Hello. I have missed you.


This biker has a full CamelBak of mimosas and *you* in his crosshairs.

This biker has a full CamelBak of mimosas, a heart full of rage, and *you* in his crosshairs. (Source: Elvert Barnes/Flicker)

WEATHER: Not as humid as it could be. Which is pretty damn fine for August.

MILES: 15 or 16 or something like that.

MILES THIS WEEK: 15 or 16 or something like that.

WHERE TO: Up 5th Street a good long while to Piney Branch and then down the Sligo Creek Trail for a while. Then back.

MOOD: [dances]

TODAY’S RUNNING SONG: Same as my last entry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdrFBwwWJ44

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

Oh my goodness, team. Oh my sweet heavenly Goddamn goodness.

We’re back. I’m back. Hello. How are you? I am fine thank you. You have filled out nicely, I see.

Today I did my longest run in maybe…man. I don’t know. A year and a half? My God, the hiatus was brutal.

A variety of things have happened since my last entry. And while roughly 40 percent of my readership consists of the people who raised me and who probably think they hear enough about the personal details of my life as it is, I’m just going to run down the stuff that’s happened since then:

  • I won a marathon. What??!!?!? I know. It still doesn’t make sense to me. (Wait. Yes it does. As in: Fewer than 30 women finished, so….)
  • I had surgery. My constant heel pain is GONE, thanks to a very nice doctor cutting me open and sanding down a bump of bone that had turned nearly necrotic (which is to say: grayish-black, from his description) ([dry heave]).
  • I discovered that my pain tolerance is not what I thought it was.
  • …and that Vicodin is nowhere near as fun as anyone says it is.
  • I stopped running for a while.
  • …and mayyyybe put on a pound or 10.
  • I moved to a new neighborhood.
  • I considered getting a new tattoo nearly every weekend but have still, after two years, failed to actually do so.
  • I changed jobs twice.
  • I got these jeans that make my legs look bonkers.
  • I discovered the joys of the Sligo Creek Trail.

So really it’s all been pretty good. And now I share some of my newfound wisdom with you. I present you a new Running Log feature:

PLACES TO RUN IN D.C., REVIEWED

In this installment: The Sligo Creek Trail — 10.6 miles of paved, curvy creekside trail that stretches from Wheaton to Takoma.

Positives:

  • Nature-riffic. Pretty trees, soothing gurgling water, and as an added bonus, part of the parkway is shut down to cars on the weekends. As God intended for all roads.
  • Fewer scary giant herons blocking your way than on, say, the C&O towpath. And thus we get to experience nature and simultaneously pee ourselves a little less.
  • The occasional interrupting intersection. Ordinarily I’d put this under “negatives,” but interruptions mean rests, which is acceptable as all hell when, say, you’re scarred and out of shape and maybe a little over your fighting weight and also you just need the occasional break, dammit STOP JUDGING ME.
  • Well-trafficked. Makes the whole thing feel safer and a little less serial-killer-riffic than, say, the remoter trails of Rock Creek Park or the farther reaches of the C&O Towpath (which is not to rag on the towpath) (seriously, All Hail The Towpath).
  • Seriously. Very well-trafficked. So if you’re a sweaty monster like some women I know, you get to be publicly disgusting.

ME: [squeezes roughly 16 oz. of sweat from ponytail, pulls Gu from sports bra, suckles it down]

RESPECTABLE POWER-WALKING CITIZEN: Gross.

ME: [manic] There are dozens of us! DOZENS. [dry heave]

Negatives:

  • It’s in Maryland. “Man. I really need to go to Wheaton today,” said no DC resident ever. Really, if you live in most parts of DC, you’ve got to go a few miles to even get to this trail. Not a casual morning run destination.
  • No water fountains. Er, very few. Same goes for bathrooms. In this respect, it’s a trail for experienced city runners, by which I mean people who have developed the eagle-eye for a well-camouflaged water source/place to pee. Not even a 7 Eleven in sight, should you get desperate. You have been warned.
  • Maybe a little too well-trafficked? The flip side of not-serial-killer-riffic is crowdedness. Given the lack of bathrooms, first of all, good luck on relieving yourself in the bushes without some scandalized suburbanite seeing you and tsk-tsking you into oblivion. Second of all, this means full families of bikers. Which ordinarily wouldn’t be a big deal, but seriously, most of them inexplicably weave from one side of the trail to the other for their entire bike rides.
  • Seriously, the bikers are suspiciously bad at staying on one side of the trail. I can’t stress this enough. It was just creepily pervasive. Adults, teenagers, children of all ages and bike-riding levels. I can’t even explain this one. The only thing I can think of:

MOM: <sucks down 8th mimosa of the morning> Well, I think I’m ready to get on a bike and go weave in and out of pedestrians’ way on the Sligo Creek Trail.

