Posts Tagged ‘30dayrun’

You Can’t Make Me

Jut two more consecutive days of running at least 1 mile, that’s all I needed to complete the 30-day running streak I’d started back on May 3rd. But on Monday, June 1st I thought, Screw that. I’m not running today.

I’d been struggling with my energy level the entire streak. Right around the time I began the streak, both my job and my personal life kicked into overdrive, so everything was demanding something extra from me, all the time.  I literally never got a break the whole month. I became so run down that I even called in sick to work one day, the symptoms being dizziness, inability to think clearly, and weakness. Sounds like dehydration and plain ole exhaustion to me. After a whirlwind wedding weekend in hot Chicago, I returned home on Monday morning with those same symptoms. At first I spent a couple of hours hammering out a few projects for my job, but after a while I was so depleted all I could do is lay on the couch and watch episode after episode of Justified off the DVR. The obligation of my 29th day of running pressed upon me and made it impossible for me to get comfortable. Evening rolled around, the air got cooler, and I knew that if I was going to run, the moment had arrived.

I thought I would feel guilty, a bit cowardly, or disappointed in myself for not gutting it out for two more measly days. But when I finally, actually admitted to myself that this 30-day streak was no fun at all, and in fact had become a burden and an obligation I resented, any remorse over not making it to 30 quickly dissipated. There are already far too many obligations in my life that are imposed upon me. And besides, the whole point of the streak was to use it as a way to make running fun again, but instead it felt like drudgery. Here I am again, dragging myself through another 1-mile run, just to feed the streak beast. Nah. 30-days is an arbitrary number anyway, right? I ran for 4 weeks consecutively–that’s another clean way to organize time if you must, but we certainly don’t have to.

This week, I’ve run only one day, Wednesday June 2nd, because it was National Running Day. My route took me through the New Calvary Cemetery, to celebrate the quiet death of my 30-day running streak. I am still exhausted, but I am feeling better. My feet aren’t itchy yet, and I’m going to Charleston, SC for work this weekend so who knows if I’ll feel like running in the heat and humidity I know awaits me there. This isn’t laziness. I’m just tired, people, and if I don’t feel like running nothing and no one is gonna make me.

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I wanted to run a 1:21:20 or better, which would have put my pace at 8:08– one second faster per mile than my half-marathon PR pace, which I ran two months ago. I know I’ve said on Twitter that I wanted to break 1:20 but I think that was just my dehydrated, addled (translation: delusional) brain brashly throwing down numbers. I figured that my training wasn’t as great as it was back in March, but I had put in decent mileage leading in (the four weeks of May, my mileage totals were 24.64, 27.91, 26.45 and 33.05) and the race was three miles shorter. I thought 1:21:20 was conceivable, though it wouldn’t be easy.

A few months ago, I suggested to a group of my female friends that we all race the Soldier Field 10 Mile together, because we would all be in Chicago that weekend for a wedding of the seventh member of our group. I lived with these remarkable women my first year out of college in Sacramento, CA. We were all volunteers with the same organization, which had placed us at various nonprofits around the city for a one-year gig. We met as strangers and parted as lifelong friends, and I haven’t missed a single wedding. When we lived in California, I was one of the inactive roommates. A few of the other women would always run together, but I’d sit on our house’s porch with a beer and a burrito, waving at them as they galloped by. So I was happy when I was able to recruit two of them to race with me in Chicago–finally I’d get my chance to ably hang with the sporty girls. Another one of us would be there to cheer us on at the finish line.

TD and I would leave together from the B&B in Oak Parl, IL and take the CTA Green Line to Soldier Field together, and then meet AC and BF once we’d all finished. As luck would have it, I set my blackberry’s alarm (still on EST time) incorrectly and we awoke at 3:30 instead of 5:30, got all dressed and ready, realized our mistake and then laid back down for two more hours of sleep. Two math geniuses, I tell ya. Waiting on the train platform, we met a bunch of runners from the Oak Park Runners Club, and they immediately invited us to join them. And I totally would have except I live in New York–they were so friendly!

