Sunday, February 3, 2008

0 Run 1, Week 2 (BTHR-P2): Giving It My All!


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It's 54 degrees & sunny in the beginning of February! How freakin' fabulous is that?!

Started today's run at 3:08 pm. It was beautiful outside, and almost felt like Spring! A really perfect day for a run.

And not surprisingly, it was rather crowded at the lake today. People were everywhere, and going in every direction too! At first, I felt like I was running the gauntlet, instead of a towpath. ;-)

Some days I don't mind running the great "human obstacle course," but frankly today was not one of those days. I wasn't in the mood to jostle past spacey people who weren't body-aware or watching where they were going, or to zig-zag around small children fanning out randomly and running every which way, often launching like little rockets from the arms of their parents. (In fact, I narrowly escaped a crash-course collision with a hyperactive little tot on a big wheel, who was flying headlong in reverse right onto the running path.) The little kids are cute, for sure, and if I was in another state of mind I probably would've laughed and smiled, but today I just wanted to be able to run unencumbered, without thinking about how I was going to maneuver around this person or that person, etc. Sigh. Not only was it mentally draining to be constantly focusing on how to get past clusters of stagnant & constant re-arrangements of people in the path -- bobbing and weaving like a *@&#*$% duck! -- it was also distracting, and affected my pace as well, as I had to slow down in several spots to maneuver around several "human blockades" on the path.

Also, in many, many instances, the people in front of me didn't hear or heed the heads-up notice I gave them, which meant that I often had to step around them and the asphalt path, landing -- "SQUISH!" -- squarely in the mud, many more times than I would've liked! By the end of my run, the bottom of my shoes were absolutely CAKED in the stuff! Grrrrr.

OK, I'll come right out & say it: I was extremely irritated by all of this! And since I don't feel like holding back anything today, I'm now going to growl about it a bit more: GRRRRRrrrrrr! ;-)

While there were several people who did move aside when I called to them, there were also a lot of people who didn't! Now, I usually like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but come on! There can't be that many people who are either hard-of-hearing or not paying attention! ;-) Making room for others/sharing the path with others is a common courtesy. Apparently some people out there on the path today missed that memo!!!!!!

Frankly, after finishing the first lap, I didn't know how I was going to take 4+ more laps of this without losing it. ;-) Thankfully, a few things happened that turned my attitude around, which I'll get to in a moment.

But first, I've got to rant a bit more and get it out of my system!

As you can tell, I wasn't in the mood for any B.S. today. Thankfully there weren't too many smokers blowing their toxic smoke clouds onto the path today, or I would've really let them have it! ;-)

That's one thing that really drives me crazy! I can't stand inhaling that nasty stuff as I'm running. It just saps my lungs. In an effort to avoid it as much as possible, I usually attempt to turn my face away, and either wave the smoke away with my hands, or hold my nose & close my mouth. I really don't care if the smokers are offended or not, as they are offending me with their inconsiderate behavior!

I don't think it's fair that I or anyone else who detests second-hand smoke should have to inhale that nasty stuff that smokers are puffing out into the general atmosphere. Atleast if you are going to smoke in public, please be considerate; go smoke in the corner, and face away from the path! It's my air too, and while you smokers have got the right to smoke yourselves to death in private, and unfortunately in public spaces like towpaths and such (atleast for now), you don't have to be a complete a**h*le and blow the smoke in my direction as I'm running, thank you very much. It's my inalienable right to happiness and health that you're stomping all over, so please smoke where I (and others who don't like to inhale second-hand smoke) don't have to breath in your cancer clouds.

OK, now I feel better. Now let us continue with the story......

Oddly enough, the thing that made me feel not so cranky about all of the above was something quite minor and random. I don't know how the thought popped into my head, but I think it was sparked by a thought about a conversation I'd recently had with my running buddy. While I'm not going to elaborate on the details of that conversation, as it was private, it did make me feel a whole lot better to think about it. So, I'd like to thank her for sharing her very helpful thoughts and advice, and for putting things into perspective on several important points!

When I was about halfway into lap 2, her words echoed in my head, and I was reminded of something pretty basic: While things might be rather trying for me right now, there's still a lot going well in my life that I can be thankful for in spite of these difficulties.

It was at this point that my pursed lips started to turn upwards, and the tension in my facial expression started to dissolve. That, and I also just seen a cute bulldog, which I'd just passed by on the path, which always seems to make me smile. ;-) There's something hilarious and adorable about their facial expressions and body stance that just puts me in a good mood. (Now you bulldog lovers out there will of course know what I'm talking about! ;-) )

Also, a few paces later I smelled cocoa butter, which also helped immensely to lift my mood. (I'm not making this up!) Of course, that made me think of the beach, summer, etc., and then I really started glowing inside. I don't know about you, but for me, smelling pleasant aromas, like honeysuckle after rainfall or freshly-cut grass, just have a way of banishing bad moods.

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But alas, I digress. In the midst of recounting today's little "emotional excursion," I've somehow managed to completely left out the facts & figures of today's run thus far. Maybe, for some of you, you'd prefer to hear these facts & figures. And then for others, you'd probably rather read the rant! LOL.

Anyhow, my good mood took my mind back to my runs, and I was able to focus once more on running. I even brought out my running mantras and visualizations a few times.

The earlier soreness I'd felt in my hip magically disappeared while I was running. (I think I must've just landed strangely during the last run. It's weird how the soreness lingered for a few days, and especially when I 'd walked, but didn't bother me at all during or after my runs. Who knows, maybe today's pre-run stretches & running helped to stretch out my hip muscles. ;-) )

Also, I took my usual glucosamine chondroitin and vitamins, etc., etc.

But let's get back to those facts & figures......

Today's schedule called for 40 minutes of running. All in all, I ran 6 laps (4.4 miles) total in 51:39 minutes, or an 11:37:58 minute-mile pace. My other splits were as follows: 4 laps (2.96 miles) in 34:19 minutes, and 5 laps (3.7 miles) in 42:54 minutes; amazingly, I kept a steady 11:35 minute-mile pace for both of these laps, but then lost some steam on the final lap. I wasn't originally intending to run 6 laps, so I'm still pleased that I put in the extra effort, as I was tired but nonetheless finished the extra lap. So "Hoorah!" for that atleast. ;-)

When I'd gotten to what I thought was going to be the last lap, lap 5, which usually takes me to about 42-44 minutes of running, I decided that since I'd only reached 43 minutes or so, that I'd keep going until reaching the full 45 minutes. And then of course, when I reached 45 minutes, this thought then expanded into another possibility, and then I thought, "Well, I'm almost halfway around the lake, so why don't I just keep going until I finish this lap?" So, I ended up running one more lap than I was originally intending to do.

Actually, this is what usually happens, as I often think, "oh, what the heck, it's only one more lap." I like to see how much I've got left in me, plus, I've become slightly OCD about finishing laps. ;-) Plus, it feels good to know that I can complete that little extra challenge at the end. The proverbial feather in my cap.

OK, well, that about does it for today's post. I'm off to a superbowl party with friends. Yes, very uncharacteristic of me, as those of you who know me would probably say, as I couldn't care a fig about football, but frankly, it's more of a social thing, and also a chance for me to catch up on my knitting. ;-) Actually, the guys (i.e., Erik & his friends) are really the only ones who will really be watching the football tonight, as not many of my girlfriends really watch the game either! ;-) It's just a gabfest for the girls, and a chance for the guys to emote unapologetically in front of the TV screen. ;-)

OK, well have a good night, everybody!

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