think.

Body: You could have asked me.

Me: You were off in dreamland. Next time, help me out when I’m trying to get up and I’ll ask for your input.

Body: Yeah, like that’s gonna ever happen.

Me: Asking for your input?

Body: No, me helping you out.

Body: I’ll have you know I’m doing this under duress.

Me: I know. BELIEVE ME, I know.

Body: I’m not going to like this, you know.

Me: Yes you will.

Body: I’ll believe it when I see it.

Me: Um, you like running.

Body: NOT AT THE BUTTCRACK OF DAWN I DON’T.

Me: Relax, relax. Look, we’re already a half-mile in to the run.  Don’t you feel better?

Body: Not really.

Me: Then why are you running a minute faster pace than you were when we started?

Body: Because the sooner I hit 4 miles, the sooner I’m done with this running crap.

Me: That’s the ticket. Stick with me, kid, and you’ll go far.

Body: Yeah, not the best way to convince me to keep going.

Brain: HEY GUYS! MAN, THESE ARE SOME MONDO ENDORPHINS! I FEEL GREAT! I’M FLYING! I COULD REPROVE FERMAT’S LAST THEOREM WITH NO PAPER RIGHT NOW! MAN, DON’T YOU STOP RUNNING, EVER!

Me & Body: Shut up. Shut up now, or I will watch reruns of According to Jim until you shrivel up and are left sobbing in the deepest recesses of my head.

Brain: (meekly) OK. Hey, look out for that car.

Me: Thanks.

Brain: Don’t mention it.

Body: Um, guys – next time, can you plan a route that doesn’t involve hills?

Brain: That’s sort of hard to do around here.  We can minimize ’em, but unless we make laps in the neighborhood or drive over to the middle school track, it’s hard to keep it level.

Body: Fine by me!

Brain: Laps around the neighborhood are only slightly more appetizing than watching episodes of Deal or No Deal. I will do everything in my power to sabotage you at work today if you force me to do that more than once a week.

Me: Ok, ok, settle down, guys.  Look, we’ll work out a compromise later.  Right now though, let’s just get through this last mile and then we can move on to something a little more fun this morning.

Body: Like sleep?

Brain: Like more coffee?

Me: How about – a shower, some yogurt, and a nice leisurely drive to work with air conditioning and some interesting podcasts to listen to?

Body and Brain: Deal.

Me: *sighs* And to think I’m crazy enough to consider training for a half-marathon this fall.

Body and Brain: WHOA. Whoa. WHOA. WHOA.

Me: *sighs*


RossRuns – or Does He?

14 years ago, I was a high school senior.  I was a straight-A student, a vocal-jazz singer, a bit of a nerd, but also a clearly defined runner.  Hell, my AOL account username was “RossRuns” (an affectation I have kept up through the years for nearly all of my new user accounts on various web services).  I had placed 8th in the Washington state Cross Country championship meet with my 15:24 5K time, and was seeded #1 going into the state track meet the following spring regional finish of 4:20 for the 1600m.  There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that running was an integral part of my life.

13 years ago, I was a walk-on to the UVA Cross Country team, qualifying with a 5 mile time of 25:25.  I had taken my running to the next level, racking up between 60-80 miles a week with the rest of the squad. I competed in a couple of invitationals but was sidelined with an injury during the winter and part of the spring – long enough to red-shirt my freshman year and leave me considering whether I wanted to continue with such a grueling training schedule in light of all the other college activities I was participating in.

10 years ago, after graduating college and beginning work in New York state, I occasionally ran on evenings/weekends, but I don’t recall it being according to any regular schedule or set training plan. I explained the “RossRuns” username to people as “Well, it’s a whole lot easier to remember than RossUsedToRun.”

8 years ago, I joined many of my coworkers in the “Corporate Challenge”, a 3.5 mile road race in NY.  I collapsed somewhere near/on/past the finish line (I don’t remember the finish to this race to this day).  Any notions of getting back into shape through regular running left me for a good while, after that.

3 years ago, while in India, I ran on the treadmill in the gym every morning before going to the factory, for 5 weeks straight.  I returned home and promptly failed to follow up with any running, whatsoever.

