What did I just call myself?!

Today I actually felt a little bit like a runner. Now of course the minute I say that out loud I feel like a fraud but that seems to be pretty normal for most people when they start out so I'll just embrace it.

Today's run was a little bit different. It wasn't a new distance record that made me feel like a runner, I've run further before. It wasn't a new speed record that made me feel like a runner, I've run faster before. I felt like a runner today because I find got around some imaginary roadblock in my head and the amount of time I spent actually running increased.

Every week the app I'm using has me go up a level with more time spent running and less time walking. Today was the first day of level 5 and the app requires that I spend more time running than walking. It wasn't the first time the program asked me to do this but it was the first time I cooperated with the instructions. Typically towards the end of the running interval I can feel it coming and my brain just shuts down and I lose my momentum with about 30 seconds to go.

Today I discovered a way to mentally power through and started and completed every running interval when instructed and not a second before or after the command was screamed into my ear by the apps Drill Sargent. I could feel my body losing strength as I knew the interval was ending but I just told my self no, at one point I actually said it out loud, thankfully to an empty trail, and it worked.

From here on out the app just starts ramping things up so it appears that I've discovered this new mental ability just in time.


My first morning run

Happy Easter!

Confession: I haven't been running on the weekends. Why? Well because as much as I might intend to my husband is usually around and I find him incredibly distracting. As he isn't a runner so we usually end up deciding on a mutually enjoyable activity. However, I suspect now that the weather is nicer I'll have the opportunity to run on the weekends while he's out on his motorcycle. So don't crash into him!!  

Running during the week is so easy for me because it's part of my day. All of my coworkers know where I go and why at this point it would be weird if I didn't. I'm not sure what I would even do with myself in the middle of the day at this point if I didn't go running. 

The nature of working in healthcare is that you're open 24/7 which means that every so often I do end up working on a weekend manning the phones. I don't work as long of a day as I do during the week though so there's no running for me at lunch time. Since I had only run 4 times this week (wasn't up for running on the snow on Wednesday, WTF snow?!) I figured I would try to get a run in on the trail before since I would be at work  anyway.

Typically at work I spend my lunch hour as such: change into running clothes, warm up walk to trail, run to trail, cool down walk back, stretch, try my best to bathe in the sink and put my work clothes back on. This doesn't even take me a full hour, I have time left over to heat up lunch and attack a liter of water like I've spent a year in the Sahara.

When you take into account that I wouldn't be heating up food and I was already in my running clothes arriving at work an hour before I needed to be there was really more than enough time. I gave myself a little extra warm up time because it was only 36 degrees out and I'm not quite used to that, maybe next year.

It was pretty much business as usual when I headed out, saw a lot more dogs than normal, one that even looked big enough to be a bear cub. There were more people than I've ever seen before which I liked because I don't actually mind saying hi to strangers as much as I might think I do and just in case of an emergency it always feels safer when people are around.

So off I went, running down the trail, lost in my breathing and focusing on people in front of me to see if I could over take them. Suddenly I realized I was farther on the trail than I had ever been before. Turns out the app I use that prompts my intervals and tracks my distance/speed didn't yell at me to turn around at the halfway point which should have happened nearly 10 minutes prior.

Oh crap.

This is the part where I should mention that the return trip on the trail usually goes a little bit slower as it's a gradual up hill adventure. I'm plugging away but the panic over the realization that I might not make it back in time spiked my adrenalin and it's quickly wearing off. I can feel the anxiety creeping in and suddenly my legs feel like jello.

Then in the distance I see the little old man I past earlier, still plugging away up the hill like a champ. I decided to focus on him. I matched his pace and focused on him instead of the size of the hill we were climbing. Bless his obviously in shape ticker, he did not falter once, which really worked out for me because if he had I would have lost all drive and done a slow sad walk the whole way back.

Once the incline was less severe I was able to finish the trail with a bit more vigor that was inspired by the thought of someone coming into the office and finding me a sweaty mess if I didn't have enough time to change.

Turns out I made it with time to spare and was able to get presentable before office hours started but only because I skipped stretching before changing. Don't yell at me I was able to get it done at my desk shortly after and even used a cubical for legs up the wall.

Because of the app screw up I don't have my paces for today but I do know the total distance was 3.49mi which blows the day before out of the water, I'm sticking with my current interval training though so I won't be passing that one for a while, unless of course there is another blunder.


My First Therapeutic Run

Yeah, I run under power lines, what of it?
This is the trail that the nice man at the running store recommended to me and every time I set foot on it I remind myself that I really need to send him a big Thank You. There is really no contest between running on the trail and running on the sidewalks in town. I absolutely prefer the peace, quiet and tranquility that comes with running the rail trail. No crosswalks to worry about, no school demon children throwing stuff over the fence at me during recess (they threw chunks of ice once), and no wondering if the approaching car is slowing down on an otherwise empty road to kidnap me.

