Determined to run 1,000 miles!

Last year (2011), I set a goal to complete 500 miles by the end of the year, and reached about 400 when I suffered a minor hip injury. I could still run, and managed to get to 485, but felt defeated by not getting in 500 miles. In 2012, I made a silent goal of running 1,000 miles. I had no idea if I could reach it, so I didn’t start saying it out loud until after I reached 500 miles.

As of this morning, December 19, I am at 986 miles. I have 12 more days to get in 14 miles. As of December 1, I had 49 miles left to go, so I have been making some progress (35 miles).

I ran ~12 miles on Saturday, with a new group of people (who I actually really enjoyed). The first three miles were on a single track trail. That cautious voice in my head was saying Be careful… (that’s how I injured myself in 2011- too much trail running and hill repeats with not enough strength training). However, my hips felt fine, until about mile 11. Then it got my attention- but this time it was my right hip. I guess it was jealous that the left hip always gets my attention, and wanted to crash the party.

Sunday, I planned to run with Dan, before indulging in La Farm. Since I still planned to indulge in La Farm, and Dan gets so enthusiastic about running with me (no matter how slow), we still ran 3 miles, but at an easy pace. About a mile of it was on a trail (I know! I know! …That voice was going off for a good bit, but I love the technicality of trail running, and thought it would be okay)

Monday, I did some strength-training, and when I got to squats, my right hip kept popping audibly (the same symptom that eventually led to pain in my left hip). So I skipped squats. And I scrapped Tuesday night’s run, and didn’t do anything active.

So, now, 14 miles away… My plan is to do a lot of easy runs (and still make it to 1,000). Maybe I am being overzealous… It’s definitely not a full-blown injury, and my pain is about a 4 when walking swiftly, 6 when running, and fine when sitting or standing. Honestly, it dials up to a 8 when I make a sharp right turn (I found this out when my Dad turned quickly and gave me a hug, which pushed me to turn sharply, as I thought he was falling over, so I was hurriedly moving out of his way, so he could fall in peace). Bottom line- as long as no one cuts me off during the group run tonight, I think I’ll be fine. I’ll be running like a car without automatic steering. Besides, it’s an Ugly Sweater Run… How can you not go to one of those?!

Still, I will get 1,000 miles. In 12 days, I can accomplish 5 runs, of 3 miles each… I can do this!

Stretch. Stretch. Stretch. Yoga, yoga, yoga…

Awkward moment of last week-
Dan and I went for a group run (that a few others were supposedly going to). I showed up first, with my headlamp, and reflective gear. No one was at Fleet Feet, except the employees. Dan showed up about 5 minutes later, looking like a ninja in all black. It was 6pm, dark, and raining. They wouldn’t let us go out unless Dan either bought something reflective or didn’t write his name down as being there. No one else showed up. So, on paper, it looks like I went for a group run by myself. Also, it’s not cool to not wear reflective gear at night… It’s just stupid. I made him wear my reflective wrist bracelets before I would run next to him… Even though I was clearly visible and he stayed with me the whole time.

Side note- I really like my Petzl Tikka 2 Headlamp. It works great for a less-than-20-dollar headlamp. Only downfall- every time I put it on, I feel the need to make jokes about spelunking (Maybe that’s just me?). #cornydadjokes

awkward first running date

I think every first running encounter is like a first date. You don’t really know them. You don’t know how they run. Do they charge the hills? Or go slow and steady? I’m not even sure I know what I do. Are they a stickler for pace, and check their Garmin every five minutes? Or do they just go out, without even glancing at a watch?

Now a 3-miler is like a lunch date or coffee date. A long run as a “first date” is like a true dinner date- 8pm on a weekend. If they bring Nuun, it’s like bringing roses. A tempo or hills is like a fifth date. That’s serious stuff. And this is only if it’s one on one. In a group, it totally doesn’t matter. If it goes well, you have a new running buddy, someone to lean on when you’re dreading a workout, but know meeting someone will get your butt out there. If it goes badly, usually, you just don’t go with them one on one again.

I have a good group of running friends in the Raleigh area. (In case anyone is sick of their own location, Raleigh is great for the 20-40 yr old age range… And there’s probably 15 running stores/groups in the area. 1 in every 3 or 4 people are a runner or cyclist. At any age range. There are multiple running group/ social runs every day of the week in every area). Clearly, I have a good running circle here; when we started talking about doing Tuna, which is a 12-person relay, we had to split into two separate teams because 18 people wanted to do it… And there were still others who weren’t sure.

So it seemed like everyone was meeting up Monday night for a nog run.


Then everyone backed out, except the boys (Dan and Dave). Dan runs about a 8:00 pace… So ummmm. And Dave “wanted to get in 8 miles for a nice long run for the week”… And I kinda said I would would with Dave. That meant I’d be third wheel. Oh, and this guy I once hooked up with is like a KING at Nog Runs. Like, every time I go, I see him. I prefer not to see him if it’s already an awkward encounter.

But Dave still wants to run 8 miles. Doesn’t he know I’m socially awkward and do not like to run with random people, especially boys?!?! So much so, that my gay best friend (upon hearing I was meeting up with a boy last night for a run) has asked me four times “So are you trying to date him?”

