Lost Dog

4 miles…Runmeter stats still not working, but completed in 58:50, so that’s probably about the same as Tuesday? On Sunday, I’m busting out the watch because, let’s face it, I’m addicted to the stats.

Keeping with my goal to notice something different, when I went running this morning, I noticed this splendid tree for the first time, perhaps because it was a beautiful, rare, sunny morning in San Francisco, or maybe just that it was along my favorite part of my choice 4 mile route…

Then, I looked closer — Lost Dog! Hopefully, he’s found soon. Good luck to you, owner.

 

When the going gets tough…

….the tough get Zyrtec-D and a neti-pot.

Source: mayoclinic.com via Sarah on Pinterest

 

And, five hours later, the tough wake up from the fake energy that only decongestant can provide. Then, after about an hour of attempting to fall back asleep, the tough take Melatonin…and then wake up again three hours after that, strap on the running shoes and step out the door for the first post-cold post-sinus-ickiness run in what feels like a century!

That was a groggy morning though, thanks to the Melatonin. My brain was asleep, while my body was fully awake, until I completed the full circle of medicine and took in more caffeine. But at least the running was possible! No more coughing for me.

Runmeter stopped working for me, but it inflated my stats, making me feel momentarily like a real athlete:

Run Time: 59:17 (accurate)
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 5.60 miles (actual: 4 miles, give or take)
Average: 10:35 /mile (actual: 14:45?)
Fastest Pace: 5:48 /mile (Yeah, right. In my dreams!)
Ascent: 349 feet (accurate)
Descent: 319 feet (accurate)

During my run, I decided I would find things that were different along the way, and try to make this a habit, both for a mental game to play with myself, and for YOUR ENTERTAINMENT, reader. So, today I found this:

I asked my friend, the sign language interpreter, what this means, hoping that it said something like “World Peace and Love.” She didn’t know, other than the actual letters: O-V-Y. She posted the picture to Facebook, and one of her friends thought it referred to a drug derived from unfertilized egg yolk. I prefer to think it’s more like “O.V. (initials for Olivia Vail), I love you,” but the reality is, I do live in an urban environment, and, though safer than others, this is also a city where shoes hanging over wires aren’t necessarily there for purely poetic reasons.

To run, or not to run…

…That is the question. I feel better and my cold is not concentrated in my chest anymore, but my sinuses are screaming at me this morning, the fog is heavier than yesterday, and I have walking/biking plans this afternoon (it’s the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, after all!). I might wait until later this afternoon or delay until Monday. I feel disappointed but I know I’ll get back on track soon, and I am hopeful I just don’t get sick again until after July 29!

In cross training news, I went for a hike in Land’s End yesterday with a new friend. I tend to shy away from local hikes because I like the feeling of “getting away” for a hike — but couldn’t turn down the idea, as I had only a couple of hours to spare, and it was a beautiful day. It was a little more crowded than Marin hikes, but it was also nice to get out without driving too far.

Here’s the view from one of the vantage points (not too shabby, huh?):

Elliptical

 

The elliptical machine and I have an on-again/off-again relationship. When we’re on, we’re really on! We read books together, we do interval training together, we cool down and it measures my progress for 30 minutes to an hour. The last time I had a serious affair with the elliptical machine, it was grad school and I used it as a way to trick myself to do my reading (turns out, I read faster and more enthusiastically when I do it on the elliptical, which is important when you have 500+ pages to read every week).

 

When we’re off, it’s for a good reason: boredom and plateauing. The elliptical and I have really only been warming up at the climbing gym together, 5-10 minutes, max, once or twice a week. Until today, when I gave it a good 30 minutes and brought a good book to accompany me. It doesn’t hurt that the interior of the gym looks like this:

That’s Crissy Field in the background, and the sun is rising. This particular room is for stretching.

The good news is: I lasted for 30 minutes without losing a lung, and I feel like this cold is not going to get the best of me, as if *maybe* I could even attempt running tomorrow. We’ll see!

Meaning and Purpose and Running

When I was in my twenties, I almost joined the Peace Corps. I was undergoing a “quarter-life crisis“* of the sort that must find meaning and purpose in life. The Peace Corps seemed like a natural fit for a young idealist like myself, and I was told it was probably the best way, as someone without existing development aid experience, to gain said experience abroad (working abroad was a secondary goal of mine, right next to meaning and purpose).

The interview for the Peace Corps is designed to weed you out if there is any doubt that you can’t handle the conditions of adapting to a different culture. During the interview, the interviewer asked me, “What do you do to deal with stress?”

I said, “Exercise.”

She said, “But what would you do if you couldn’t exercise?”

“But I have running shoes. And I can run anywhere.”

She said, “In some cultures, women can’t leave the house without a burka.”

“Then I will run with a burka.”

She said, “But what if you can’t leave the house?”

“Then I will do lunges and squats.”

That seemed to appease her, and she scribbled down a note in her pad. Perhaps she wanted me to say something like “meditate” or “write.” These are also things I have done in the past that can relieve stress, but they aren’t the first thing I think to do when I’m stressed.

I’m sick, still. I’m not running, and the mere act of not running or doing anything, really, is bugging me. I’m starting to feel a little stress, not from actual stress, more from not getting to go running. Yes, though I could stand in my room and do lunges and squats in my current condition, I can’t run, which is ultimately the only thing I really want to do right now.