There was an incident at work yesterday first thing in the morning where I suddenly found myself in some really confusing headspace to the point where I couldn't even pull up my big girl panties and talk it out because I was so emotional. To put it mildly I was an absolute mess on the inside and just barely holding it together on the outside.

Lunch time came around and I suited up and hit the trail at first I tried to think things out but the anxiety that caused just made it harder to breath which of course makes it harder to run. So I just focused on my breathing and saying hello to the people I passed on the trail.

[That's how much I like the trail, I go way out of my comfort zone and feel compelled to be friendly to everyone I see so because I imagine if I'm not someone will kick me out.]

Not only did this lead to my fastest pace 9:51 min per mile run and my longest distance at 2.69 mi but when I was done all my anxiety was gone, I hadn't thought about what was bothering me at all but I already felt better about it and was calm enough to pull it together and talk about the situation like an adult. Of course it turns out that everything was a gigantic misunderstanding but it probably would have ruined my weekend if I didn't get it straightened out and I'm not sure I could have done that without my run. 


Splish Splash

Yesterday was the first time since I started running at lunch time that it was raining when it was time for me to go out. I've been really lucky to either have it stop shortly before or start after my run. I knew I had two choices I could either stay inside and try to entertain myself for an hour away from my desk so my boss wouldn't kill me or I could just do it.

My thought process was that if I still had a dog I would still take her out in this weather and aren't my needs just as important? I think they are. So out I went into the drizzle armed with my lucky Giants hat and my rain jacket over my usual running gear.

By the time I made it down to the trail I realized that I had been mistaken about a couple of things, this was not just a drizzle but an all out downpour and my "rain" jacket was barely a water resistant garment. I kept at it though, moving down the trail, dodging puddles, enjoying the solitude and feeling the mud kick up on the back of my legs, it reminded me of being a kid again.

I arrived up back at work with fogged up glasses and completely soaked through to the bone. Oddly enough the only complaint I had about my first run in the rain was that I forgot to set the screen lock on my phone during so the program I use to track my distance accidentally deleted my progress before I could log it. I can't say that I'd prefer to run in the rain all the time but I certainly don't mind it as much as I thought I might. I will say that it helps that it was about 60 degrees out, running in cold rain is probably not as pleasant.


My first pair of real running shoes

I've always been secretly interested in running but never really got around to it, I was unsure of myself and as silly as it sounds didn't really know where to start. I tried it a few times but never really put much effort into it and never really had any specific goals in mind so I just kind of lost interest. 

A few weeks ago my boss sat me down to have a chat about all the extra hours I was putting in. It hadn't gone unnoticed that I was coming in earlier and earlier and spending my lunch break at my desk. We agreed on a new schedule for me and she made me promise to stick to it. So there I was suddenly banned from my office for an entire hour in the middle of the day. For reasons that I do not fully understand I finally decided to go for it and spend my hour of exile running.

I quickly discovered how much I actually do enjoy running but could tell from the get go that the shoes I was wearing were all wrong for what I was trying to do. The minute I was done with my warm up my feet started to ache and every footfall just seemed to make it worse, yet the minute I stopped I was fine. Cross trainers are great shoes but not for pounding the pavement. I've heard horror stories due to improper shoe related injuries so I was all too aware of how important it was to invest in my footwear.

However, the only thing that I did know was that I knew absolutely nothing about running shoes. I decided that going to Dick's or Sport Authority wasn't going to cut it for me. The staff just isn't knowledgeable enough for my comfort level. All I know about my feet is that my arches are high but as much as I googled pronate I still couldn't figure out how I could get that information from myself, by myself. So I asked my personal trainer where she recommended I go and she sent me to this little local running store that I unknowingly drive by everyday on my way to and from work.

Even though I was tipped off about this place by a very reliable source I was still terrified to walk in there and found myself secretly hoping it was closed when I arrived so I could spare myself the awkwardness. I imagined a store full of seasoned runners scoffing at me as I shuffled in encased in my cloud of cluelessness. Boy, was I wrong. The shop was small and cluttered but I can appreciate organized chaos. The man behind the counter was chatting with a customer who was on his way out with an air of openness and familiarity. It turns out that the man behind the counter was the owner, Mark, and he could not have been more friendly or supportive which immediately put me at ease. He asked me a few questions, congratulated me on my decision to take up running, laughed at my converse because that's all he had for running shoes when he was in college and even made recommendations for safer locations for me to run on my lunch break, turns out there's a really great rail trail that I've been running right by every day without even knowing it! 

Then he looked at my feet, watched me walk and used a mat connected to a computer system to see what kind of feet we were dealing with. Turns out he and I have the same kind of feet so he understood my concerns first hand. Also, he claims that my super high arches make me a faster runner compared to someone with flat feet. I refuse to even look up if that's true or not because I'd like to think that I have superpower feet when I start to feel like I can't go that extra mile. Once he had all the information he vanished for 10 seconds and then presented me with a pair of shoes. No options, no decisions, just "here you go". He even showed me a better way to lace them up so they wouldn't fly off and then to my surprise he sent me outside to run in the parking lot and around the building. 