Before we knew it, we’d zipped through packet pick-up, made a ladies’ room pit stop, and then snuck into the first corral at the second wave start. My last words to TD before the gun was, We have to be careful not to run this first mile too fast. She said “Uh-huh.” And my last words to TD before she disappeared were, “If you’re feeling good, go for it.” Less than a minute later she was out of sight. TD, I must mention, is a sprint triathlete and played scholarship basketball in college. Oh, and, she’s like supertall so she left me in her dust.

My first warning to TD was also my first mistake of the race. Mile 1 was my fastest of the race, and the only sub-8 of the race at 7:54. Dumbass. I know way better than that. Mile 2 was spent recovering from Mile 1 (8:16). I managed to lock onto my pace for Miles 3-5 (8:09, 8:09 and 8:05) and hit the halfway mark at 40:50. Miles 6-8 were a struggle as the course narrowed and the heat started to prick at me (8:13, 8:19, 8:23). I pulled myself together for Miles 9 and 10 (8:09 and 8:07) but the damage was done. My fast first mile, the heat, and poor nutrition (I didn’t eat dinner the night before and ate a protein bar that morning, which TD gave me since neither of us had thought about a meal) did me in. I ran this race half-right, hitting a good pace for 5 of the 10 miles, but my other mistakes compromised my speed for the other 5. I ended up finishing with a chip time of 1:22:08, at an average pace of 8:13 minutes per mile. Perhaps more than not hitting my time goal, I am ashamed of my positive split.

In addition to noticing mistakes where I do know better, I would also say that my training wasn’t specifically geared towards racing this 10-miler to my potential. Yeah, I did three long runs leading up and my weekly mileage was decent, but I didn’t give myself any time to rest since I am in the middle of this 30-day running streak, and I was nervous about adding in speedwork so soon after my marathon. So, the take-aways is a definitive Yes! I could have run faster. Lucky for me, that’s both disappointing and encouraging at the same time.

The course was lovely, and primarily flat. We started outside historic Soldier Field, and ran through the tunnels to get to Lake Shore Drive. The road took us down to Hyde Park, Lake Michigan on our left, where we turned around and headed back along the narrower rec path (the lake now on our right). Things were a little more crowded on the rec path, so although we had a slight breeze cooling us off from the lake, everyone slowed down as we were forced to bunch up a bit more.  At one point, the path curved to the left, and off to our right was the glittery, silver and blue skyline of Chicago. I was quite the sight, and this city girl nodded in approval. The finish, back through the tunnels, dumped us out right onto Soldier Field, and apart from the fact that I was on historic Soldier Field (Husband really got a kick out of this), the turf felt so good on my legs after 10 miles of cement. I heard my friends cheering from the bleachers (how they spotted me I have no idea, what champs!), which gave me a bit more zip as I pushed towards the finish line.

At the end of the day, I got to share this event with dear old friends, race in a new state at a new distance (yes, this is my first 10-mile race), and meet some lovely Twitter pals afterwards. It was great to talk to you @chanthana, @krzimmer and @12monkeys. Oh and those Oak Park runners? They were on the train back with us, too, and we chatted with them the whole time. So friendly!

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O Is for Open Bar

Thursday morning, I ran 4.35 miles around my neighborhood. It took me a while since I was still recovering from the effort of Wednesday evening’s race. Oh, and that night I hosted a cocktail party in the Penthouse Suite of the Omni Berkshire Place, as a capstone event to a cross-promotion for one of my imprint’s cookbook authors. I had three glasses of white wine and enough nibbles to help me sleep like a champ. 

that's me, headless, on the left.

