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Sixty minutes

I need to start running with electromagnets strapped to my legs. Then when my MP3 player’s battery dies after 37 minutes, with 23 minutes of running left, I can power it myself. I’ll have lightning thighs instead of thunder thighs!

Today my half-marathon training group ran for 60 minutes. I have only run for that long once before. It was a Sunday in September. I ran 5 miles and I developed Achilles tendonitis shortly thereafter because I had increased my mileage too rapidly. Sixty minutes. The cast of Law and Order can investigate a crime, arrest a perp, and send him to jail in that time with an extra 16 minutes left dedicated to selling you erectile dysfunction pills. It’s a long time. It’s a long run. Looking at it coming up on the calendar freaked me out a little.

The only thing that freaked me out more was seeing my 10K run coming up in two weeks. Since my 5K and 10K were a month apart, I figured I had 4 weeks between them to prepare, but it’s actually only 3 weeks. I prefer to think of it as a 10K and not a 6.2 mile race because I’m American and we have no real concept of how far a kilometer is. Six point two miles, however, is scary. I know that’s a long run.

I ate a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast to fuel me and then I grabbed two Reese’s peanut butter cups from the bag I bought half-price after Valentine’s Day. I finally got down to my pre-Christmas weight this week and I decided to celebrate with chocolate. So now I get to do it all over again! While I’m all about healthy eating and fitness most of the time, I still like to eat recreationally the other part of the time. Last night I wanted chocolate, so I got myself some. After I finished two pieces, I decided to have two more. And then another three. And then some more until I’d eaten half the bag, at which point I thought, “Holy crap, I’m going to have to run for an hour while I’m digesting half a bag of peanut butter cups. Is there anyone stupider than me in a 5-mile radius? Probably only the pea-brained squirrels who will inevitably feed on my potential peanut butter puke, right?”

Luckily I did not vomit. I did have an urge to check my watch after the first minute, which is never a good sign. I forced myself to wait until I’d listened to 4 songs before checking the time. Dido started singing, “If you’re cold, I’ll keep you warm” in my headphones, the lying bitch. It was about 20 degrees out and I didn’t see her British ass on the Happy Fun and Fitness Trail holding an electric blanket for me. I got into a good pace and ended up running with about four people. We all had headphones on, so we didn’t chat. We went south on the trail. After about 10-15 minutes it gets less pretty and adopts a more urban, don’t-run-here-at-night atmosphere. As I got close to the thirty-minute turnaround point, I noticed a parking lot and a brick building behind a chain link fence on the left. “Hmmm, that looks really familiar,” I thought. “Have I been here before? Holy crap! That’s the roller derby!” I was running past the state fairgrounds where I attended the roller derby with my brother last weekend. We’d joked that I could run home on the trail if the car stalled. And now here I was, actually running to the roller derby and back (to the running store). It only took an hour. I wonder how long it would take on roller skates?

The run back was harder, as expected, particularly because my music player died right as my techno tunes were about to kick in and help me kick it up a notch. I ran past a pay phone that had a sign reading “Long Distance” on it. Well, no shit, AT&T. I didn’t need your big sign to figure that one out. I didn’t really need the big, red stop signs at every intersection urging me to stop either. Where are the “Keep going!” signs when you need them? I almost stopped to walk, but I kept running, only stopping for a short water break on the way back.

When I got home, I looked up the distance I’d run on Gmap Pedometer. I was aiming for a 12:00 per mile pace. This is called an “easy” pace because it’s 2:00 per mile slower than my goal for race day. It’s not actually “easy” to do. I ran for an hour, so I was expecting the distance to be 5 miles. In reality? 5.85 miles. Whoops! I was running about 10:15 per mile. While that speaks well of my athletic prowess and my body’s ability to run while digesting milk chocolate and peanut butter, it also means my concept of a 12:00 per mile pace needs some work. I’ve been running mostly on treadmills, which regulate pace for me. I need to get a better grasp of how fast I’m running or else I could run too fast on race day and wear myself out early.

