Caught Up

Still being brief. Monday 15 March 2021 I had my fastest average pace of the year thus far.

Also kind of cool was the fact that my fastest pace on that run was the pace I ran my first-ever mile race at.

It was downhill, and the music was also an aid; but I wasn’t trying hard to push the pace. I think I hit Candy later than I meant to, but it was during the part where I weave in and out of obstacles, so it was good timing for fun lyrics.

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Continuity #2

Still being brief. I went for my longest run since June 2017 on Saturday March 13th. I blame my 5 second slowdown over the last time I ran down that hill on all the cold-weather bulk I was wearing.

My pace after going back up the hill, and down the next, was also pretty good. At first I was lagging a bit, but then Candy by Presidents of the United States was playing, and it got to the funniest part of the song, which also picks up in tempo for a bit, but the humor made me pick up the pace first. I need to add that to my fartlek playlist.

I was pleased with my strong finish for having gone 5 miles.

As I said, Candy was great, but the “special extended version” of Beds was not great for the downhill, so I swapped to Sometimes, then back. Sometimes was better, though not the best for the downhill.

Continuity

I haven’t posted after my last couple of runs. I’ll be brief, because there’s other things I want to get to tonight.

Monday 08 March: had a sub-11 minute mile, aided by a hill of course. But look at that 6’58” / mi pace. It was uphill.

Wednesday March 10: Mostly flat, but a small downhill where I got that 7’12”. Oh, wait. I was past the downhill by that point. It was while listening to Give It Back or In The Mood (which I was surprised at how good a song that is for running).

Pineapples to Blackberries

That’s what I said comparing today’s run (well, it’s now early Saturday instead of Friday, but whatever) to Wednesday’s run would be like. I intended to do another 3 mile run, the same course, so I could have three runs in a row to compare, hoping to have a sub-11:00/mi pace today. But when I got to the top of the first hill, my body and my brain were both in agreement: I should cross the intersection and go up the next hill. So, it became a 4 mile run instead. Only problem was the app I’m using, if you’ve set a distance target, once you hit that target, it stops telling or displaying how far you’ve gone. It just displays that you have 0.0 miles to go. So I ended up stopping the official run at 3.92 miles, though I did cover enough in cool down to get 4.

When I got to the top of the next hill, and as I approached the traffic light, my belly, my lungs, and my quads were in agreement: I should head east at the light, get to my halfway point and turn around. That would prevent me from having to run down the other side of the hill, and then back up it. My brain though, it said, “Hey, as long as you give me the right song when we get to the intersection, I’m there!”

I’m still fast when sufficiently motivated by the right tune. Oh, and gravity.

I was basically trying to do a fartlek workout that became a hill workout as well, so this playlist is a pretty decent one for fartlek. Surfing With A Spoon was better for the uphill than I thought it would be. The end of Home was playing as I went 5:05; it was pretty decent for the pace. The only issue was I was at the end of the song, and there’s a bit of live outtro that didn’t help me keep up the pace. It was okay though. My body didn’t really want to keep it up much longer. I then reached 2 miles and turned around to go back up the hill.

After I was back on the relatively flat crest of the big second hill, I hit the lead up to the repeated but unanswered question, “Is It Now?”. I wasn’t intending to run fast, but that became the spike after the big spike in the middle.

As I approached the downhill of the second hill, I was listening to Summer Song, but was going to run out of fast tempo, so I switched it back to Is It Now? and got that third spike, at a 6:02 pace.

Summer Sessions Eye was a decent song for finishing out the downhill of the first hill. I feel like Impossible Shame would have been great for more fartlek if I had realized I wasn’t at 4 miles yet. The last two were cool down, but would have been good for fartlek as well.

Henry Hurdles Hydrants Once Again

I took far too long a break from running, first due to stubbing my toe sufficiently hard that it hurt to run; then due to stubbing a different toe similarly, but worse. I put on weight, I lost conditioning; I worked crazy hours for months on end. But I started running again last month, despite the cold and snow. The last time I bothered running in the cold or snow was 2012.

Two weeks ago, I went running in the park the day after a snow storm, and through the snow.

Earlier that day I went for a quick run around a tree in my front yard, barefoot, just because. It was during a team social virtual meeting. I thought about putting headphones on first so I could keep listening, but decided to use it as an exercise, to see if I could pick up the thread of conversation. I don’t recall if I did, but the brief barefoot run was exhilarating.

Today was a bit warmer.

Though I wanted to take a picture from the same spot as two weeks ago, for the sake of having a good comparison between my last run (on Monday) and today, I opted not to. The spot is behind those cars in the middle left.

So how did I do? My run on Monday and today I was able to clear “the hydrant” that was the inspiration for this blog. I’m still a rabbit, starting out at 6’29” / mi.

That dip in the middle? That was when I stopped to take a picture.

My average pace was the same pace as mile one, of which 0.8 miles was uphill. Mile two took me down what I just climbed. I had a strong finish, as evidenced by my last 0.01 mile split, at 7’57” / mi.

