I’ve really got to work on my running playlist. Right as I hit the halfway point on this morning’s training run, the band Speedway started singing “I can’t turn back” into my headphones. Sorry, Speedway, I can turn back and I will because I parked my car at the running store. After I’d run 22 minutes and 30 seconds in one direction, I needed to turn back to complete a grand total of 45 minutes.
I can tell that the training program is working because I ran for three-quarters of an hour today like it ain’t no thang. It was work, but it wasn’t impossible and at no point did I feel like collapsing or stopping at my apartment on the way back. However, running conditions could have only been crappier if I’d stumbled in dog doo. The trail was covered in so much snow that other people’s footprints were the only proof that it was there. I couldn’t see the road at all. It was like driving in a downpour by following the taillights of the car in front of me, hoping it didn’t drive into a ditch because I’d be following right after it. Every step my foot fell on an uneven surface, as if I was running around in the woods, making me worried that I might fall. I suppose it was good for exercising the muscles in my legs that provide stability, but I honestly would have preferred to run in the 9 degree weather of our first run if I could have done it on a flat surface. I even preferred running on the snow-covered, ice two weeks ago because at least that was smooth.
I was also irked by drivers at the crosswalks. They try to be nice by stopping and waving me across, but that just pisses me off. I’m not a masochist. It’s just that the rules of the trail (thoughtfully posted on signs at every crossing) state that pedestrians must yield to cars. If everyone followed the rules, we’d all know what to expect. Instead, some people follow the rules and some people try to be nice, so I never know what to expect. I have to stop at every crosswalk and then observe every car to see if they’re going to stop or keep going. It’s annoying. I’m equally annoyed when I am the driver because I never know if the pedestrians are going to wait or if they’re going to fling themselves on my hood because they think I’m going to stop. So, if you ever see me from your car as you’re crossing the trail, just keep driving. I’ll appreciate it more than if you stop.
I’ve broken my promise to talk to two people every week for the past two weeks. I should get over it and make annoying small talk about the weather. It’s just hard for me. In all fairness only half of the group showed up today, scared off by the snow most likely. I did hover on the edges of a conversation some women were having about how they used to run track in high school and jump hurdles. This reminded me of a girl who lived across the street from me in Louisville who would line up her friends’ bikes like hurdles and jump over them. It was totally awesome. I wish I’d been into cross-country and track when I was in high school. Instead I was just the fat girl who went home every day to watch TV.
There was also a seminar after the run about functional stretching. I’m sure most of you are familiar with the concept of stretching. It turns out, it’s not very helpful to do static stretching before you exercise. Your muscles are not warmed up yet, so holding a stretch doesn’t do them much good. Static stretching is really only helpful after you’ve exercised or after you’ve warmed up for about 5 minutes. If you don’t want to wait until you’ve warmed up, you can do functional stretching, which means you do certain movements that warm-up your muscles and stretch them at the same time. Different movements are tailored to whatever exercise you are preparing for. He demonstrated some stretches for us, and as you would expect, you look totally ridiculous doing them. But as he said, we run so early in the morning no one’s going to see us. And if you’re dressed like a runner, everyone knows you’re weird anyway, so it doesn’t matter.
Next week I run a 10K. That’s 6.2 miles. I’ve never run that far continuously in my life. I’ve run two 5K’s, but I had a five month break in between them. I hope the Panera people are at the race again with their Cinnamon Crunch bagels, because I looked them up online and they look really tasty. I’ve been trying to figure out how much I should eat now that I’m running so much, but it’s tricky. As I learned on the NOVA Marathon special, training for a race isn’t the best way to lose weight. In fact, some people actually gain weight. I don’t want to use running as an excuse to pig out, but I don’t want to starve myself either. Wish me luck!