Is this a good look? Not particularly. Did I feel great anyway? You bet. Is that because I went to bed at 6:15 pm the night before, slept a solid 12 hours, then went for a 2 mile run before work? Sure is. Will these sporadic 2 mile runs be the extent of training before my second half-marathon on December 11, repeating my first half-marathon experience when I had never run farther than 3 miles before race day? I optimistically say no, and I concede that it could happen and I will lament Fall 2011 Self’s failure to adequately prepare, leaving December 12 Self unable to walk without pain.
See all those exclamation points? I ran my first half-marathon today! My first objective was simply to finish and my second was to beat 3:30. A year ago I thought under 3 hours would be a good goal, and recently when I still hadn’t done all that “training” stuff I added some time. Turns out I didn’t need to because my watch said 2:38:33!!!! Official chip time still pending. Update: Chip time 2:38:11.
I ended up running all of it except the water stations and the last quarter of mile 9, which I didn’t know was even a possibility for me. The plan was to do intervals of running and walking, and I kept saying, “Ok, I’ll walk at 2 miles… well, might as well go a bit more than 3 so I can say I ran the farthest without walking than I’ve done before… well, 5 would be pretty cool… let’s make it the first half and then I’ll alternate…” When I switched to walking for a moment after the 7 mile point I was surprised to find that walking hurt just as much, if not more, than my running stride and my legs felt heavy and tight in a new way. So back to a jog it was. I walked for a song at the end of a long shallow hill right before mile 10. The last 3 miles hurt. I finished strong for the last 100 yards, running at a serious clip with reserves I didn’t know I had.
Everything hurts now, especially my right hip flexor. I climbed the stairs to my 2nd floor apartment like a child just learning steps: left leg up, then right leg to the same step, left leg up, then right leg to the same step. When I got undressed to take a much-needed shower, I couldn’t raise my foot to pull off my pants so instead I bent over at the waist to drop trou to the ankle and just barely stepped out of them.
My friend beat her goal time too, finishing around 1:48.
My plans to go to the cowboy karaoke bar tonight during this 3-day weekend might be scuttled by being hobbled. I don’t think I could drive a car let alone two-step on the dance floor.
I got new running shoes on Black Friday and they feel good so far, which is lucky because I bought them on a whim with nothing besides their non-leather material, their color, and Kelly Ripa’s face on the box to recommend them. I took this picture with the awesome new camera and lens that I just bought from my brother when he upgraded his equipment and gave me a super family discount on his old one. I didn’t realize until I took the picture of my shoes that my GRE vocab cards are on the coffee table too, so this is a snapshot of two of my current goals.
How am I doing on those goals, you ask? Well, at this particular moment I’m on the couch in my pink Snuggie — a gift from a good friend for my birthday last month, I’m wearing it while watching TV at a pal’s place in the picture below — so maybe let’s say that it’s not all Big Life Goals all the time…
I had a drawer full of t-shirts that I didn’t wear and I’m trying to pare my possessions to items I either actually use or are deeply meaningful to me. I decided to refashion them into the size and fit of my every-weekend-plus-then-some Goodwill t-shirt. While I discovered after the first one that the Michigan State shirt is stretchier than the other materials and I couldn’t quite figure out how much extra to cut in order to approximate the same amount of movement, I like them quite a bit.
I celebrated my sewing triumph with a run while wearing one. As I mentioned a long time ago, I’m doing a half-marathon in January and in theory have been “in training” since last winter, which didn’t mean much beyond going for a run every few months. Suddenly January is just around the corner and I’m still barely squeezing past two miles. I registered today, paid my money, and marked the “plan to walk/run” box with an estimated finish time of 3:25. There’s a 4 hour cutoff, so if I can keep up an 18-minute-mile pace for 13.1 miles I’m totally gonna do this thing. Right now my tentative plan is to run 2, walk .25, repeat. I’ll find out how it goes when I add another mile to my route on Thursday (before the hours of Thanksgiving eating) and then another this weekend.
Am I wearing SpongeBob SquarePants pajama pants in the last pictures? Yes. My mom gave them to me several years ago because they were soft and even though I haven’t seen the show or the movie and I just turned 29 without any small children in my life, I enjoy wearing my SpongeBob SquarePants pajamas. They’re quite comfortable.
No before picture of the CrossFit shirt, I had already messed with it previously and just improved my work. I wore it to the gym today and one of the owners said, “Hey, cool, nice hacked version of our shirt! I like what you’ve done, you look badass!”
At CrossFit I usually wear black shorts or yoga capri pants and one of my five black tank tops. We regularly run outside on the quiet back road without a lot of streetlights. There are rarely cars on the street so it’s pretty safe, and at the same time the lack of traffic means drivers aren’t expecting a runner on the side of the road. During this half of the year it’s dark during my usual evening CrossFit session and my workout clothes don’t help with visibility. Yes, my pale pale white skin helps a little, just not enough.
I finally made myself a please-don’t-run-me-over-with-your-car vest with reflective tape on the front and back to throw on before running in the dark. Better safe — and supremely stylish!!! — than sorry, eh. I’m sure any parents reading this approve. I refashioned it from an old long-sleeve t-shirt. The stripes are neon yellow iron-on tape from Joann; you can’t tell that they’re yellow because they’re reflecting in the flash, just like they should.
Getting an ok picture of the back view was surprisingly hard. Either the flesh at the back of my shoulder and armpit area was too fleshy and doughy, or the backs of the arms themselves were thin and stringy with Madonna-esque zombie muscles (how could my arms look soft and doughy in some pictures and thin and stringy in others?), and then when I pretended to run for an action shot it just looked like I was sticking my butt towards the camera and holding my arms weird. “How does this look, is this better?” I asked as I tried a few poses. “It couldn’t hurt to try,” he said. “It’s not like it’s going to be worse!” and we both laughed because it was true.
There’s another reason besides CrossFit that I made a vest to wear when running at night (or in the wee hours of the morning, but let’s not kid ourselves here): I’m now in training for next January’s P.F. Chang’s Rock & Roll Half-Marathon. That’s right, a half-marathon, 13.1 miles. Sometime in the next few weeks I’ll attempt a full mile without walking, for the first time in about 15 years. Yep, I’m pretty sure middle school was the last time I did a full mile, and I’ve never done much more than that. I have almost a full year to add 12 more miles to this first one. There’s a 4-hour cutoff for the half-marathon, which means an 18-minute/mile pace. One of my CrossFit friends said her grandmother has done it, mostly walking, so I should be able to finish. My current uneducated and naive hope is that I’ll be able to aim for 3 hours (~13 min/mi). As the months go by and I get a better idea of how I’m improving and what my walking pace is I can adjust my objectives.