And I’m getting the lead out, slowly, but surely, with my average pace going down (my previous 3 mile run before the 4 mile run on Feb 27 I had a pace of around 12’22” or something like that).

And finally, some notes on my playlist for future reference.

SOJO Glow Run

I ran my second 5K of the year tonight: the South Jordan Glow Run. My thoughts:

The Course

As a race course, it’s pretty horrible. It started at Mulligans, and headed south along the Jordan River Parkway to the 10600 S underpass, making for a choke point within less than a tenth of a mile. Granted, we used to have a choke point on the Murray High School course right near the start, but it was in a park, where there was plenty of room before the choke point, and plenty of room after, and one could run around the trees that made the choke point if one felt inclined.
Race Results

On the SOJO Glow Run, the course before the choke point is narrow. The course after is narrow. The choke point extends for a significant distance, and going around to the left means running into a concrete barrier, or jumping into a filthy river. And to the right? To the right is another concrete barrier, or one could try running along the underpass infrastructure. Since there were hundreds of people, not two or three teams of seven, even after the choke point it was hard to start running.

I get the feeling this is where SOJO does all their 5K/10K races. (Update: I have since learned that is not true.) Logistically, it’s cheap and convenient: no need for traffic control, little need for course setup, and it’s more scenic than a lot of other road races. If it is though, I’m not sure I’ll run more than this one (maybe I’ll run it again, but I don’t know).

As a fun run, with perhaps an after party (it’s scheduled to go from 23:00 to 02:00), what with the glow sticks and cute outfits and glow stick accessories, it’s probably a nice run. I didn’t stick around long enough to see if there was an after party.

Race Support

The one water station came too early, but since it is a there and back again course, you can opt to get it later; but then, it’s too late. At the end of the race, there were typical participation medals being handed out. I accepted mine, only because I was too tired to object. At least they look nice.

The post-race recovery food and beverage were lacking. The bananas were ok, but mine was heavily bruised or rotting at the bottom. The only beverage available was water. It seems races need to start advertising whether they are BYOSD (sports drink). Or at least, those that aren’t are missing out on a marketing opportunity. I was wishing I had brought that Vitamin Water from home after all (“they’ll have Gatorade or something; I don’t need it”).

The Crowd

While I was busy stretching, and preparing myself mentally for the race (as if I could still run it in about 17:00), there were others whose primary concern was getting their glow sticks into their Mickey Mouse ear outline, which apparently was designed for glow sticks. It almost made me feel like they were making a mockery of my sport (but no, that’s the belly I gained by not keeping it up after high school—to be fair, prescription side effects also play a large role).

After the race, people blocked the path to the water cooler and bananas as they consumed theirs. As I made a trip to the water cooler, exhausted and a little off balance, I accidentally bumped into some woman near the table. I apologized and continued to the water cooler. While waiting in line, the fella who had been conversing with her came up to me from the side and said, “Just keep moving. Trust me.”

Is this indicative of a new trend for picking up women? If so, it’s not for me. I mean, why would I want the first impression a dame gets of me to be sweaty, smelly, huffing and puffing, ridding my throat of phlegm? As an activity to do with someone I’m already in a relationship with, sure, fine. But trying to meet? I’ll pass.

Or, is it indicative of a more troublesome thing, like women being harassed at races? I’ve only gone to a few lately, so I haven’t observed it, and I’m not particularly focused on others when I’m in recovery mode (“where’s the chocolate milk? How about Gatorade? What? This is a BYOSD event?”)

The Swag Bag

Too big for it’s contents. I wish I could have opted out of getting it. It had my race number, a couple of coupons, and my shirt. I really only needed the number. I have too many race shirts. The coupons I’m not likely to use (one of which has a listed expiration of almost two years ago, but it was “erased” by a black marker). Maybe I’ll start a non-profit collecting race shirts to give to people who need disaster relief. But probably not.

So, there you have it. The SOJO Glow Run.

Finding my Wings

I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon.

First, sometime in the last four to eight weeks, I went to Murray Park to run on a Wednesday night. I got a little bored of my usual routes, and thought a visit to the old MHS course would be fun. I didn’t have enough time for a full 3 mile run, and I left my Garmin at home, so I just started around the 0.75 mark. Up the hill, let gravity carry me down, and there’s the 1.0 mark. The place where a runner from Green River was at 4:15, and I thought for sure he was going to fail to complete the race (he shattered the course record). Then over the creek, through the parking lot, then up the next hill to the old horse track. The horse track that is now soccer fields and an ice rink. Along what would have been the old route, as close as I could approximate, I realized I was still running fast. My sides were burning, but my feet kept moving, my strides stayed long, and my coach’s voice kept echoing in my brain, “Mind over matter. Keep your heels coming in at your ankles. Keep your jaw relaxed. Relax your hands….” I wished I had had my Garmin, because I would like to know how fast I ran it. Faster than I had been running, for certain.