I felt like I was running on clouds. There was absolutely no trace of the horrible ache I experience in my old shoes and I felt like I could actually pick up my feet and go faster. The experience with the right shoe is night and day from what I have been dealing with. When he signaled me to run back to him I felt like a million bucks and didn't even mind that he invaded my personal space with a congratulatory pat on the back. He complimented me on my form and stride and the fact that I seemed confident in my gait instead of shuffling along like most people do when he asks them to run. 

So the shoes were mine, I didn't even care that they were purple (I'm so sorry to the rest of the world who seems to worship that color but my god how I hate it), they seemed like the right shoe for me. Mark explained to me that if there was anything about the shoes I didn't like I could come back and we would work on it. He also encouraged me to sign up for my first race and invited me to come running on Friday nights with a group that meets at the store. I'm really hoping I take him up on that and don't let my shyness and uncertainty get in the way. 

As someone who spent years in retail the high level of customer service he provided completely blew me away. If you're anywhere near Connecticut I would highly recommend Kilometers in Ridgefield to anyone who needs running shoes especially if like me you are unsure of where to start. 

So I know what you shoe junkies are thinking, what shoe did you end up with? Turns out my equating the shoes to running on clouds was dead on. I ended up with the On Cloudsurfer:

Described on their website as such: Equipped with On’s patented CloudTec® system, the Cloudsurfer is light, agile and excellent at transforming running energy into forward momentum, in training runs as well as competitions.
Fast feels good: the adaptive sole balances every step and activates your postural muscles. The Cloudsurfer intelligently combines what conventional running shoes have failed to unite: a cushioned landing and a barefoot takeoff.

Now, obviously can't even begin to compare this shoe to any type of running shoe but my experience thus far certainly backs up their statement. 


Public service announcement

See that face? 
That is The Beef, my darling husband, my whole world, the absolute love of my life. 

I promising I'm not just writing this as a smitten newlywed, but now that your are all queasy I'll get to the point. 

This is another picture of my husband in all his bad-ass, leather clad & helmet wearing motorcycle riding glory.

 The weather is nicer now (FINALLY) so all of his friends are out on their bikes too. Guess what? They all have wives (and children) at home or sometimes on the back of their bikes who feel the same way that I do. So just do us all a favor and please watch out while you're driving around. Don't fiddle with your radio and for heaven sake please stay off that damn cellphone. One minute of distraction is all it takes to destroy our world. 



Even though today is a bit colder than it's been all week it's clear to me that Spring is officially here! I've gone running every day on my lunch break and I found this little fella in my front yard yesterday morning which also means I need to do some yard work if I'm going to keep taking pictures of Spring. 

In celebration of spring I'd like to share with you some songs that for reasons I cannot explain nor understand remind me of Spring. 



That's Gross

I've decided Spring is officially here so I went and got my first iced coffee of the season this morning and something bright colored and fun looking caught my eye on the Dunkin' Donuts menu board. As I got closer I saw what it was and became completely horrified.

Because glazed donuts don't have enough sugar lets cover them with frosting and just for good measure let's cover that frosting with a little more frosting. While we are at it let's just top the whole pile of sugar off with a peep.

I HATE peeps, just look at a picture of one makes my teeth hurt. I am by no means anti-sugar but biting into one and feeling the granules of sugar crunch between your teeth is one of the most disturbing feelings I can imagine.

 The only thing peeps are good for is decorations

and putting in the microwave


We get older every day

I feel like Nick has pretty much summed exactly how I'm feeling about my impending birthday. 
Also, I'm addicted to gifs right now, sorry. 

I feel like this week has been full of signs that I'm getting older and while I might be shaking my head I'm also laughing a whole lot. 

For instance when saying "it's a quarter after three" a youngster informed me that 15 does not equal a quarter. So like any old geezer I dragged his butt to a real clock to explain where the phrase came from. Mostly he just starred at me like I'd suddenly started speaking Latin so I couldn't resist asking him if he knew what a rotary phone was, he told me he didn't have a phone yet but he had an ipad. 

Monday morning it sleeted and snowed and it was just generally horrible, I drove to work thinking about just crashing into a ditch in order to finally escape from this endless winter. Mother nature took mercy on me and around lunch time Spring showed up out of the blue and seems to be here at least for a little which is fine by me. The sudden spike in temperature and sunshine has just lifted my mood and made me antsy, I just can't seem to stay in the house unless I have to, I need to be outside, I missed it so much. So I've taken to running by the lake again which is proving to be treacherous with all the pot holes & old sand on the road. Enter: marathon compression socks. Thanks to Salt for the heads up on these. 
A gift from The Beef who knows what a horrible monster I'll be if an injury traps me in the house during my beloved spring. I'm not saying compression socks used for safety is what makes me old, that just makes me smart, it was the fact that I did a legit happy dance over them that shows I'm getting old.

I do have some more happy/sad news, I am no longer Batman as I have regained the ability to turn my head again.

Hope you're not reading this at night. ;)