My Brother Thinks I’m Flappy Bird

bodybuilder-weight-training-stress-38630Today’s Run

Time – 1:33:45
Distance – 8.43 miles
Pace – 11:07 min/mi
Elevation – 268 ft.

The Watch almost had an issue on me again. I caught it about a quarter mile into the run, so the numbers are just a little off what they would normally be. All told, though, an excellent run! I enjoyed it immensely. Now I get to take tomorrow off to spend some time with family before they travel, and pick it back up on Monday. I get three days to run this week before my self-imposed vacation from running begins. It hasn’t been very long, but a week off will probably do me good.

Running Doesn’t Have to Suck

It doesn’t have to be horrible when you go running, I’ve found. Especially if you run slow enough. But not so slow as to have it be pointless…that’s called golf.

I had some cashew milk ice cream and non-dairy cookies this evening. I think some days that my long runs are really just excuses for cookies. Maybe not. But I do know that without the long runs, cookies would be much harder to justify.

My brother, who is something of a fitness expert, as he has an actual degree in the subject from a reputible institution of higher learning, tells me that I should do a little bit of upper body weight training. His reasoning has more to do with his personal prejudices against running, as he has the ankle strength of a 4-year-old, but he can bench press a Volvo, so I don’t get too chippy with him. Regardless, he’s probably right. I can feel the tiredness of my shoulders on long days. It’s not probably supposed to be exhausting for your arms to run for 90+ minutes.

Somewhere, he’s feeling pretty vindicated right now…

Runner Seeks Companion(s)…?

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Is anybody out there?

Today’s Run

Time – 55:06
Distance – 5.03 miles
Pace – 10:58 min/mi
Elevation – 244 ft.

It was supposed to be an easy run, until I dropped a 9:49 for mile 5…um…okay.

Let’s Meet Someone New

I went running today with a local group. It was my first run with them, and there was a bit of a crowd. Probably in the neighborhood of 15–20 people were hanging around, getting ready to go out for the run. It was an out and back, and I think that it maxed out about 7–8 miles. I signed the waiver, said hi to the leader, and stood for the group picture. Then we were off.

I’ve gotten used to running on my own. I start off easy and try to work into my pace in order to keep down the Exercise-Induced Asthma and side stitches. It works for me, and I can usually negatively split my runs.

As the group steadily pulled away, I realized two things. I hadn’t actually met any of them, and I wasn’t as fast as they were. I was concerned and a little annoyed, because the group didn’t quite seem welcoming. I will admit that I didn’t put forth a lot of effort, so it’s not like it was all on them. I just didn’t know what to expect. Dynamics in these things can be very different depending on the group.

But I kept running and followed the roadway out to the path. It was a trail I knew well, so I was planning to enjoy my run either way. Then I started to pass people who had turned around or were still going my way. And they were all super friendly! Lots of hellos and waves to make me feel like I was a part of the run. Very cool!

I caught up to a couple of people and then met up with a guy (let’s call him “Mike”) and we ran together for about 3 miles. We talked about our kids, my weight loss, his runs over the past year, and other miscellaneous topics. I had forgotten how much fun it was to run with other people. Mike needed to slow down with about a mile to go, and I latched onto another guy who had passed us. Suddenly, I was doing 8:15 pace and feeling REALLY good. It wasn’t something I was going to do for an hour, but there might be a 5k in there somewhere. That’s very intriguing.

Overall, a good group. They meet regularly and run local, which makes for a good time, and supporting the local group is always important. I’m looking forward to doing it again next week.

Maybe, next time, I’ll say hello first…

Another One in the Books

Today’s Run

Time – 37:10
Distance – 3.22 miles
Pace – 11:32 min/mi
Elevation – 126 ft.

Sometimes you just go out and run easy. Do 3 miles or so to work the legs and recovery from the previous day’s run. Today was that day.