DAD: <12th mimosa> I don’t know. Are the kids ready?

JUNIOR: <burp> <throws Bloody Mary garnishes across the table>

MOM: Sure seem like it. Pack some waters, will you?

DAD: Why?

MOM: Honey, you and I both know that trail has inexplicably few water fountains, considering that it was literally built for physical activity, which naturally dehydrates people, particularly in our swampy climate, for which some urban planner should feel very, very ashamed.

<pauses, then whispers, dramatically> Very. Ashamed.

DAD: Why don’t we just do another trail for once?

MOM: Because I like my trails like I like my men: gorgeous and free of any public amenities.

DAD: That makes no sense, honey.

MOM: Shut up and get your fine ass into the garage and get out our laughably impractical oversized tandem bike.

DAD: Righto.

[Phenomenon repeats itself in precisely 1 kajillion more households.]

Overall grade: B. If you have the nimbleness to leap-and-roll away when tipsy post-brunch bikers barrel by, it’s pretty great.

And also, dear readers, I cannot stress this enough. It is so. good. to. be. back.

THE GREAT RECOVERY.


LOBSTER DAWWWWG!

Lobster Dog is glad to be back. (Image via http://dogfort.wikidot.com/red-lobster).

WEATHER: Somewhat humid. Which for DC in July, is completely gloriously beautiful, compared to the usual heavy urban fug of unnatural, can’t-fan-yourself-without-dripping-with-sweat humidity plus bus-farts plus garbage truck waftings.

MILES: 17.

MILES THIS WEEK: Enough.

WHERE TO: A little past the C&O Towpath 6-mile marker, then back.

MOOD: Life is beautiful.

TODAY’S RUNNING SONG: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdrFBwwWJ44

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

Guys, it’s taking a lot of ibuprofen, ice, physical therapy, heel lifts, orthotics, yoga, and elbow grease, but we are back in business <pumps fist, does gratuitous pelvic thrust>.

Currently the tentative goal is to do the On the Road for Education (Mason City, IA) marathon in October, assuming my various foot tendons don’t snap/swell to the size of golf balls/punch me in the face. But the REAL goal — dropping the expensive gym membership, throwing a few gels in the sports bra, and occasionally nearly-heaving in the bushes next to the C&O towpath — well, that has been met. And there is much rejoicing.

I will now take questions from the audience.

Q: How well do you expect to do in the Mason City marathon?

A: Very well — top 30 among women, I’m thinking.

Q: That’s ambitious. Are you sure you can do it?

A: Positive.

Q: Wait. Weren’t there only 26 female finishers last year?

A: Shut up.

Q: How are your feet?

A: The tendons are sort of sore, but I did today have my first broken-off toenail incident in years.

Q: How did it feel?

A: Like drinking the blood of a unicorn-magical koala hybrid. Like staring Sauron in the face and then kneeing him in the balls. Like going on a piggyback ride on Sasquatch through the peppermint forest. Like victory.

Also, like knowing I’ll have one hell of an ingrown toenail in a few weeks.

Q: Uh-huh. Are you, as we speak, sitting on your futon and barely breathing as you attempt to slowly lower your heels into the absolute-effing-zero-ice-bucket-of-pain?

A: I prefer to refer to it as the absolute-effing-zero-ice-bucket-of-pain-and-redemption.

Q: Have you written a song about recovery?

A: Yes I have.

<to the tune of “Goodnight Ladies”>

I got my feet back.

I got my feet back.

I got my feet back.

Popping my blisters now.

Q: <wipes tears> That’s very moving.

A: You’re telling me.

It’s good to be back, y’all.

Shutting It Down


NOOOO FEARRRRRRRRRRR! Am I right?

First off, a round of applause for our good friend Showtime, who finished her first 10-K in last Sunday’s Marine Corps 10-K.  It was a pleasure to text her at 6 AM from my start line to hers, telling her the basics of making sure she was prepped for the race (“Don’t forget to poop first.”).

So how did it go for me?

<sigh>

It did not.  Or rather, it went, for about 8.5 miles.

And then the calf balled up into a giant mass of evil nonfunctioning concrete, and the Ace Ventura leg and I hobbled to the med tent.

There was a little bitter weeping as well.

Continue reading

Sweet Merciful Crap.


Running. Ace Ventura. Two closely related concepts.

WEATHER: Snowing.  I shit you not.

MILES: 0.

