Running Log

Monday, Mar. 8 ........ 42 min
Sunday, Mar. 7 ........ 41 min
Saturday, Mar. 6 ..... 40 min
Friday, Mar. 5 ........ 38 min

Monday, Mar. 8. 5:20 a.m. starting time. I’d left running shoes outside so had to run in wet and heavy running shoes. Builds character? The shoes, Saucony Jazz 3000s, are beginning to look muddy. I'm finally getting back to the good old all-terrain, all-weather mudrunning days. Ah, the memories.

I’d also left the Oxford Book of English Verse out there, which was the real pity. Now it’s soaking wet. I went into full mourning about that.

Full moon. When I got to the bike trail I heard a hideous scream between what sounded like a goose and a fox. The scream was far enough away so that I couldn’t see the commotion, but it sounded like the goose was putting up quite a struggle. The running itself was relatively easy.

I wasn’t using controlled breathing. Controlled breathing is when your breathing pattern is, for example, (in)(in)(out)(out)(out), timed to your strides. This requires you to think about your breathing while you run. I wasn’t thinking at all today. Was able to catch a second wind on the way back. Back was good. Knees were good, although the right knee had a few sharp pains for just a few strides. Not too much chafing between thighs. I can tell I am going to have to pay attention to arm motions from here on out. My hands usually hang waist level. But when hands are held at chest level you can run with less energy and less trunk rotation, and that usually makes for more efficient running. Will have to begin to consciously do this in the next few weeks. I ran to the W&OD milepost 13.5 and then ran back.

Sunday, Mar. 7. An oh-darkhundred hike in the Shenandoahs took 3 hours: Little Devil’s Staircase. It was more vertical than horizontal, a steep incline rated “somewhat strenuous” by the trail guides, crossing a series of small waterfalls and a stream flowing down a ravine. This was a challenge for my knees. But it was finished in good time. Afterwards I stretched out a blanket in the parking lot and read more of The Royal Physician’s Visit and a bit of Christopher Marlowe’s Hero and Leander poem – great courting lines, guys, for that special girl you’re trying to woo – and then I drove back. Got back home, changed immediately and ran 41 minutes in the early afternoon under incredibly warm and blue skies.

I have to admit to suffering a momentary loss of will about 30 minutes into the run. On the return run I wanted to stop for no good reason. The slacker part of me was saying, "That's okay, you deserve it." The slacker part is well-connected with most of the other pleasure centers of my brain, so this little voice, which sounded so sweet and reasonable, was quite compelling. However, an equally compelling voice, the internal Dr. Phil voice, was saying something like "You don't deserve to stop, lardbutt. Your fat ass is so big it could cover small South American countries. You can stop when you run so hard you puke, and you're not even close, you sniveling whiny weasel." My own brain was yelling at me. It was good no one else was around. I felt like Steve Martin's character in that movie where Lily Tomlin took control of his brain. After lurching around a bit I continued, and Dr. Phil rewarded me at run's end by having me weigh myself, where the needle dropped a tiny micron below 220 lb. I am taking this as a victory and declaring my new weight to be 219 lb.

Saturday, Mar. 6 This beautiful rainy Saturday morning was wasted attended a 5 hour officer training meeting for a local volunteer organization. The meeting had gone well for the most part, but ended badly. For that and a variety of other reasons I was in a confused and upset state. Arriving home still upset, I immediately changed into running clothes and sought emotional refuge in the cool outdoors. This morning’s early rains had left the bridle trail muddy and soft and creating an excellent running surface. My left knee has gotten stronger with the gradually increasing abuse. Rather than hurting more, it’s hurt less with every passing day. An earlier bit of trouble with bronchial wheezing has now almost completely disappeared. I can finally breathe fully, without pain. It is a delightful feeling to run healthy again. All this wonderful confluence of health ought to have led to a euphoric mood. However the mind is a wonderfully perverse thing. I wanted to punish myself for screwing up so many things, and to rid myself of the accumulated anger that lay so close. Forty minutes of hard running. It never felt so good to run angry.