Thursday, January 13, 2011

Week 3: Treadmills and the Runner's Trots

I'm almost done with week 5, but figured I may as well go back and make some posts before my memory gets too foggy. Without further ado:

Week 3: 3 4 3 7
Monday: 3
Wednesday: 4
Thursday: 3
Sunday: 7

It was interesting going from balmy 80-degree weather on Hawaii's North Shore to blizzard- and slush-ridden New Jersey. It would have been even more interesting had my flight not been canceled, leaving me an extra couple days to run in a more temperate climate in Palo Alto (on a random side note, I've noticed I keep wanting to type Palo Alot). So I had a nice, shorts-and-t-shirt run that didn't leave me dripping in sweat, which I did easily during the day before I left.

My flight was Monday night, which meant I would be landing early Tuesday morning. However, then commenced a fun exercise of sitting on the tarmac for two hours (which I didn't mind because I got some extra sleep), discovering that the shuttle to the Subway was closed, wandering around trying to find a way to the city that didn't involve a $100 cab ride (the line for which I hear was 90 minutes anyway, outside in the wind), waiting for some alleged bus while sitting on a non-refundable ticket for about 2 hours, waiting for another bus to come around because the first was full, then circling the airport at a crawl for another hour until we at last escaped the airport (we're at 5 hours for those of you counting at home) and arriving at Grand Central just one hour after that. On about 4 hours of sleep.

Anyway, I was pretty happy to finally get to the city to hang out with Erica for a little while. Then I got to go back to my dad's house and reunite with my winter boots, coat, and mittens. The next day was pretty bright and sunny and the temperature of 33 or so sounded almost reasonable. Then I saw the windchill and said no thanks. My dad conveniently has a decent treadmill in the basement facing the tv, so I found something good to watch (who watches actual tv on the tv anymore?) and settled in for four miles. It wasn't bad--I got to watch House, ironically the one about the extremely obese man who's dying from something other than being fat--and with the treadmill I knew exactly how much farther and longer I had to go. That knowledge is annoying when I'm less than halfway, but once I pass that point it's enjoyable to some extent to watch the numbers tick by.

The next day I was feeling similarly wimpy, but enjoyed watching some celebrity gossip show that made the 3 miles (33ish minutes) go by quickly. And I don't feel bad about watching trashy tv because I was also running, so that more or less balances it out.

The plan after that was to do the 7 miles on new year's, Saturday, my last day in New York, but Erica stayed over and I decided I'd rather hang out and talk to her. Maybe I'll see her around spring break? (Hint to Erica)

I made it back to California with much less headache than I had leaving it. Unfortunately the run I did the next day was a little too interesting (see title of post). For those of you who don't know, the trots is when you have the urge to go to the bathroom during the run, and it can be bad, potentially even ugly. I had mapped out a route through the suburban streets that was 3.5 miles out so that I could turn around and run back the same way. Hilariously, I got the trots exactly when I was farthest away from home. I tried unsuccessfully to find some hidden spot behind the trees lining the path (I was pretty desperate) but this being the suburbs, every spot was either inaccessible because it was too steep or it was in potential view of about three different houses. Each search only delayed my getting to an actual toilet, so I resigned myself to running quickly back to Austin's house, where I started from. I stopped as little as possible because that made it so much worse; luckily there were very few traffic lights. I finally made it, burst through the door, and brushed past Austin trying to greet me and a last got some relief. In summary, getting to the halfway point took 40 minutes, and then coming back took only 35. Looks like I just needed some inspiration to be quick on the long runs. But from now on I'm being much more careful about taking care of everything before I leave.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Week 2: Hot Humid Slog

This entry is a bit delayed, but better late than never? I hope the handful of you devoted readers think so. And, while I'm on California time in New York and everyone's asleep (it's past 4am here) might as well jot down some thoughts before they get too old.

So, the second week was definitely tougher than the first. The shininess of embarking on a new goal has faded a bit, but it's still pretty satisfying to keep those miles coming. Not going to lie, though, the first run this week was pretty tough. Austin wasn't feeling well, so he couldn't drive me to where the bike path started. Instead I began from the house, and had to run on the side of the road for pretty much the whole 3.1 miles. That, combined with the heavy hot air (rain in Hawaii, ugh) and a podcast about Tea Partiers put me in a bit of a foul mood. Funny enough, I did the same exact run 3 days later and listened to Phedippidations (an inspirational running podcast) and ran 2 minutes faster, granted with a tad less humidity. I think the takeaway though is that while I can't really control the weather or availability of rides to places, there are certain factors I can control that will make me feel better, like what I listen to and think about.

The other two runs were a 4-miler in between those two, which went smoothly along the bike path, and the 6-miler, my first hour-plus run. The schedule for the week looked like:

Monday: 3.1
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 4
Thursday: 3.1
Friday: 6.4
Saturday: rest and air travel
Sunday: rest and canceled flight

The long run happened a day early because I thought I'd be flying all weekend: first from HI to CA and then CA to NY. The epic east coast blizzard happened on Sunday which ruined that, but that's another story. Anyway, what isn't up there is that Thursday also had an hour-long hike up and down a small mountain to see a lighthouse, so that combined with no rest day meant my legs were tired and I could feel it as soon as I started the long run. But I went slow, enjoyed myself, and stayed relaxed and happy. I was glad I had grabbed a water bottle to take with me too. (Next step: carbs.)

It took 1:17 or so of running with some walk breaks, but that with stretching and cooling down and minutes docked for fixing my hair and other things made Austin worried enough to go looking for me. Of course, he happened to set out right when I was in the backyard stretching, but his mom called him and he reappeared about 5 minutes later.

Later we met up with his friends for a 4.25 mile hike, of course, because Austin wants exercise too. After the short run and hike Thursday followed by a very long Friday, I was pretty content to sit on a plane for a while last Saturday for the return to California and ideal running temperatures. And thus concluded week 2.