MILES THIS WEEK: Too few.

WHERE TO: O God.

MOOD: O God O God.

TODAY’S RUNNING SONG: <vomits and dies>

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

Where have I been for 2 weeks?  I have been nursing the strangest and scariest injury ever, which I can only call “The Clubfoot.”  The Clubfoot struck one night at a hot and sweaty yoga class.  I was busily leaking all of the moisture from my body, most of it coming out of my facial region, and also (likely due less to my warm, limber muscles, and more to the lubrication provided by having every limb of my body coated in a mixture of sweat and whatever bacteria resided on my rented mat) putting my right knee up over my shoulder, when suddenly…

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On the Subject of Your Kickin’ Bod…


My waist must be skinnier and my boobs must be pointier! POINTIER, I SAY!

WEATHER: Pretty!

MILES: 0

MILES THIS WEEK: 25ish

WHERE TO: Nowhere.

MOOD: Uneasy.

TODAY’S RUNNING SONG: Bluegrass makes running better.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

This ultra training thing is all a lot harder than I remember it being last year, and not just because my Achilles tendons have turned against me.  Somewhere in the middle of my second long run of every weekend, I find myself questioning whether this is a hobby I truly enjoy…whether a benevolent and loving God truly exists…what my purpose in life is…all of which comes out in the form of water fountain rage, a phenomenon in which a tour bus full of thirsty tourists pulls up JUST AS I shuffle, dehydrated and nearly defeated, up to the Jefferson Memorial water fountain, and I run at the tourists, limbs flailing, threatening to slime them with my body’s generous coating of salt, sunblock, sweat, and dead gnats.  “JFICIEU$I#(@UDHVJD!” they say, in their foreign languages, which I take to mean, “This woman truly should get to drink for 10 minutes as we watch, disgusted!”  Which usually happens.

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The End Is Near(er)


It's coming. Grab some beers and pickles and girly mags and get into the cellar.

WEATHER: Cold and windy and rainy and a little demoralizing.

MILES: 25?  Many of which involved stomach-clutching awfulness.

MILES THIS WEEK: 25?  Many of which involved stomach-clutching awfulness.

WHERE TO: Crescent Trail, Bethesda, Wisc Ave., back to the trailhead, down the Mall, several detours to several (CLOSED!  YOU BASTARDS!) restrooms, home.

MOOD: Foul.

TODAY’S RUNNING SONG: http://youtu.be/YUtHjOvPKT0 (Yes, I hate the video as much as you do, but the song puts me in coke-addled 2-minute-mile territory, I swear.)

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

So I’ve been in a foul mood (and not posting) for a while, largely because of a nasty bout with what I imagine to be tendinitis in my right foot/Achilles tendon.  And as loyal readers know, injuries — even minor ones — turn me into a drooling hellbitch who goes on Netflix-and-enchilada benders.  Granted, I can still run on it, but not without a bit of pain.  Hmph.  Today I found myself actually asking myself:

Whose pants are these in my apartment?

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Running and the Economy: Part 2


Let's see...carry the 4...oh holy God. I only have like 2 toenails left.

WEATHER: Cool and autumnal and fantastic.

MILES: 0

MILES THIS WEEK: Enough.

WHERE TO: Nowhere!

MOOD: SO EXCITED!

TODAY’S RUNNING SONG: Today we have TWO, as an all-out tribute to Usher, who is the fuel that gets me through many a run.

News item #1: I AM IN FOR THE BOSTON MARATHON!  Eat it, stupid people for whom the website didn’t crash during registration last year.  EAT IT.  I am going to find you and slap you with a sweaty running singlet.  And you will love it.

News item #2: OK, so are you like me, and have you been running with gels in the sports bra, between the boobs?  And it causes discomfort and paper foil cuts?  And it sucks?  PROBLEM SOLVED: carry them in the side-boobal area.  No kidding.  I discovered this last weekend.  You’re welcome.

So we’re hitting the insane-mileage portion of the ultra training schedule, which means I’m full of aches and pains. Long story short, the more my Achilles tendons feel like snapping, the more I feel like snapping.  (People who deal with me: I am so sorry.)

Seeing me limping around, unable to really bend my ankle joints, a friend of mine whom I shall refer to as Ginger asked me, “Uh, why do you keep running?”  Now, you see, whenever someone asks me something in the “worried voice,” I usually smile perkily and say something to the effect of “Don’t worry!  The moment running starts altering the rest of my life is the moment I stop!  Sunshine daisies glitter hummingbirds bullshit! Kablammo!”

And because I sometimes reach with my analogies, I decided that this was the perfect segue into economics and running.

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