Fast forward to almost two weeks ago. I joined the UFC gym, but often I don’t make it there in time for class, so I just go for a run, then come back and do bag work. I have run from the gym three times now, just a quick 1.3 mile run or so. This is an area we ran in on our longer runs in high school. I seem to not be able to keep myself from running fast. I’m still slower than I was in high school, but I’m faster than I remember being in recent years. Again, I’ve not had my Garmin with me.

It seems that running where I used to run in high school brings back to my body memories of running fast. I’m liking it. Oh, and it probably helps that in the past month, after I decided to make a rule of no eating after 22:00, and I’m following it about 85% of the time, I have lost almost twenty pounds.

Running in the Rain; Flashbacks and Nostalgia

I ran in the rain last Friday (about 4 miles), and again on Tuesday (also 4 miles). While I didn’t like how loose my phlegm was as a result, and especially I didn’t like how it tried to choke me, I loved running in the gutters as if I were running in a stream.

Wednesday (5 miles), and more so today (6.21 miles in 1:08:10), I was missing an aspect of running in the rain I never really thought about before. Rather than having to wipe sweat off my head and face every so often, when I’m running in the rain, if I’m wiping my head it’s not because I’m swallowing sweat: I’m just too wet and can’t see clearly.

¶ Today my run took me past the sites of two of the auto-auto accidents I have been in where at least one vehicle was totaled. Located on the same road, separated by 1.3 miles geographically, and by a score and two years temporally, together they are both the first and the most recent auto-auto accidents I have been in. It was an interesting point of reflection. The first accident could have been prevented had the light that is there now been there at the time.

Late night view of the mess of red and green lights on 5400 S.

Late night view of the mess of red and green lights on 5400 S.

The most recent could have been prevented had there not been so many lights as to cause confusion: when you make everything important, nothing is important. Can you pick out the traffic light at the intersection? Neither could the other driver. That light is red, but good luck figuring that out at 45 mph in daylight. That is in fact the intersection where this most recent accident happened.

Taking a slight departure from running, the design of these lights was in need of serious help. There needed to be at most six lights across the three flex lanes, one per side. The far left and far right lanes are always normal lanes. Not only would this have saved money, reduced light pollution, and decreased maintenance costs, it would make the stretch of 5400 S that has flex lanes less dangerous, by not obscuring the regular traffic signals. Returning to running, somewhere beyond the last flex light, there is a hill down to the Jordan River. It was at the intersection of the road next to the river where that first accident occurred. It was also going up that hill on the south side of the road that I had my first official track workout in 9th grade when running for MHS. Back then I hated that workout. It’s still a rough one, but tonight it helped that I remembered to make my hamstrings do some of the heavy lifting up the hill, making it much more enjoyable in the present. Just wait until I go up and down repeatedly; I’m quite certain I’ll be changing my tune.

Deliberately Foolish Run

I ran 10 miles today (20 March 2014), for the first time since high school. And without having run since the end of November or very early December. Well, I guess I only ran the first 8.3 miles or so; after that I was going so slow on account of my quads tightening up too much that I started walking because it would be faster.

I set out to do a long run, thinking 6 or 7 miles. But before I had even hit 2 miles, I had decided I was going to do 10, knowing full well that it was folly. I’ll probably write a poem about it, but right now I’ve got to get some sleep, as my muscles need to recover.

Update: the poem is “On the Transmogrification of Pain

Overheard

This post has absolutely nothing to do with running, but a lot to do with running. Running away. Running toward. Running in circles. Have you ever overheard only part of a conversation, that you knew somehow involved you, but you didn’t hear enough to fully grasp the meaning or intent?

September

September (Photo credit: Helgi Halldórsson/Freddi)

Yeah, I’ve been there. It happened at least as recently as early September. I finally figured that one out. But sometimes what happens is you say something online, and a benign stalker reads it, and recognizes themselves in it, but misunderstands the meaning or intent.

Or perhaps what was written was poetic in nature, and though the words were grounded in reality, they took flight, so that the overall meaning of the writing is not congruent with the reality from which they sprang. Yet, people associated with that reality may read it, recognize the beginnings, and not see the words flying in the sky, but perceive them as being no higher than their eyes.

Stalking

Stalking (Photo credit: BigTallGuy)

And thus begins the circle: they start behaving differently because of what they’ve read, and you can tell, and based on the behavior change, you know what they’ve read, but you’re not supposed to know that they’re benignly stalking you, so you can’t mention it, but if you write about it in the same forum as the original writing, you may just strip the wings of those words in their eyes, so you can’t write about it. So instead you post about it on a running blog instead of a writing blog.

So, apologies to anyone who may actually be following this blog for this cathartic post. Which, judging by the stats, I’m the only one whose rods have picked up electromagnetic emissions conveying my words in several months.

Complete spectrum of electromagnetic radiation...

Complete spectrum of electromagnetic radiation with the visible portion highlighted (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

But if you’re a benign stalker, know that I love you dearly, and always assume the best!