2 years ago, after “training” for a few months, I joined my wife in the Harrisburg NC YMCA 5K and finished 28th overall and 1st in my age group, with a 23:28 finish. My commitment to keep running ended just about the time it started to be 90 degrees and 90% humidity outdoors the following month.

Last year (Feb 2010), I ruptured my Achilles tendon and after surgery to stitch it back together, was banned from running until November 2010.  This restriction finally gave me the kick in the pants I needed to realize how much I was taking my own fitness and health for granted. I tentatively got back into training (as much as my poor leg would allow me) and started building up my endurance and strength again.

This past Saturday, I ran 5 miles (continuous) for probably the first time since my undergrad days 13 years ago.  Not only that, I ran it as part of a regular training schedule, on (or ahead of) pace and I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT.

Looking back on my running history above, it shocks me to see that the time I took off from running was over twice as long as the period where I had seriously considered myself a runner, prior to that (since Cross Country and Track in 8th grade).  I never realized the excuses and the inconsistency in my running history until I seriously sat down and charted my on-again, off-again habits.

I want to turn that statistic around, and proudly use the ID “RossRuns” because it is an indication that I’ve been running longer than I haven’t.  Sure, I’ll have little hurdles to overcome along the way, but I feel like I’ve revitalized my running spirit and my drive to stick with it. Only time will tell, of course, but already I’ve seen incredible benefits in my own life – everything from significantly reduced cholesterol levels to mental balance and acuity to increased energy and happiness – that make it well worth my while to try to maintain this lifestyle even if I’m feeling the running shtick on a particular afternoon.

I’m a Runner. I prove it by running. That’s all there is to it, and all I need to keep in mind.  And in 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, and further into the future, I hope I can look back and do another of these posts, and be inordinately proud of what I’ve achieved and what I’ve done in my running life.

“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.”
-John Bingham


Getting (Back) on the Horse – the 5k Road Race

This weekend held an exciting event for the wife and myself: a nearby city 5k race.  It was actually a pretty momentous occasion for a couple of reasons:

For Dee:

  • This was Dee's first race, EVER (excluding field-day activities in elementary school, that is).  Since she's training for a triathlon in the fall, she wanted to gauge her progress with a 5k and see how far along she's come since she started her training program.
  • Dee ended up finishing faster than she expected and she and I were very proud of her performance!

For me:

  • This was my first race in almost 6 years.  The last one involved me collapsing on/near the finish line and spending 6 days in the hospital diagnosed with rhabdomyolisis.  Needless to say, I was a little nervous about how this race would fare, given my last race experience.
  • I ended up winning an award for my placement in the race!

The weather was beautiful – sunny and about 60 degrees – about as perfect for a 5k as you could wish.  I was a little chilly at the start but knew I'd warm up as soon as things got going.  The race itself went really well – both Dee and I were very happy with our results:


Place Name                Guntime Pace  
===== =================== ======= =====
 28   Ross G              23:28   7:34 
147 Dee G 35:15 11:21

Dee said she was really happy with her time, as it was a lot faster than her normal training pace, and set a good goal for her next race.  I'm very proud of her for finishing so quickly and making so much progress on her training program.

As for myself, I finished more than 1.5 minutes ahead of my goal.  As I ran the race, I kept forcing myself to ease back and keep a little bit slower pace than I normally ran, but by 2 miles I was still well ahead of my goal pace, so I decided to just go with it as long as I could.  As I was winding up for the last third of a mile of the course, I went ahead and boosted to my full-out kick, passing an unsuspecting runner before he knew I was there and sprinted full-out for the finish line.  And because of my sprint, it turns out I ended up passing the one person who stood between me and 1st place in the Male 25-29 division!

Yes, I won a medal to go with my "free" race t-shirt.  Totally unexpected, but very satisfying to come back from 6 years away from any racing and feel like I was right back in the swing of things.

I'm not expecting to win any awards on any future races, but I'm definitely going to keep up my regular training and try to fit in a road race here or there when I can.  As I've said before, to me, the fun is in the running, not the winning.  But bringing home a medal will always bring just a little bit extra of a smile to my face.