Thank goodness for Internet-based mileage tools! I’m a lot less scared of my 10K knowing that I ran 5.85 miles today. I can throw another third of a mile on top of that and survive. Later on I went to the grocery store. As I was carrying heavy bags of two-liter sodas and boxes of yogurt up the stairs fairly easily, I remembered how hard it was for me to carry groceries into my old first-floor apartment when I was morbidly obese. The only steps I had to take then were the two up the front stoop, but I would be breathing heavily after carrying all my purchases inside. And now, I can run 5.85 miles in the morning and carry four loads of groceries to the second floor in the afternoon without collapsing. I only ran a whole mile continuously for the first time about two years ago. The human body is amazing. I’ve come a long way, and not just the 5.85 miles I travelled this morning.

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
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Laura Brandon • February 16, 2008 at 3:20 pm

you give me hope! i’ve never run in my life, but i have a goal to learn how to run by end of this year, and if you can do it, having previously been a morbidly obese person and not being able to walk up 2 steps, then it gives me hope that i can do it too! let us know how the 10K goes!


Amy • February 16, 2008 at 3:34 pm

that’s pretty awesome! I ran this morning, too – and bitched about the 37 degrees, and now I feel like a pansy-ass!

Congrats on the awesome run & the great pace. I, too, have trouble pacing myself correctly without a machine to do it for me.


Christina • February 16, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Congratulations! You’re really inspiring me to start running again…I used to run in high school, but I was never very good. I think I was so self-conscious about being overweight, and convinced that I couldn’t succeed, that I really didn’t push my body hard enough. So I love reading about your progress; it makes me feel like this is something I could tackle again. Can’t wait to read your book! Best of luck!


Mrs. Duffy • February 16, 2008 at 3:54 pm

“Dido started singing, “If you’re cold, I’ll keep you warm” in my headphones, the lying bitch. It was about 20 degrees out and I didn’t see her British ass on the Happy Fun and Fitness Trail holding an electric blanket for me.”

ROFLMAO! But seriously, great job. It’s sometimes tough to hold yourself back on pace, but slower training runs help you race faster when it really counts. How did you come up with the 12 minute pace? Because you might be in better shape now than then, and your “easy” pace might be getting quicker. Either way, you’re gonna rock 6.2 – don’t worry at all!

PQ – I go at 12 minute’s per mile at my “easy” pace because I want to aim for 10 minutes per mile as my race pace. I picked it because it seems like an attainable goal for me.


Christina • February 16, 2008 at 5:47 pm

Wow! 60 minutes. I am impressed. I started a beginning runner’s program in November and am now almost at the end of it. The most I’ve run without walking is 1.25 miles, but that still impresses me since I couldn’t run a quarter of mile a few months ago.

Congrats on your progress. And no worries about the rest–you’ll kick severe ass!


K • February 16, 2008 at 6:00 pm

That is extremely impressive.

Talking of leg-powered charging devices… there was an item in this week’s New Scientist magazine about that very thing!

Here’s a related article: http://www.media.mit.edu/resenv/pubs/books/Starner-Paradiso-CRC.1.452.pdf

Shall we invest now?


Cindy • February 16, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Running for a solid hour?! You are awesome! Really, take a bow, because that is incredible. You are my hero. I want to run and I give it a try now and then, but my knees and hips protest—loudly. Today I ran a short way on the beach (in about 15 degree weather!). Air that cold feels like razors slicing your lungs! A few weeks ago I ran on a track that was cleared of snow. I could just make the quarter mile before having to walk. I ran two and walked 4 before quitting that day (also bitterly cold). Typically, I walk about three miles. I need to start weights and stretches or some kind of yoga or pilates for strength and toning (Huh! All the exercise in the world won’t tone what is left on my body!!!). But a girls’ gotta try…


carrie • February 16, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Most runners run faster on the road than the treadmill and even seasoned runners have a hard time with pace. A 10:15 per mile training run is great. Congrats and enjoy your 10K.