Friday evening was Husband’s little sister’s wedding, and I was one of six bridesmaids. (Because I had to show up at the stylist’s with my hair “dirty,” I ran just one measly mile that morning to keep my streak going.) After many hours of watching the bride and her maids primp (I was ready at 3 PM, but we didn’t leave for pictures until 6:30), we spent a quick hour taking photographs. By 7:30 we all basked in the bride and groom’s happiness as they said the vows that would spiritually and romantically (not to mention financially) bind them to each other forever. It was a gorgeous setting, at a gazebo overlooking the Hudson River, the trees in full leaf and the sky still softly lit by a late evening sun. 

As we walked away from the gazebo and followed the newlyweds back to the bridal suite, we all traipsed right past the bar. Oh, the sultry allure of an uncorked bottle of red wine. You can bet your bupkis I was belly up to that bar no less than eight minutes later (no, seriously, I was the first bridesmaid to slip out of the suite and arrive at the cocktail hour). The reception went until well past midnight; before I knew it I looked up and the ballroom was empty, just a few of the closest relatives and most dedicated partiers hanging tough. I may have snored softly  in the passenger seat as Husband carefully drove us home. 

I awoke Saturday hungover, my feet still sore and swollen from 10 hours in bedazzled high heels. I spent the entire day squirreled away at the office, emerging with just enough time to run one mile in the moist evening air. Once my dog stopped barking, I slept like a woman who had traveled across state lines to meet her lover. 

Who said Sunday was a day of rest? I can’t remember the last time I took it easy on a Sunday, and today was no exception. I was up at 6 AM to run 10 miles, my final long run in preparation for the Soldier Field 10 Mile race in Chicago, IL next weekend. (This is the most casual preparation I’ve ever given to a longer distance race. I like it, but I don’t prefer it.) It was a great run, and halfway into it I realized I could make it a progression run, so I went for it. Miles 1-3: 29:10; Miles 4-6: 27 flat; Miles 7-9: 26:07 and Mile 10 8:28. I felt my body revving up, mile by mile. I love that feeling of speed building from within, of giving off heat, of knowing I can keep it up. 

This afternoon was spent watching various social circles of my world overlap and merge like congenial amoeba at the Team Fox Young Professionals Sunday Funday Brunch at Dos Caminos in the Meatpacking district. Twitter runners, over here. Work pals, over there. Husband, in the middle. Not only did they all get along, but I kept myself upright despite the two mimosas and three frozen margaritas I drank. Even better news: I think we raised over $10,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research! Final tally to come but wow, I am touched and gratified by everyone that supported the cause. I know some of you had asked if you could contribute even if you were unable to attend, and the answer is YES! You can make a donation to the MJFF here. 

Special thanks to my friends who came out today; I am so so grateful and it was a treat to hang out with you all together. SHOUT-OUTS…. From home, Husband. From work, BB, SR, LC and DT (he’s also from running @runner510).  From running, EN, @NYCe, @runamyrun, @electricmeat, @nieves111, @BklynRunner and @mycbklyngirl. 

Songs I ran to today: “O Ceu” by Marisa Monte, “O Leanzinho” by Gaetano Veloso, “Oak Cliff Bra” by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” by the Beatles, “Obvious Child” by Paul Simon, “The Ocean in Between” by Matthew Sweet, “Oh Child” by New Bohemians, “Oh L’Amour” by Erasure, “Oh!” by Sleater-Kinney, “Old White Lincoln” by the Gaslight Anthem, “On My Way” by Billy Boy on Poison, “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads, “One of Us” by Joan Osborne, “One Way or Another” by Blondie, “One Woman Man” by Josh Turner, “Only You Know and I Know” by Joan Osborne, “Open Door” by Josh Ritter, “An Open Letter to NYC” by Beastie Boys, “Open Up the Door” by Jonah Smith, “Open Your Heart” by Madonna, “Opening: I Can’t Turn You Loose” by the Blues Brothers, “Opera Singer” by Cake, “Optimistic Thoughts” by Blues Traveler, “Otto e mezzo” by Irene Grandi, “Over It” by Matthew Sweet, “Overkill (acoustic version)” by Colin Hay

