Monday, April 21, 2014

Exercise Diary: First road run

It was a disaster.

I guess if you took away the disastrous parts and focus on the running it wasn't that bad.  There were about 3 stretches where I did some real running, and one with really big hills, and for those I was doing pretty well.

I was too ambitious for my own good.  I was being indecisive.  I knew I didn't have the ability to run long or fast but I kept wanting to try weird routes.  My original plan was to run around a pond next to my lab, because all the roads around the pond are paved, and one lap around is exactly one mile.  But I wasn't happy with the "easy" run.  I wanted to go on a trail nearby, that has better scenery, more shade, and more hills.  I wasn't sure if it was still too muddy to run (it was, I learned it the hard way), but I was severely beaten by it almost a year ago and never went back, and I was eager to see after all these weeks of running if I could conquer it this time.

The short answer is no.  But deep into the woods where the trail extends it was muddy, sometimes with very big barely unfrozen puddles.

Yea.  "Puddle".  There are still pieces of ice afloat.  

Anyways, after I got to that point and was continuing stepping into mud I decided to head back, finally acknowledging that running this trail today was not a good idea.  On my way down I came down two giant hills, one of which was fine but the other was so steep that my left ankle took a toll.  It wasn't too much fun going back up either: halfway up the hill I resorted to walking.

Too bad it doesn't look like much in the picture, but it was a big hill.  

On my way back up there was another guys making his way into the woods.  I thought about warning him but gave up.  I don't know what he was thinking as he saw me coming up.  Either that I was completing a loop or giving up I guess.  I didn't see him again, maybe he was brave enough to brace through the mud.

The view of the trail is beautiful though.  You can see why it's appealing, and in the summer would be popular and cool.  The thick foliage in the summer even blocks the rain apparently.

Anyway, all this hullabaloo was, according to my Nike+, worth a whole mile, which was probably (read: definitely) my better mile of the two.  After climbing up 3 hills my calves and shins were tired.  The road around the pond wasn't very even and we had to make way for any coming cars.  The edge of the road was even more cracked and uneven.  

But the view is breathtaking.

Next time I'm going to just buckle down and do laps around the pond, and not think about other trails until I'm (and they are) really ready.

It's going to rain tomorrow.  Boohoo. 


  • Following a nice but chilly weekend, right now multiple weather forecasting sites are boasting ~75 degrees outside.  It's exciting but... oh so warm out!  I was planning on going for a run outside today, now I don't know if I want to do it. [edit: it was warm but not 75 degrees warm.  There was plenty of shade, and a very nice breeze.  This is probably the nicest time of the year since you can get away with not putting on sunblocks or bug spray.]
  • Today is the 118th Boston Marathon.  I'm not in Boston, obviously.  We don't get Easter Monday off and I have no desire to go to a big city when I know there will be a bigger crowd than usual.  But as I was eating lunch today and surfing the net it occurred to me that many of the faster runners have already finished.  Apparently this is the first time in a long while that an American had won the men's race.  Country of citizenship doesn't matter, however, as a quick glance at the same new article told me that the man came to the US at age 10 from Eritrea, a small state just north of Ethiopia.  It doesn't make him less American than any other American citizens (I myself only became a citizen a few years ago), but in terms of the fastest runners in the world, well the African descents (more recent descents, I mean, as we are all of African descents) still beat the rest of the world by a long, long shot.  I'm also incredibly moved by the strong wave of comeback that the runners and the spectators exhibited this year, after last year's tragedy.  Yes security has to be strengthened to accommodate all the extra people, but the spirit is oh so right.  It's a happy day for Boston.
  •  There's a hilarious gif of the women's champion Rita Jeptoo running past a green line train as she was closing in on the finishing line.  It's funny because I've taken the same train multiple times, and while I can't say that it's the fastest regional rail I've ever taken, outrunning the train is still an incredible feat.  It really made my day.
  • I was surfing on the net last night and stumbled across The Color Run, with it's Brooklyn 5K on the day after Independence Day, a period of time which, if there are no other interruptions, I will be home to celebrate Independence Day and my birthday with my parents.  Which means that I can participate in the run.  And I really want to.  But I don't want to go alone (plus it's $5 cheaper if I can go with 3 other people).  I know a few of my friends also run, but I have no idea if they will be in the area then.  It's still some time away and I have more than a month before they raise the price again, but I really hope I can go and experience this.  
  • Each lap around the pond is a mile, which apparently made it the most popular place to run.  As I was making my way toward the loop I already saw about 6 people running past me, with more to come as I continued along.  In addition to runners there were also roller skaters, skaters, dog walkers, and this grandmother taking her granddaughter out for tricycling.  It was the most adorable couple.  There are some grand mansions around the pond as well.  My bitterness of their richness aside, they are spectacularly beautiful houses.  
Thoughts on equipments:
  • I had my new orange Headsweat cap on while running.  While it did a good job absorbing all the sweat but it was kind of warm to wear.  Imagine how warm it would be in the real summer.  The orange color still looked kinda weird, and I really have to be careful of the colors of shirt I wear.  Our school color is green so I have a few green shirts, which would look hideous with the orange cap.  But I was wearing black today so it was fine.  I suspect the bright color would make me be remembered though.  Oh well.
  • SPIBelt.  I got a SPIBelt to carry my keys and my iPod.  I debated long and over the right belt to get for running, and ended up ordering this one with much reluctance and reservation.  My main worry is that the pocket is too small.  I wanted more loops and buckles and inner pockets to keep my things and maybe a water bottle.  But none of the belts that carry bottles looked compact  and all of them had complaints of bouncing from one reviewer or another.  I ended up getting it for it's overwhelming popularity, and thought that as a beginner, and if planned my routes well, I wouldn't need to carry a bottle or bigger compartments for keeping things.  Today I kept my keys and my iTouch.  I secured it over my running capris (so it wouldn't directly contact my skin) but under my shirt.  It worked well.  The belt didn't bounce.  I secured my things near my left hip and could barely feel it being there.  The only complaint I had was that the back rode up after a while.  It wasn't too bad, the belt didn't chafe or anything, just got sweaty in the end.  I wanted to keep my camera in there as well but feared that it got too bulky, and would be too hard to take out.  Luckily my capris had pockets, so I kept my camera there the whole time.  If I'm running the same loop again I wouldn't bring my camera, but on different routes maybe I would have to hold it the entire time.  It's not a big camera, but my hands do get sweaty while running.
  • I didn't feel any pain while running today, apart from when I was going down the hill improperly.  My calves and shins were really tight after the hills, but no pain.  And still no pain; I didn't stretch very well afterwards today because I'm back in the lab, typing this post, and was interrupted by the janitor trying to vacuum the floor.  I'm wearing my old pair of NB running shoes, which, after switching back to them from my new pair, have been giving me less shin problems.  I think it's because of the pair of Dr. YouKnowWho's insoles I got right after I got my shoes.  I have purchased another pair for my new shoes (which, incidentally, should've arrived today).  So hopefully after I put them in I will have less problem with them.  I do want to go to a professional store and get opinions on the proper pair of shoes to get (since I bought the last two pairs online), but I'm not sure if I'm ready to invest in another pair of shoes so soon.

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