R • February 17, 2008 at 12:31 am

There was also this recently about motion powered devices:


As K mentioned above, investing sounds like it might be a good idea.


Heather • February 17, 2008 at 9:14 am

You’ll rock your 10K!!! And you know you can manage your pace now, too. If you can do 5.85 miles at 10:15 pace on a training run, you sure can do 6.2 miles at 10 pace with all the race-day excitement!

62 minutes, here you come! :D


Marla • February 17, 2008 at 9:18 am

I LOVE the image of squirrels feasting on your peanut butter puke! I’m going to paint a picture of that…

To me, 10k is always longer than 6.2 miles. 10 > 6, end of story.


Comrade GoGo • February 17, 2008 at 9:51 am

Way to go, PQ!! Congrats on your accomplishment!


Happy • February 17, 2008 at 10:49 am

As I sit here vaguely sore from my couch to 5k week 3 run, I’m in awe. 100% in AWE of your runningness. Go you! I’m going to grow up to be like you.

Someday. Oh yes, someday.


Erica • February 17, 2008 at 1:13 pm

I followed your link to Gmaps Pedometer, and I think I had an orgasm of the mind. The only thing Google could do better at this point would be to actually teleport users to a local of their choosing.


Jan Bridge • February 17, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Excellent! Almost 6 miles in an hour of running – and at 20 degrees Huzzahhh!

G-ped will also calculate calories burned at your weight for that distance.

Now about those Reese’s . . .the minatures are 42 calories each – five of them are 210 calories . . .so how far did you run on Reeses alone?


Les~ • February 17, 2008 at 2:33 pm

CONGRATS on your run!!

I ran for a minute on the treadmill yesterday and thought my lungs were going to explode out of my chest! I’m doing the Cough to 5k program to ease my way into the running.

Again, CONGRATS on your successful run!

Good luck in the 10k run you have coming up, too!



Les~ • February 17, 2008 at 2:34 pm


That should have been COUCH to 5k program!!



Isabelle • February 17, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Well done indeed. And it’s good to know that even you can eat unwisely sometimes.


Brittany • February 17, 2008 at 6:58 pm

I was at that roller derby and I missed running into a blogging celebrity?! How sad. It was so packed there, I ended up sitting in the “suicide seats” but luckily did not receive any skates in the face.

PQ – The suicide seats? Wow, you are brave.


samantha • February 17, 2008 at 8:24 pm

Hi. I’ve been blog stalking for a while and never commented. I lost about 30lbs over the last 18-months, actually 29.5, since anyone who lost 29.5lbs actually knows exactly how many she has lost! Could lose another 5-10, but felt pretty damn good when I put the size 8 pants back this weekend and walked out of the store with the size 6 – granted they were the “curvy” fit, but who gives a damn.

So, point of my comment…I too am running these days. And I too am scared that everything I eat means I’ll be back up 30lbs overnight. Damage from Thanksgiving to Feb. 1 was 2lbs and I was petrified it would be 10.

So, just wanted to say THANK YOU. I totally relate to your posts and find an enormous amount of comfort in knowing I am not crazy. I’m still in that place where I don’t trust my body and I don’t see myself as this smaller person. So it is like reading my own thoughts when I come here.

Thanks again! Good luck on the 10k!


Sally Parrott Ashbrook • February 17, 2008 at 9:38 pm

Wow, PQ, you are kicking ass. 5.85 miles at all is great, and 5.85 miles at a 10-minute pace is really awesome.


Lady Rose • February 18, 2008 at 12:38 pm

What an inspiration! You are so right too, just how amazing our bodies can be.

I’m not going to run a marathon (yet?) – but I felt like Rocky after my stress test last Fri. – 2 yrs ago I barely lasted 3 1/2 minutes and the staff was scrambling to get me off the treadmill my heart was behaving so badly – but this time I went the distance! and stayed on for 7 1/2 minutes – wahoo! Every step is a step to better health.