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Nope, I’m not racing this one. Just running it, just taking it easy. This was my plan all day, as I have been suffering from some strange illness since Sunday night. It felt like some mix between jet lag, chronic fatigue syndrome, and extreme dehydration. I was sluggish, woozy, and (perhaps worst of all) thinking very slowly. I even called in sick to work on Monday. I have been feeling incrementally better, but still today everyone was telling me I looked “glassy” and “sleepy.” I went to Pilates at lunch, which is not a cake class since our instructor gets our heart rates up and instructs us to do everything “from the belly.” Nevertheless, I love these media challenges (remember last year I went to the first one just to cheer?) and refused to miss it. I’d run with my iPod, I decided, and have it be just another workout towards my 30 day running streak (Day 17 for those of you keeping count at home).

Unexpectedly, I felt a lot better after Pilates, as it seemed to improve both my mood and my energy level. By the time I got to the benches outside Tavern on the Green, I felt ready to run (not race, just run). I wore my funny little running dress. It’s such an unlikely item in my drawer of workout gear, yet it is helpful as a strategic tool. Who thinks the girl in the dress and cutie pie pigtails could be competitive? I look silly, so people underestimate me. Then I pass them. Or at least, I pass some of them.

If you aren’t savvy about it, this course can really kill you. It starts just north of Tavern on the Green with a long downhill, nearly half a mile long–we run down what I call the “Hill of Spite” (it is part of the last .2 miles of the New York City Marathon, except marathoners run up it). The course continues counterclockwise around the lower loop of the park, over lots of rollers which, on the second go-around, can really hurt if you haven’t paced yourself well. I really held myself back the first loop, strictly pacing myself (Mile 1=8:41; Mile 2=8:16). My split for that loop, which is a little bit longer than 1.75 miles because we start about 100 yards back from the finish line, was called out at 15:13. Okay, now break 30 minutes. It was a little after the 2-mile mark when I decided to start picking people off, and in fact, everyone I passed stayed passed. Well, everyone except for this one guy, who first passed me, then I passed him, then he passed me finally in the home stretch. I passed my colleague’s husband, SJ, who told me at the start that he would hang back with me and let me pace him since he ran Ragnar this weekend. Except he took off down that hill with all the other runners who get sucked in to the slope, and clearly tuckered himself out. I was surprised since he knows the course as well as I do. In the last half mile I even passed KD, a much younger runner who was one of my mentees in Team in Training for the Disney World Marathon in 2008 and who I’ve never beaten before. Mile 3=7:27, and the last 0.47 miles took me 3:12 (or a 7:29 pace).

My official finishing time doesn’t correspond with my Garmin because I was so chilled out at the beginning of the race I forgot to hook up Little G with his satellite buddies and my watch got started late. My race time is 28:08, as the 22nd woman to finish (my personal best for this course is 27:10). I probably could have pushed harder, too, especially in the first mile, but hey: not bad for not racing!

After the race, I was able to chat with DT, a friend, colleague and Twitter buddy, and I met DG, who races with Brenn for MgGraw-Hill, and who has been reading my blog for over a year! I was touched when he told me he still reads PF. I’ve just added his blog, The Long Rush, to my blogroll now that I’ve met him (that’s the rule, I have to know you in the actual world, for your blog to make it onto my blogroll). The guy who passed me in the home stretch came over and shook my hand and said “Good race.” We introduced ourselfs and I recognized his name–the guy who passed me is an occasional reader of my blog who originally found PF by googling the Media Challenge two years ago! All in all, this was a great start to the Media Challenge series, and I look forward to improving my time from this race, as well as over my PB.

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A Third of the Way There

Now that there are 10 days down and 20 to go in my 30-day running streak, I will share with you my ground rules.