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Running in Paradise

I don't make New Years' resolutions, but I have been trying to make an effort to get back into running again since mid-January.  I was doing really well last year and then pretty much stopped all of a sudden at the end of November.  Now that my schedule has settled a bit, I'm trying to get back into running at lunchtime 3-4 days a week.  I can tell it's going to take a while to get back into shape, but I am making progress and both yesterday and today felt especially good, even though I wasn't able to run at anywhere near the pace I had worked up to last year.

Running today under the drizzly skies of North Carolina made me think back to my trip to the Mexico resort in January.  Every day I was there was a beautiful sunny 80 degrees.  The palm trees and lush green grass were everywhere, and there were wide, pleasant sidewalks to run on all around the resort area.  I took advantage of the locale I was in to help kick-start me back into the running schtick.  After all, when you've got weather like that and courses like the one below, how can you NOT want to run?*

*Ok, fine, I can totally understand that there are PLENTY of people that would see the above and not be inspired to run.  But trust me, if you were actually AT the resort, you'd be inspired to run.  Or swim.  Or lounge in the sun and drink the free booze and eat from the delicious and plentiful buffets.  Wait, what was my point again?

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Stairway, and Random Interjections

  • No, I'm not dead (yet). 
  • Yes, I'm still super-busy.
  • No, I would not eat green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.
  • Yes, vacation pictures from Mexico are still coming soon.
  • No, I didn't end up buying the Luchadore mask I was eyeing at the tourist trap in Playa Del Carmen (sorry, Mook).
  • Yes, I went running again today for the first time in almost a month.
  • No, it was not pleasant.
  • Yes, I feel better now for having done it.
  • No, I've never seen anything cuter than my girls, thank you very much.

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More Valuable Websites I Use

I'm not an overly big fan of the social networking and/or 2.0 websites, but I do use a few of them.  The big ones (Facebook, Last.fm, Delicious, Flickr, and Twitter) have already been rehashed in great detail, but there's a couple others that really do what I need them to do, and are worth a mention here – namely, Goodreads and RunningAHEAD.

Goodreads

Goodreads is my favorite book-related website.  In essence, it's a way to catalog and organize books.  You can use it any number of ways – as a way to log what books you read, categorize books in your library using "bookshelves" (essentially tags, so you can put one book on multiple "bookshelves"), review & rate books, and then add friends so you can view all of this information on other like-minded people's accounts.  I find it a great way to keep track of what I'm reading, how many books I'm reading a year, whether I already have a book in my library and whether I've read it, whether I'm borrowing/lending a book from/to someone else, and even my wish-list of books (hint: make a bookshelf called "wish-list" and then you can direct people to the books on it directly). 

In addition, everything is hyperlinked, so clicking on the author of a book will bring up a list of his/her works, clicking on the title of a book will show links to pages where you can read reviews and/or purchase the book, cover art is imported automatically, and you can subscribe to a feed and/or summary email of someone's activity, if you want to see what they've read/rated lately.

Goodreads is completely free, with no limit on the number of books you may have in your library.  They even have easy ways to import books from a spreadsheet or from ISBN numbers, if you already have them in some other format.  If you join or are already a member, be sure to add me as a friend – I love to see what other people are reading and how they rate the books they've read.  My profile is here, and it's easy to sign up and start keeping track of your own books!


RunningAHEAD

Recently, I've gotten back into running regularly for exercise, and as part of my efforts, I find it interesting and motivational to log my running activity.  Prior to signing up with RunningAHEAD, I used to keep all my runs in a spreadsheet on my computer.  The biggest issue with this was I never seemed to have a copy of the spreadsheet on the computer I was near after finishing my run.  Now I have a single, centralized location where I can enter my workout information, track my running shoes and the mileage I've put on them, and even map routes and add extra information about my run.  The website also has some decent graphing and trending tools to allow you to visualize any of the data variables you choose to record regularly.  The site even has capabilities to join or start a training group – all members that join are listed together under the group heading, and you can then chat in a separate group forum, share running reports, etc.  Overall, a very nice little site that does what it should do, and is free to boot.

If you want to see my RunningAHEAD info, my info is here.   Be aware I only update on a weekly/biweekly basis with all of the runs I did that week, once I download them from my Forerunner, so it may not show the most recent run status for me.


[NaBloPoMo 2008 – #29/30]

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