*I doubt the quarter life crisis ever looks like the more well-known mid-life crisis where all you want, really, is a fancy sports car and/or a kite board to make you feel younger.

Someone who bites on things while awake.

The other day, when I dropped off my friend at the airport, I noticed she had a piece of gum in her mouth. That familiar minty smell filled my car like the sweet smell of flowers. She talked and chewed at the same time, which was something I wanted to do, too. Without thinking about it, I asked for a piece. The second it hit my gum-deprived mouth, it was as if a taste explosion went off in there. Minty flavors bursting on every single last one of my tastebuds. It was as if every type of mint — from spearmint, to peppermint, to wintermint — combined to form the perfect, extraordinary mint. At first, I thought — “this is some amazing gum!” Then, I remembered I’m cutting down. I savored the piece for all it was worth and spit it out shortly thereafter.

Not too many folks would say chewing gum is a bad or unhealthy habit. Unless, of course, you are an old fashioned school marm who does not want to see you stick it under the desk. Or, you are chewing gum containing sugar (apparently, you can’t get addicted to sugar-free gum).

However, did you know that chewing gum excessively can lead to TMJ? Symptoms of TMJ include: headaches (check), pain that radiates to the neck (check). It can be caused by teeth grinding (check) and chewing (double check). TMJ has prevented me from running in the past.

Webmd calls this chewing gum action: “bites on things while awake.” Well, thank goodness for gum! Who knows what I’d find to replace that action! I might even start gnawing on office supplies and, since we don’t use pencils anymore, that means my laptop.

An expensive bite, in comparison. Or is it? I’ve been consistently chewing gum since I started college 14 years ago. The average price of a pack of crunchy gum (my favorite) is $1.50. If you consider that I chew gum at a rate of 3 packs per week (on a good week), over 14 years, that’s 728 weeks x $4.5 = $3,276. That is definitely enough to buy a laptop.

Well, don’t you worry, my dear employer. I won’t be chewing on the laptop. Instead, I will be sucking on things, like I have been this week (cough drops). I’ll be investing now in Starbucks mints (unfortunately not a cost saver, but definitely a distraction from gum). I’ll be chewing sparingly, and most certainly not while running (definitely guilty of this in the past). The gum industry may notice a dip in sales. Though I haven’t seen any studies connecting it explicitly to daytime gum chewing, I’m hoping that the nighttime jaw grinding lessens a little, the headaches get better, and probably the impressions of me as an excessive gum chewer go down. Baby steps. It’s all connected, though.

Yoga + a Cold

I had this vision of something really interesting to write about when I was in the shower this morning, but now it’s muddled by “sick think.”

“Sick think” is what happens when you have a head cold. You walk out of a room, determined to get something (i.e., cough drops), only seconds later to realize you’ve completely forgotten what it is. You turn around to the place where you thought about getting that thing, and start going through the motions of what you were doing when you thought about getting it (i.e., emptying your purse). You remember what it was, and repeat it out loud, because then it will clearly seep into your clouded thoughts. Then, you worry that you might have early onset Alzheimer’s. It happens, though your memory loss is probably related to being sick, not something serious.

I’m sick, but I went to yoga yesterday, and started to feel a little better. I might go for a jog tonight, but I’m not promising anything. The missed long run on Sunday now seems very secondary to the cause of getting healthier.

“Tempo” run Friday

Run Time: 50:24
Distance: 3.90 miles
Average: 12:55 /mile
Fastest Pace: 6:39 /mile
Ascent: 63 feet
Descent: 76 feet

Well, I went to Crissy Field for my run this morning, which is usually great because it’s pretty, flat, sunny, and close to my gym/on the way to work. However, it is also a little boring. Yes, I realize I’m spoiled. How can this picture of beauty be “boring”?

By the time I hit 2 miles, I realized I had to turn around and do it all over again. So, I turned up the music, tapped my fingers together, and tried to preoccupy myself with wondering what the other runners were training for. Somehow, I made it, but it definitely was not easy.

Catch up: A long run, remembered

Run Time: 1:16:10
Distance: 5.19 miles
Average: 14:41 /mile
Fastest Pace: 8:53 /mile
Ascent: 606 feet
Descent: 597 feet

Last Sunday’s long run seems like eons ago. I’ve been making it a habit to try to go to the Presidio on Sundays to do something different. This Sunday, instead of going up the long hill next to the golf course, I decided to take the Mt. Lake Trail over to the fav, the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The Mt. Lake Trail always looks so tempting. It’s one of those gradual downhills you can see just to the right at the same time you see a steep uphill to the left. However, it’s deceiving because it turns into a VERY steep uphill toward the end that leads directly to the golf course.

When I reached the end of the California Coastal Trail, I hit part of the half marathon route, Lincoln Blvd. I realized this was a great way to finish a race, by running on a nice, long downhill. 5 ish Miles, done.

Getting Faster

Run Time: 47:59
Distance: 3.93 miles
Average: 12:13 /mile
Fastest Pace: 6:30 /mile
Ascent: 174 feet
Descent: 187 feet

Yesterday’s run was not a tempo run, but somehow I found a way to go much faster than normal. Though I don’t agree with the “fastest pace” listed above, I do think it’s entirely possible I was going, on average, 12:13/mile. Past experience tells me I should slow down, but it’s also nice to finish four miles in under 1 hour. Ah well. Tomorrow morning is a tempo run and we’ll see if 12:45 feels any different.