  1. Must run a minimum of 1 mile for the run to count for the day.

Oh. Well, I guess there’s just one ground rule, really. But, that rule is dressed up with a whole philosophy about the streak. My approach is making it lots of fun, which is just what I was hoping. (One of the main things I was looking forward to after the London Marathon was putting the fun back into my running.) I mix it up by running at all times of the day (not just in the mornings as I did when I was marathon training) and trying out different routes, making them up as I scoot along. I’m not adhering to any training plan, I’m not doing any speed work (unless I just feel like running fast that day), I’m not setting any expectations on myself for pacing, though I do have a rough idea that I’d like to run 8 miles this weekend and 10 the weekend after in preparation for the Soldier Field 10-Mile that I’m racing in Chicago on May 29th.

Today I ran home from work, which was fine. It was chilly, and I was underdressed in my shorts and a tee shirt (from the 2007 Healthy Kidney race, in honor of this weekend’s event). Luckily I had on my red gloves. I was happy when I made it home, I’m so tired today. That was about 3.5 miles, and I ran just hard enough to stay warm. A cyclist shouted his props to me for getting out in the cold as he zipped past me on the bridge (if he only knew), but other than that it was an unremarkable run.

Yesterday morning before work I met MP outside my gym and we went for an easy run down the West Side Highway. She lives in the neighborhood so it was convenient for both of us. I love her midwestern accent, it reminds me of my dear friend AC, also a runner from Illinois. We talked running, work, vacations and the strange privilege of being a bridesmaid. We also laughed a lot, which made the 7 miles just fly by. Wow, I hadn’t set out to run 7 but the weather was gracious, the sun shiny but not glaring, and the company just right.

I think this 30-day running streak is going to change me just a little bit. I have a funny feeling. Or rather, I have a fun feeling.

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Day 8 of the 30-day running streak went by without a hitch. Had one of those magical runs home where I could feel my pigtails flying behind me, where I felt like I owned the streets, where I felt like the most beautiful creature on two legs even though surely I must have looked bouncy and ungainly… This woman ran 27 consecutive marathons (mostly by herself, as necessitated by her endeavor). I just don’t understand what the deal is with that massive cart… What would bum you out more if you were running a marathon: a bomb scare or rain that made your shoes & socks sodden?… This hottie French chef trained for the LA Marathon in just 8 days. Why he and everyone else is acting like it’s such a great and amazing thing is beyond me. What a terrible example he’s setting for people; folks who don’t know any better could get seriously injured! And, notice the braces he’s wearing on his knees, and his finishing time. Pbblt… My Green Mountain Relay teammate TW emailed me about this woman, Lisa Smith-Batchen, a few weeks ago. Her goal is to run 50 miles in each of the 50 states. I appreciated his affirming comments, “She is very friendly, like any other extraordinary runners.” Since I think pretty much all runners are extraordinary people, that must mean we all are very friendly… If you are looking for inspiration, or for just a little bit more of my blogging self, head on over to MsV’s blog, Gymnotes, and check out her “Women on the Rise” post and our comments in response to the questions she challenged us to. I for one am touched and honored to be among such fine company… I love these 9 Great Sounds of New York City, courtesy of MUG. My favorites? Morning, Whispering, and Bob. What are yours? What would you add to this list if you could make it 10 Great Sounds? I’d add the rattle of the N train as it heads into Queensboro Plaza (as I’m running on my bridge, of course)… I already told you about Sunday’s trail run, but I didn’t tell you what happened to BG afterwards… My relay team has finally been wrapped up, with all 12 runners committed (there’s a blood oath involved), happy  hours scheduled, and race legs assigned. We’ve got a handful of bloggers, tweeters and one podcaster. But we still can’t compete in the All-Blogger category. Damn? Nah… Some of my long-term readers may recall my post about the various levels of Skinny Jeans. Well, Claire takes it one step further with motivation being “J+B.” Funny (& true) stuff!.. I was going to head to the Poconos the weekend of June 11th, but now I think I need to stay in town and spectate at the New York Mini–and take some pictures of two of my favorite marathoners, Kara & Paula! Wow!

