Friday, April 25, 2014

Exercise Diary: First non-solo run/ it took so long/ I'm gonna pay for it tomorrow

The title pretty much said it all, and I didn't take any pictures, so now I'l just ramble.

I was gonna go out to run today anyway, on the loop that we eventually did as well, sort of.  But our lab manager didn't want to go to yoga today so she asked me if she could join me.  Apparently she got new running shoes and was dying to try them out.

She picked me up from my apartment.  Not that where we were going to run was very far away but she still offered.  And in return I was supposed to help her move a piece of (very) heavy furniture into her place.  It was heavy, but the worst part was that there was very little to hold on to as we moved it.  If you are working out your fingers for rock climbing I would recommend the activity.  We were both so tired afterwards, but at least it was all in the arms and not legs.

We then took a short, slow walk to the bottom of a big hill as warm-up.  The plan was to start running from the bottom of the hill, run past our town's reservoir, down a road that eventually loops back to the street we were on.  It was supposed to be around 5K.

Before we started my friend made me promise to run the whole way up and after, and in return she promised that the run after the big hill would be nothing compared to it.  She kept her promise, I... well I cheated as usual.

The hill was... brutal.  It didn't look brutal, but in reality it was.  I was panting so hard and loudly and going slower and slower and right before I reached the top, I gave up.  My friend was running behind me and was screaming at me to keep going.  At that point we reached an intersection/driveway (I really can't remember now) and a car was there waiting to turn.  We both waved for it to pass first but the driver was very nice and waited.  Not wanting to delay her for too long we both jogged past the intersection.  In retrospect I owed the woman driving the car everything I did today because if it wasn't for her, I would've probably walked the entire way.  The motivated restart of the jog really made a world of difference.  Maybe she knew that and that's why she let us pass first :P.

After the Big Hill of Death came a stretch of relatively flat but curvy road, with a bit of downhills mixed in.  I mean, we just went up a whole bunch, we are bound to come down at some point.  We kept jogging, and my friend was being really nice and was running my pace and only a big ahead of me.  We commented on the houses on the way.  She pointed out where a professor couple from our department lived, why some of the houses there had really flat roofs, and how some of the houses look really weird for residential purposes.  I was panting loudly for quite a while, just listening to her ramble (she was able to talk during the climb and right afterwards, jealous).  I had run and hiked with her before and really hated having a conversation with her.  It involved using the brain, which never has enough oxygen at that point, and speaking, which messed up my (heavy) breathing.  We didn't make a pact to keep silent this time (like we did for our last hike), but eventually when I caught my breath I started talking back, and it was wonderful.  I've long read that the best pace to run at is a pace at which you can talk comfortably, and I had always regarded it as a myth.  I could barely talk when I was walking fast!  But for that one glorious mile we crawled along the edge of the town (scattered houses on one side, deep woods on the other), chatting, me actually telling a story or two, us commenting on the woods, the weather, and the little cabin houses we came across.  It helped that the mile had lots of gradual downhills, which didn't put too much stress on my feet but made me feel that I actually could run.  In actuality I was crawling at a painfully slow speed, but whatever.

Then we came to a stretch of sharper downhill that eventually led to a nearby pond that is also part of the town's recreational area.  We decided to take a short break, look at the pond for a bit.  My friend needed a port-a-potty break, I wanted to get some water but couldn't find a fountain or vending machine.  But it was a nice break.  We saw a woman bringing two very excited and hyper dogs into the tennis court to play.  It was getting late (and dark) so the view was beautiful but darker than I wanted.  I stretched a bit and loosened my knees.  We chatted about kayaking.

Not quite the same time of the year (didn't bring my camera today), or the same view point, but the pond is still the same.

Afterwards my friend took me on a little trail that would lead to more paved roads.  It was tough because it was another steep climb and although I promised I would run the whole way I wasn't told that the "trail" was muddy and not a real trail, just an often walked patch in the middle of the woods with some red paint as guide.  And it was full of branches, and the mud was deep.  Anyway I wanted to run but it just wasn't worth it.  

Anyway, it turned out that we came out of the back of this elementary school, which I had been before on my previous walks.  We kept jogging, and by that time it was getting late, cold, and I was tired.  If I was running alone I would definitely have walked the whole way back.  But I wasn't allowed to in this case.  So I crawled even slower.  Evidently according to my Nike+ tracker I was doing the same speed as the earlier mile right after the big hill.  So maybe I was unlocking some running potential previously deeply buried within me.  

By that time we were heading back via a nicely paved road that's a must on any trail or race course passing though this area.  In fact for my first 5K next week we were also going to run on this road at one point.  Not in the same direction as we did today, but the road is fairly flat and for every uphill there was an equally satisfying downhill.  No sidewalk though, it was all paved road.

It took all the strength and determination I had to jog through this stretch.  I was really exhausted (and bored) by that point.  My friend was running faster and faster, as if, toward the end of our run, releasing all the unused energy she had stored after tolerating with me and my slow crawl.  She kept running faster and faster, slows down, turns around, jogs back toward me, turns, and runs ahead again.  A car passed by when she was in the middle of doing that, and it was embarrassing.  But I had no desire to catch up to her pace.  I did, from stretches to stretches, felt like I was running slightly faster and more energetic, then was more drained and reduced to an almost walk.  We passed another professor's house, which was situated right next to the road and in the middle of the hill.  The house had a strange architecture as well.  The garage door was open, there were 3 bikes inside, and the wall of the garage was decorated with license plates.  Couldn't see anybody though.  

Just when I felt like I couldn't run anymore we came to a slight downhill, and I saw a house I had seen when we first started our warm-up walk.  And then I saw the street we started on.  We finally made our way back!  Just a few more steps on a downhill stretch and we were done, did a high-five that totally failed, walked a bit more to cool down.  As she drove me back to my apartment (I could've walked, but I was too tired) we saw 3 deers in a little meadow by the road.  A perfect end to our run.

We ended up doing 4.4 mi in 1:12.  The time included our pond break, and the distance included our warm-up walk.  So theoretically we could've run longer for the same amount of time or complete the same distance sooner, but this is by no means a good time.  It did mean, however, that we can finish a 5K (she was panicked to learn that it's next weekend), and that we can finish it by running most, if not all, the way.  

My legs are still sore now.  Mostly my thighs, I'm happy to say, which means no real injury.  My knees were hurting a little right after we finished running but they don't anymore so that's good.  I still don't think I'm ready for my 5K next week, but now I know that running with people ( my friend will run with me and there will be other people and maybe even spectators) does motivated me a lot, pushing me to push myself.  The scenery is very nice, and the hills (most of them, anyway) are not as horrible as I had imagined.  With any luck I might even do well next week~~  

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