The Day After

So, today’s run was balls. Yesterday I was all sobered and contemplative and namaste; today I was a narsty ball of ROUF with an I-hate-everything chaser.

My plan called for six miles: warm-up and cool-down singles with four miles of 400 repeats in the middle. Like a delicious sandwich, except painful. It was on a treadmill, so it tasted extra rotten from the first step. I could have done it outside, but I don’t work near a track and my workout was set for the witching hour (er, whenever I could get my sorry ass out of the office), and also, clocking quarters on a Garmin is for smart runners like, I don’t know, OUaL. Not Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too.

What is this, a center for ants?!

I digress.

Quarters are always hard, but I wasn’t in it mentally at all today, and after the first four I gave myself a longer jog break than planned. And by that I mean I walked.

My brain was a fiery hellhole of negativity (this is where I should have stopped switching between CNN and MSNBC and given the damn Boston coverage a rest — BREAKING NEWS: we have nothing new to report!), and it took every pitiful ounce of willpower I had to crank the speed up and hit the next 400. Sometimes the only solution to treadmill repeat fatigue is to go faster. I found my favorite kill-it running song and jumped from 8.5 to 9.5 and 10.0 for the last four or five quarters.

No seriously, this song: The Artist Then Known As Puff Daddy and JIMMY PAGE. For some reason the beat goes perfectly with the cadence of my feet when I’m running hard. Try it. I’ll wait.

(True story: that’s been one of my top 5 running songs for 10+ years, but I had never seen the music video until I searched for a link just now. HOLY 90s, that shit is lame. For the record, the iTunes version is sans the Absurdistan Godzilla sound effects.)

Anyway. I hit the 6.0 mile mark at 53:00, which is fast for Pokey, people. Especially when you consider that my first and last miles were at a 10-minute pace. Yow!

If you’re like me, you’re all linked out as far as words for Boston are concerned. But I want to share this one from Jezebel anyway.

Running can be a lonely sport — hours on the road solo at times so early people can still be seen stumbling out of bars and hailing cabs home, declined invitations to evening activities, neglected significant others, and truly disgusting feet. In fact, unless a runner trains with a group that doesn’t annoy the living daylights out of them, the months leading up to a long race can be profoundly antisocial. But on race day, all of that disappears when, as the marathon runner embarks along a path lined with people — all kinds of people, they’re bathed in the encouragement of thousands of people who cheer for them without knowing their names.

. . .

One of the many puzzling aspects of yesterday’s attacks was the question of what, exactly, the perpetrators thought they’d accomplish by targeting what basically amounts to a celebration of human tenacity. If anything, the tragedy in Boston will further solidify the bond between runner and spectator. And when the Chicago marathon happens this October, I’ll show up to run harder, and they’ll show up to cheer louder. If anyone thought this attack would discourage the runners or the watchers, they’ve clearly never been to a marathon.



Marathon Monday, Part Deux: Use Your Words

In light of today’s tragic attack in Boston, I’m going to post a recent piece by Mark Remy, Runner’s World Editor-at-Large.

So I Went for a Run

I was angry, so I went for a run. And things got better.
I was confused, so I went for a run. And things got better.
I was exhausted, so I went for a run. And things got better.
I was lost, unsure, empty, afraid. Certain that whatever was left of my sanity had snapped, had come untethered and floated away, to a place so high and remote that I would never see it again, and that even if I did, I wouldn’t recognize it.
So I went for a run. And things got better.
I felt like things could not possibly get worse, so I went for a run. And things got better.
(Another time, I felt like things could not get much better. I went for a run. Things got much better.)
After enough miles, over enough runs and enough years, I realized: No matter what, no matter when, or where, or why, I can find my shoes and go for a run and things will get better.
And that realization? Just knowing that?
It made things better.

Like I said I would in my earlier post today, I went for a 3.25 mile jog tonight. I ran a path I’ve taken twenty times before, looping around the United States Capitol before turning around to go home. Tonight, there were many, many more armed guards and security vehicles than usual. Watching. Waiting.

All the while, runners like me trotted past, looking up at that big, beautiful Betty. As anyone who’s ever visited the Capitol knows, the white stone emits its own light, even on cloudy days. I hope even my most cynical and politically jaded friends can admit to the Capitol’s mighty presence. It is impressive, it is meaningful, it is powerful, and it is ours.

I slowed a bit when I first came through the tree-lined trail inside Constitution and First, noticing the unusually high number of armed guards patrolling the sidewalks while rows of black Suburbans idled nearby, just in case. I glanced at a guard to my left, unsure if I could proceed.

He nodded and said “keep going.”

Marathon Monday + this week’s plan

Did you watch the Boston Marathon today? I did not. Because hi, I have a job. But I am exceedingly jealous of everyone who was able to catch it live and will definitely be geeking out over the results later.