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I walked out of the house this morning and welcomed the chill in the air. I had a steaming mug of coffee in my hand, to sip during the drive to meet BG for a 5-mile trail run around the lake at Tobyhanna State Park. It was windy, but the trees around our house protected us from the worst of the buffeting. (Last night, the lights kept flickering as the wind tore at the power lines.) I didn’t realize how chilly it was, though, until I arrived at the park, pulled in next to BG, and saw the whitecaps on the lake. Then I noticed my car’s monitor said 35°F! Luckily BG had an extra tech pullover I could wear, since I had showed up in just shorts and a tee.

Once we had run past the parking lot we were protected from the wind’s full bluster by the trees which lined the trail, or the “green tunnel” as BG poetically called it. The trail is very well manicured so I didn’t have to maneuver around big rocks or divots. We leapt over branches that had fallen due to wind, and at one point I tripped over a root, but for me tripping is pretty much par for the course. (Ooh golf metaphor.) I was worried that an uneven trail surface would tax my stabilizing muscles (Betty being one of them) and I’d have have to forgo running the trail in the future, but in fact the softer surface felt great on my legs. I am relieved, and have decided that I found a new route to run up here. Can’t wait to come back in the summer and tear it up.

It was great to run with BG again, who is about to undergo surgery on his shoulder again. He ran Boston this year for the fourth time, and is hoping to recovery from his operation quickly enough to train for a BQ this Fall. Good luck, BG–and I know we’ll run together some more this spring and summer.

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Days 3, 4, 5 and 6 of my 30 Days of Running went by without a hitch. Even though half of my workouts have been less than 3 miles, it’s exhausting running every day. My body’s used to her two rest days a week, and has been reminding me of it every morning when I wake up and make her plod out a few miles, most of them at around a forgiving 10-minute per mile pace. I was encouraged by Thursday’s run, over my Queensboro Bridge and back, which I ran at a nice 9:26 pace. Today, Day 6, was special. It was the first time I’ve run in Pennsylvania since Valentine’s Day! Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t been here since February. If I do the math (cost to maintain my Poconos house divided by number of days spent enjoying the place) I’ll go batty at the expense of it, so I’m just not going to do the math! Needless to say, it’s about time I’m back, enjoying this peaceful, leafy haven. There’s nothing like waking up at this house on a Saturday morning, percolating a pot of strong coffee, and going to sit in a rocking chair on my deck. I put my feet up on the railing, contemplate the trees and the sky, with Matilda resting her chin on my knee. I rock a little in my chair, warm my hands on the mug, pull my flannel shirt around me and let the weak morning sun hit my face.  I am a city girl, comfortable with fast talking and faster walking, happy in high heels and full make-up. There’s no getting around that. But I love my three wooded acres, I love the way I can wear the same clothes for two days straight, I love how the biggest expectation on me is that dinner hits the table sometime between 5 and 9 PM.

I took the rare opportunity today to procrastinate, another one of the simple pleasures of the Poconos house. I was forced out of bed by an achy back around 9 AM, brewed my coffee and sat in the rocker tweeting up a storm. Unfettered tweeting is another rare pleasure, and I milked it until Husband woke at 9:45.  Then I went grocery shopping, listening to country music on the way there. I love driving the curvy, hilly tree-lined roads between my house and Ahart’s. I put the windows down, blast the heat on my toes, and let pop country music flow over me. After shopping, I bullied Husband out of the kitchen as I unpacked the groceries, then sat in an armchair and read 100 pages of a novel for work. Whooeeeboy, that really wiped me out so I took a nap after that. The bed was unmade–Husband was spectacularly doing laundry, plunging every washable piece of fabric into the machine–so I laid down right on the bare mattress, rested my head upon an uncased pillow, pulled the down comforter over my head and slipped into one of those naps that weighs 1000 pounds. I was dead to the world, there was no moving me. You must understand, people: for me, this sort of day is like laying on a Caribbean beach, or having a passel of barefoot manservants circling me. It. Never. Happens. I awoke from my nap, which effectively erased three hours of my life (nuclear holocaust? really? sucks for you.), and prepared my cute 8 lb chicken with stuffing. I am not averse to bragging, when I know I am good at something, so I will say: my roast chicken, in that homespun way, ROCKS. Once il mio piccolo pollo was tucked safely into il forno at 350 degrees, it was time for me to get reacquainted with my neighborhood’s hills.