Since I said I’d run with him earlier in the day, and I know he’s faster than me, so the run will kick my ass and he agreed to meet at my house…. I email him the route and tell him to meet me after work.

I knew this was going to be awkward. But decided it would be a good time to 1) push outside my comfort zone, and 2) push my speed a little. I’ve met him twice before. He seems a little shy, or maybe just intimidated by the amount of energy that the other 8 of us have, since we all trained for Nashville together. Either way, I know he is about my age. And is a NY Giants fan (thank you for that fb post last week). And he has only been running a year or so. So I can add a 3) Get to know what will annoy me about him before spending 24 hours in a van with him…

So he texts to say he’s at my complex,  and I walk down, and he’s stretching. Okay, I stretch like crazy after a run, and throughout the day at work. And while waiting in a long line. Like a normal person. Who stretches for 10 minutes before a run?  … But he is stretching in my parking lot. Okay.

I slowly played with my phone, saying I had to load the map, to make sure I knew all the turns- which btw, turns out I didn’t.

After we began our run, I quickly realized we were going out too fast. And there were some larger hills in this route. I kept trying to slow down the pace, but it would quickly pick back up. I eventually gave up hope, and decide to just keep up.

And truthfully, I knew most of the route pretty well- except about 2 miles of it. I realized that when the sidewalk ended abruptly and we went from running in suburban haven (he stopped at a park along the way for bathroom… and commented on how nice it was) to country ass road with no shoulder. During rush hour. I tried to awkwardly take the lead, but he kept running beside me. I was thinking ‘Ummm, dude, cars are bigger than us. And I know from experience, it hurts when they hit you’ (it took a while for me to learn the ‘look both ways’ on our busy street growing up. No, I am not joking, I got hit by cars like 3 or 4 times. To the point where my mom freaked out whenever she heard brakes and I was outside).

Alright, you won’t get behind me… I guess I will jump into the 3 foot tall grass and just run that way. He is still in the middle of the road. Then I looked up “Oh, sweet Upchurch Meadow. That’s our turn.”  Then as we get back into the suburban hell and enter a round-about, I realize that was not our turn. Our turn was Upchurch Carpenter. Whoops!

me: “Ummm…. so I think we were supposed to go down that road a little longer… Ummm… I know there’s a way out from here, but ummm… let me pull up my phone… Oh, okay, yeah the next turn”

We took the next turn, but apparently my maps did not consider that road an actual road, so it actually should have been the next next turn.

me: “That was fun. Um, let’s turn around. Quick out and back. Adding mileage. … And this f***ing hill!”

(He was really laid back about it all.)

We eventually got back out to the road, just in time before my most dreaded hill of the workout. I usually run hill repeats here. And hate it every time. There’s this tavern that mocks me at the top- “ha ha! you’re still 2 miles from your house… ha ha! you don’t get to enjoy my delicious beers!”

As we begin our trek up my dreaded hill, he starts to tell me some story- Oh, about how he bought a new townhouse, where it is, how much he bought it for, how he saved money with this or that, how it’s just smarter to buy, he was wasting so much money renting, he still feels too young to settle down, but too old to get wasted and crash at Dan’s place, about [pointless other things I can’t remember]… Awww, that’s nice. He knows I hate this hill, so he’s making useless conversation until we get to the top. And actually that hill wasn’t too bad after all.

He also tells me he has eaten at the aforementioned tavern we pass almost at the top of the hill. I wanted to shove him into the steady 630pm traffic. But that would take too much energy. I wasn’t even paying attention at that point. He couldn’t have asked me to buy his townhouse off him because he just realized it’s a crackhouse, and my reply would have been “[heavy breathing and slight nod of acknowledgement]”…

After that hill started our slow and steady descent. Then, I could breathe. I could converse like a normal human being. And this shy boy was starting to feel the endorphins and was suddenly chatty cathy. And he was apparently already feeling the pain from the run. The thought occurred to me that I could turn back. (Since we went a different route out, I almost always go the same route back, and on my own would have made it into a 10 miler without realizing it)

We walked from the entrance of my complex to my building. I was thinking we did a 8 mile loop.

We made small talk. I awkwardly stood in my kitchen with my cold Nuun, covered in salty sweat, and dirt. And chafing still from Sat’s long run.

me: “Yeah… so this was fun”

Dave: “Yeah we should do it again”

me: “Okay. Yeah. See you Wednesday. …Or not. Whatever. It’s just … whatever”

Dave: “Yeah, okay. No, I’ll probably be there”

So, maybe in reading it, it doesn’t sound that awkward.

However, awkward makes me fast. I didn’t calculate splits, because I figured knowing how fast we were going would freak me out. This was my longest “mid” distance so far. All in all, 8.6 miles, in 1:21… And I didn’t stop my watch (my iPhone) at the lights… So a sub 9:30 pace. Very nice! (My “race pace” is 9:30-10:00; my tempo pace is 8:30-9:00… so it was between the two. AND my first 8+ miles on a weeknight)

Go awkward moments. Maybe I will have to take Dan out on a run to get faster. Oh wait, never mind. He’s a sub 8:00 pacer. I’d probably cry. Seriously, I’d be so humiliated, I would pretend I was lost and run back to my apartment, and not answer my door. Note to self: do not meet Dan at your apartment for a run, as there is no escape then.

Thanks for reading. I know that was long.