This Week’s Game Plan
I’m three weeks out from my next half, so my goal is to get in my last big long run this weekend. It will be a bit tricky because I’m traveling on Saturday and Sunday, so I am setting the overly ambitious goal of knocking it out Friday morning before work.

Once you say it on the internet, it must come true, right? (If you knew me in real life you would know how absolutely ridiculous this goal is. I am terrible, horrible, no good, very bad at motivating myself to get up for pre-work, morning miles.)

Monday: Easy 3-4 mi through the ‘hood
Tuesday: 400 repeats on treadmill: 1 mi warmup at 10:00/mi, 4 mi of 400 repeats at 8.0-9.5 on tread w/ 0.1 mi at 5.5-6.0 between each, 1 mi cool down at 10:00/mi (<– I made up this workout last time I was trying to do 400 repeats on the treadmill and it seemed to work. And by that I mean it sucks and is really hard, which is my personal you’re doing it right indicator. There is no science behind it; I was just trying to replicate what I usually do for 400 repeats on an actual track.)
Wednesday: Easy 4 on the treadmill at 9:00-10:00min/mi pace
Thursday: Chillin’ (rest) or 30 min. elliptical
Friday: 12 mi AM run before work (!)
Saturday & Sunday: Walking around Chicago. I’m not going to stress about squeezing in any running miles; this will be a much-needed weekend of QT with close friends. If I were the type of person to wake up early and run on boozy weekends with friends, my name wouldn’t be Pokey, now would it? It would be like, Speedy Gonzales or MsFitRunner. Or Shalane Flanagan.

Total = ~25 miles

What do you think? Am I doing it right?

Today, I came across this clip on detailing the “ultimate afternoon snack” for runners. To save 2:49 of your life, I’ll just give you the recipe. You’re welcome!:

  • 1 c. dried blueberries
  • 1 c. dried tart cherries
  • 1 c. walnuts
  • 1 c. almonds
  • 2/3 c. pumpkin seeds. They are a high source of magnesium, which prevents muscle weakness.
  • 1/4 c. dark chocolate chips. Chocolate that is at least 60% cocoa is a good source of antioxidants.

Yumm-O, right? I like the suggestions of dried blueberries, cherries and pumpkin seeds rather than the more boring, typical trail mix stuff like peanuts and raisins. Only problem is that this requires actually gathering the six ingredients and mixing them yourself. That’s a lot of effort for a non-chef like me. You think I’m kidding.

Happy Marathon Monday!

I Exist!

Hello! I see you reading my first post. So, welcome! Let me take your coat.

I am starting this blog because I love running blogs. They teach me, they make me laugh, and they make me get my ass up and run when I might not feel like it otherwise. I don’t have many close friends who are runners, so I follow strangers who run and post about it online, reading about their training plans and race strategies and injuries and PRs while eating noodles in my bedroom and pretending we’re all besties in real lyfe. I also pretend I’m fast like them. NEWSFLASH: I’m not.

Who am I? My, how charming of you to ask! You’re a keeper, you. I am a 20-something ladygirl living, working, sleeping, eating, running, and raging in Washington, DC. You can call me Pokey, because I’m slow. 

Since I can already tell you have a short attention span (you’re skimming, I just know it), here’s a list of Things That Make My Heart Sing:

  1. Runningduh
  2. Vodka
  3. Meet The Press
  4. Egg sandwiches with Muenster and strawberry jam, thankyouverymuch
  5. Kanye + Macklemore + Lil Wayne Pandora
  6. Waterskiing
  7. Not cooking
  8. Rage-facing across the dance floors of DC (gentlemen-scholars of Town danceboutique: oh hayyyy)
  9. Becoming besties with all cab drivers
  10. Good sports bras (high five!)
  11. Coffee
  12. Cutting absurd articles out of Cosmopolitan magazine and anonymously mailing them to male friends
  13. Aaron Sorkin
  14. Chocolate Chex cereal (like for real)
  15. Parentheses (apparently)

So, yeah. There’s… your basic? As a reward for getting through that #strugglebus of a list, here’s one of my favorite sports commercials ever. (What, you don’t have a list of favorite sports commercials? You’re weird.)

Doesn’t that make you want to kick some ass?
No, I don’t work for Under Armour. I just love that commercial. Later, if you’re lucky, I will post my favorite commercial from Nike. TRY TO KEEP YOUR PANTS ON.

Where were we?

I have run six half marathons; my PR is a 2:15. I have another half coming up in three weeks, and I hope to go sub-2:05. Because YEAH. I have never run a full.

And now for a semi-topical quote:

Running made me feel like a bird let out of a cage, I loved it that much. -Priscilla Welch

I mean, you know?

On an unrelated note, it’s almost midnight on April 14th, and I just did my taxes. Way to be your own hero, Pokey! Gold star for responsible citizenship. UP TOP. (Minus points for hyperlinking to Thought Catalog. I am duly embarrassed, but not enough to remove it.)

Back tomorrow with the week’s running plan! Or something.