With my iPod in, I danced my way up the path from our house to the street. I knew Husband was watching me for his own amusement so I gave some extra twists and shakes. The Jackson 5 were getting me warmed up. Aren’t the cymbals in “ABC” so great? Every time I hear that song I just want to be the person hitting the cymbals. They are sharp, but also splashy, all at the right moments. I never did understand this lyric, though. Why can’t Michael make up his mind? Siddown girl, I think I love you! No! Get up girl! Show me what you can do! Shake it shake it baby!

Hello Pocono Lake! Hello hills, why don’t you feel hillier to me? I am happy that I am able to run and feel so strong this soon after my marathon, that’s a first for me. I am paying close attention, though, as arrogance and ambition could lead to injury if I’m not careful.

It’s all behind you now, shoulda quit but you didn’t know how. — Galactic

I believe it’s better to inflict than to attempt relief. — The Delgados

I ran, tracing the maple-leaf pattern of my course through the neighborhood. It felt good to be back, staking my claim on the streets of Riverside Estates. Our neighbor’s dog barked and chased me down the block when I hit Wappinger Way. This is the same dog that terrorizes Matilda, so I gave it the finger. That was fun.

Is the weight of your own life too much for you? If all is a game, you forgot to play, you did. — Nada Surf

A wind blew, just strong enough to dry my perspiration as it hit my skin. It kept me refreshed, it huffed me to alertness. I noticed that the sky, pushing into the space between the trees and the horizon which rolled with our baby mountains, was undecided. It seemed at first like a tarnished sliver platter, reflecting light but ready to storm. Then, perhaps coerced by a better suggestion from the wind, it turned blue, giving entrance to meek but good-matured puffy white clouds. It was 7 PM and the sun was shining in cooperation with the rest of her celestial team. I’d run over 4 miles, my little chicken was roasting, and I had another 24 hours of unscheduled bliss ahead of me. Now, there’s a streak I’d like to keep going.

Songs I ran to: “ABC” by The Jackson 5, “Advice for the Young at Heart” by Tears for Fears, “Ages of You” by R.E.M., “Ain’t Got You” by Paul Westerberg and then nicely continuing with the same vocalist, “Alex Chilton” by The Replacements, “All Behind You Now” by Galactic, “All in the Groove” by Blues Traveler, “All Is a Game” by Nada Surf, “All Lifestyles” by The Beastie Boys, “All Over My Head” by Matthew Sweet, “All Shook Up” by Elvis Presley, “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers, “All You Need Is Hate” by The Delgados (also on my Happy Songs about Terrible Things playlist) and “Alphabet Street” by Prince

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On Day 2 of my 30 Days of Running, I ran 3.99 miles in 40:55. The fact that I didn’t run that extra 0.01 miles is proof that I completely ignored Little G while he was tracking our progress through New Calvary Cemetery and around Celtic Avenue. Celtic Avenue is an itty bitty street that gives the picturesque 50th Avenue the aspect of a smile of pearly whites interrupted by a chipped tooth. 50th Avenue is lined by old trees, with arching, well-leafed branches. The homes that claim 50th Avenue as their address are brick-faced, with front windows that have little peaked eaves, and itty bitty stained glass panels looking out at us like a third eye. As I circled the cemetery grounds, I could see the sun rise to the east of me, and its reflection shimmered in the windows of the building to the west of me.