Sybil • February 18, 2008 at 1:49 pm

Wow. Excellent work. And humorous reflection which is always a bonus for us readers….love the Dido comment!


MamaMaven • February 18, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Congrats on the great run. Better to be running faster and further than you thought rather than slower and less.


Befreckled • February 18, 2008 at 3:22 pm

Kudos on your run — what an inspiration!!!

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about barley being even better for your Glycemic response than oatmeal, and I know from experience that a barley porridge sticks with me hours longer than oatmeal. Have you ever made/eaten barley porridge? If so, how does it hold up through a long/strenuous workout? I really don’t want to be gnawing on the foam handgrips of my elliptical halfway through a workout!

PQ – I’ve never tried barley, and my favorite whole foods store just closed. I’ll keep an eye out for it and I might give it a try though.


Kimberly • February 18, 2008 at 3:27 pm

Congratulations, you are such an inspiration! I have been reading through your site for the past few weeks now and finally decided to start my own weight loss blog. Good luck and keep up the great work!


tsmith • February 18, 2008 at 5:00 pm

I know that you hate when people try to see you crap. I am not selling anything. I can tell about a gift I got for christmas for my Ipod. It is a chip that goes into your shoe and a thing plugs into your Ipod and it will tell you how far you have traveled. And it talks to you while you run. Telling you you have traveled 1 mile, or it will track time like you have traveled 5 minutes. And then when you sync your Ipod it keeps track on the Nike website and graphs your progress. I really like mine and it keeps me going while I walk.


DDWT • February 18, 2008 at 5:29 pm

The human body is amazing. Your human body is particularly so. Keep on keepin’ on.


Stephanie Quilao • February 18, 2008 at 6:00 pm

That Gmap thingie is really cool. Congrats on your big one hour run. That’s a major milestone. I remember when running 100 feet made me pant and wheeze like I ran a marathon. How the body adapts truly is amazing.


Bella • February 18, 2008 at 6:39 pm

Posts like this one are what make your blog so inspiring to me. I’ve always thought that running seemed so freeing. I’ve been toying with the idea of beginning the Couch to 5K program, and after being so inspired by all your accomplishments, I think I’m going to start it.


Bruce • February 18, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Great post. I could really relate. I once ran a race behind some marines about 15 years younger. It was for two miles. We passed the mile marker in what was supposed to me my 1/2 mile time. Bad news at the finish. I had eaten hot dogs before the race and had them exit through the same orifice they entered.

I loved the reference to law and order and the signs long distance and stop. It put your point into sharp perspective. Bravo. Keep writing.


Jennifer • February 18, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Wow! I got this site from a magazine about healthy weights, etc. I was looking at your pictures and they are AMAZING!!!!!!! I will try to keep up on this. Jennifer


lovelines • February 18, 2008 at 11:27 pm

Wow, that is a LONG run! You know, whenever I feel like I just can’t lose the stupid weight, I think about how you lost so much weight and got yourself in such great shape. You’re probably tired of hearing this, but you are very inspirational! :)


nicole • February 19, 2008 at 11:09 am

You rock. Very inspiring post! I started running last summer and wish that I were as fast as you!


Yolanda • February 19, 2008 at 12:16 pm

long time listener, first time caller =) google reader recommended you, and i have to say thank you…for putting all of this out there. you are inspiring and beautiful. maybe you can put encouraging stickers on the backs of other runners to keep you going. run past them, pat their back, then fall in behind them?


Laura • February 19, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Dang you are getting fast, girl! You should have someone buy you a Garmin (or treat yourself). It will really help with that outdoor running pace.


~liz • February 23, 2008 at 2:57 pm

I enjoyed your humor. The running talk is way over my head but I enjoyed the rest. You are very motivational. I am at my heaviest ever and have NO motivation. Thanks


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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