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Snow falling on bloggers

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!

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Christina • February 23, 2008 at 3:01 pm

Good luck on the 10K, PastaQueen! You’ll do great!


Red • February 23, 2008 at 3:19 pm

I am incredibly with you on the crosswalk thing. It’s gotten to the point where I will start walking by the crosswalk when a car’s nearby and then when they’ve passed, turn and cross.

Also, w/respect to your playlist, I always listen to podcasts when I exercise, somehow music just gets repetitive. Besides, who doesn’t want Ira Glass as their running partner?

PQ – I find I the beat in fast-paced music keeps me going. Podcasts just don’t do that for me.


AndrewE • February 23, 2008 at 3:20 pm

It’s amazing how quickly our bodies can adapt to the stresses that we put them under. I’m someone who always used to say that “I can’t run.” Now I’m running and loving it.

I’ve got my first 5K coming up in about a month and am really looking forward to it. I’m aiming for a 10K later in the year.

You are an inspiration. Keep it up.


Debbi • February 23, 2008 at 3:39 pm

As you’ve learned, taking up running doesn’t mean you’ll lose weight. And if you hadn’t read it in the RW forums, you can go back to my posts about a year ago to see how very hard it is to train and shed pounds at the same time. I would say “impossible,” but I’m sure some people do it.

And if you figure out the key, lemme know!


Mary • February 23, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Even if you don’t shed pounds, the pounds you do have look nicer in a swimsuit ;)


Mattie • February 23, 2008 at 7:13 pm

I think it’s time you changed the photo on the front page of your blog!

It’s time to shed that old photo of you before you lost all the weight, and show a glimpse of your face.

Just MHO.

And, by the way, good luck!


Dinah Soar • February 23, 2008 at 11:34 pm

Hope your headache is better…When I was 31 I got a headache that lasted two weeks…it was excruciating…thereafter I had periodic headaches for around 10 years about once a week, though not as debilitating as the first….I likely had migraines, but back then, in the 80’s they thought you had to see an aura to have a migraine..not so, they now know…I rarely get headaches any more…my best guess it that it was connected to some hormonal changes that triggered the migraines…

Wanted to say concerning you not keeping your goal to talk to 2 people each time…it really is quite pleasant to be around non-talkers…I’d find your company very relaxing and a nice change…most people today are overstimulated and appreciate someone who is pleasant and mute…so don’t be too hard on yourself…I’d ten times rather have a pleasant non-talker than someone who yammers in my ear…btw..I’m one of those talkers..hahaha…but I’m learning to shut up…also, I find I enjoy the silence of my own company …but then I do have a husband who comes home every night and he is there to talk to when I need company..if I lived alone perhaps I would feel differently…

If it’s friendship you’d like, ask God to send you a friend…he does have a plan for your life…I’ve moved around a lot due to hubby’s work…and in answer to my prayers, God has always given me at least one good friend…I now have a collection of them, though scattered around the U.S.


Ashley • February 24, 2008 at 2:23 am

Hey PQ! I’ve been reading for awhile, but I never comment, pretty much because I’m lazy and don’t have my own blog to link back to. You’re going to be amazed at how trivial what I have chosen for my first comment is too. Because all I was going to say is that the Cinnamon Crunch bagels from Panera Bread are amazingly awesome. We had them at our team meeting at work on Friday morning and rather than making any intellectual, helpful comments during the meeting, I repeated remarked about how much the bagels tasted like cinnamon rolls.

However, now that I’ve started this comment, I will add myself to the chorus of people who think you’re cool. I’m also a girl who spends most of her day writing code (I’m a computational scientist, not a web developer, though) and lots her free time running, so I definitely relate to you there. Though I favor the vegetarian, low-fat, high-carb sort of diet myself, I don’t think my decisions are the ones that would work for everybody, and I also preach the “you should find what works for you” gospel. Oh, and I love Reese’s too.

I don’t know why I felt like you wanted to know everything about me just because I read your blog.

PQ – I really hope they have those bagels at the end of the 10K next week. If not, I might actually stop at a Panera and get one.


leora • February 24, 2008 at 2:05 pm

here’s a good book for helping you learn proper nutrition, etc for running. It’s called the Complete Book of Women’s Running. It’s great.


Emily • February 24, 2008 at 3:53 pm

Hi Pastaqueen,

I’m also a runner who has lost weight with running and racing as the primary form of exercise. I was racing for three years (including multiple half marathons) and keeping my weight steady and terribly frustrated. Turns out, I would just eat all the calories I burned from exercising (seems obvious, but it felt like a mystery for a long time). I had to start counting calories to lose weight and to account for exercise (per your pondering of how and what to eat after running) since a 150-lb person burns 100 calories per mile they run. Since a bagel is generally about 300-400 calories, you should still be in deficit if you eat one after a 10k, but probably not after a 5k. I used this rule to calculate how much I should eat to replace the amount I lost on a run, and keep a deficit elsewhere in my diet (hence the losing of weight). I lost 35 pounds this way while training for a marathon and other distance events and now I’m racing at the top of my game. It’s fabulous that just by losing weight, you go faster.

Hope that is helpful.

PQ – Thanks, Emily. I started tracking my food again today, so hopefully I can stop overeating on training days.


Cynthia • February 24, 2008 at 4:05 pm

I must admit, I’m so impressed by you planning to run a 10K. I doubt if I’ll be able to run even if I do lose all my weight. Too many ankle injuries I suspect, not to mention my bad right knee. But maybe I’ll be walking some races instead! Thanks for the inspiration!

PQ – Some of those speedwalkers are wicked fast. At my first 5K, the fastest speedwalker finshed as fast as I ran the thing.


G.G. • February 25, 2008 at 9:44 am

I have to second that those Cinnamon Crunch bagels from Panera are g-o-o-d, even if I haven’t had one in years. I especially like them with flavored cream cheese (usually hazelnut). Totally treat-worthy.


Kim • February 25, 2008 at 10:07 am

You’re such an inspiration! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now (using you as motivation for my 50 pound loss), and you’re a fabulous writer. I’m really looking forward to either a) winning the free galley book give-away or b) ordering an autographed copy from you! Best wishes for the big 10K. You rock!


Sally Parrott Ashbrook • February 26, 2008 at 10:40 am

Interesting–in GA, at a crosswalk, pedestrians have the right of way unless the crosswalk is at a light that is green.


April • February 27, 2008 at 4:18 pm

Do you mind sharing the functional stretches? I’m also a runner, and I usually don’t stretch before a run, but I do after. I am also a volunteer at a Women Can Run clinic, and we stretch before….I’d love to incorporate the functional stretches instead of static, old-school ones we do now.

PQ – I did some googling, and it seems like functional stretching is also known as dynamic stretching. this page has some of the stretches he demonstrated at the top.


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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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