On Day 2 of my 30 Days of Running, I also started my One Hundred Pushups program. On Monday, I was humbled by the result of the test. I could only do 6 push-ups (the real ones, from my toes rather than my knees) before completely giving up in a quivering pile, moaning owie owie owie. Six push-ups meant that on Day 1 of Level 2 I had to do a total of 25 push-ups, broken out into sets of 6-6-4-4-5. Gave myself a little pep talk after I got back from my run. TK you got this. I went into the bedroom and closed the door. No way was Husband going to witness this indignity. The first 6 weren’t so bad. So I launched into the second 6 after the alloted 60-second break. By the fifth push-up of my second set I’d started to slow down, and I thought, surely you don’t need to employ mental toughness techniques after just 11 measley push-ups, TK? But yet, there I was, talking myself through push-up #12, saying Think how fabulous your arms will look when you have to wear that strapless bridesmaid dress at your sister-in-law’s wedding!

It was after I completed my second set of push-ups that I decided to take the longer break the program offered between sets, for the most pathetic among us. I looked around. I know, I’ll make the bed! Once the bed was made, I dropped and gave you 4. That’s right, FOUR. Ggrah! I waited 60 seconds and did 4 more, muttering under my breath, You can do this TK! Ooh feel that? Your abs are working too! After those 4 I decided to take another longer break. I folded a bag of clean towels. Once that was done, I whistled a bit as I looked around for some other thing to tidy up. All that was left was dusting, which would require me exiting the bedroom to get a cloth and a spritz bottle. If I came out before I was done, I’d never finish, so I relented and tried to ignore the burny, wobbly feeling as I pushed my body up five more times.

When I finished, I shuffled out to the living room and held my arms out to Husband. Whah whah, I whined (or something approximating that). He shook my hand, my arm flopping around like an overcooked linguine, and tried to pull me out of his line of vision: I was blocking SportsCenter. I flexed and said I’m going to have great arms! He said, while never once losing eye contact with Chris Berman, “Push-ups work your triceps. If you want biceps you have to do curls.” I nearly fell over.

The idea of racing 26.2 miles didn’t even induce taper madness this year, but completing 25 push-ups  requires self-cajoling and pep-talking of a magnitude that would imply I was taking on the Knickerbocker 60k. I promise, if I stick with this Hundred Pushups program, I WILL post a photo of my fabulous arms–in the strapless bridesmaid gown (which will appear decidedly less fabulous by comparison). Who wins here? I admit, it’s still unclear.

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This morning I started my 30-day running streak. I don’t think I’m interested in continuing it past 30 days, since I do love my rest days. However, I think this is a great way to get back into the habit of running after 8 days off since the London Marathon, and also it’s kind of hard for me to turn away from a direct challenge (thanks-or, maybe on June 2nd no thanks–to Jim.) Joining me in this streak is Kate from Texas, my favorite alpaca-lover and ultramarathoning woman. (One day I am going to visit her and I will feel very short.) Anyway, I’ve already sorted out that the way to make this streak work is that three out of seven days will be very short runs–just once around the Sunnyside Loop, or about 2.2 miles. Considering that about halfway through the streak I’m going to start running doubles in preparation for the Green Mountain Relay, those 2.2-milers could quickly become my favorite workouts of the week.

I promised you that when I got home I would post photos from my last run before the London Marathon. Here they are, images of my route along the Thames Path.

I had dinner here years ago with Mom & TC.

An old pier, behind it St. Paul's Cathedral & cranes indicating construction

Tate Modern, Thames Path

Shakespeare's The Globe Theater

Thames Path Diversion -- amazing signage!

More amazing diversion signage, with clear directions!

London Eye, last bit of the run.

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