Putting Down the Mark for the Day

I ran today. I didn’t think about it too much. I didn’t consider the ramifications of going out and moving around at 5.2 MPH for 35–40 minutes. It didn’t phase me that another 3 miles today would make nearly 17 miles for the weekend.

I wasn’t running today to exorcise the “Fat Kid” demons. I didn’t need to run off yesterday’s cookies and ice cream (because I got a treat after the long run). It wasn’t in celebration of being down 122.8 lbs. as of this morning.

I’m a runner. It’s what I do.

And THAT feels really good to say.

I’m coming for you, Western States.

Did You Wave Back?

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Not as big as the hills for some today (see Leadville 100, aka the “Race Across the Sky” for details), but my way home…

Today’s Run

Time – 1:29:16
Distance – 7.83 miles
Pace – 11:24 min/mi
Elevation – 318 ft.

Long Run Day! Many miles (more than usual, at least), lots of sun, and a significant feeling of accomplishment. Maybe a half marathon isn’t that far away after all. This Fall, perhaps?

Did You Wave Back?

I’ve got this habit. Nothing too disgusting or illegal, mind you, but I’m sure that it annoys those people driving past as I’m out running. I do it a lot, and it gets really repetitive. I don’t mind having the habit; I think it’s a good thing. Polite, even.

I wave at the cars that go past when I run against traffic. Every…single…one. Yeah, it’s that bad. I can’t stop myself. If I see a car, I just have to wave. I can’t help it. It seems like the right thing to do.

I live in a small city east of St. Louis in Illinois (not East St. Louis, you wouldn’t believe how many people ask me if I live there). It’s a reasonably nice town. We have parks and a university and good cops who keep us safe. We have a lot of the same problems as other places, but we’re Midwestern, so we’re polite for the most part (except in the Starbucks drive-through…DO NOT get in the way there…).

I wave to the cars that go past. And, surprisingly enough, most people wave back. Rough estimates would be 65–75% of people return the wave. I get a lot of confused looks (“Do I know you?”), and some whistles and cat calls (“Nice legs!”), and I even got flipped off once (It was some high school kid in a late-model Red Honda Civic coupe…If this is your child, nice job…).

There are, however, three kinds of waves that I generally receive. They are, in no particular order, the following:

  1. The Standard Wave – Raise hand, shake back and forth x number of times, return hand to previous position. This can be substituted with a single finger raised from the hand on the top of the steering wheel, with less back and forth. Either hand is approved for this wave. Sometimes, the passenger will fulfill the Standard Wave duties. Less cool, but still appreciated. 75% of all waves.
  2. What I like to call the “Half-Assed” Wave – These waves are, at best, sloth-like. A sort-of-tilted head node, a partial finger raise (Really?!), or, my favorite, the hand that comes up to just peek over the dashboard, like Tim the Tool Man’s neighbor Wilson on Home Improvement. The hand actually prairie dog’s a little bit. Sometimes, all I see is the movement of the shoulder. But, hey, it’s the thought that counts, and I do appreciate the acknowledgement. 24.9999% of all waves.
  3. This is my favorite: the “Holy-Crap-I-Can-See-You-and-You-Can-See-Me-and-I’m-Really-Excited-About-Our-New-Relationship” Wave – These people are the best. They totally get it. Wave back with gusto! Be one with the wave. Let me know that you’re excited to wave. Screaming, horn honking, or excited hands out the window may be included at no additional charge (please limit to one hand at a time). Absolutely makes my run! 0.0001% of all waves. You know who you are!

Special note – Truckers, policemen, motorcyclists, and Tesla drivers all get a thumbs up. The first two are working hard and either could ruin my day, the third gets the thumbs up because I used to ride and there’s respect there, and the fourth because that sh!#’s just COOL! Bucket list vehicle, no doubt!

Anyway, if you’re out there and you see a wave, wave back. I do it to be friendly, and because I live in a nice place where people know each other.

Oh, and one more reason. If I wave and you wave back, I know you’ve seen me and you’re paying attention to me. And that lets me know I’m safe around you.

See, there is a good reason after all.