Archive for the ‘Happy runs’ Category

Running and the Economy: Part 1

The sky is falling. Everybody panic. But run 10 miles first. (Image source:

WEATHER: Delightfully cool and drizzly and fall-like!

MILES: 10.5

MILES THIS WEEK: Disturbing.

WHERE TO: A destination a little up the road from the habitations of the towns we know.

MOOD: Complacent.

TODAY’S RUNNING SONG: (h/t: the illustrious C.)



I apologize for having been absent for a week and a half. As you may have guessed from the last post, I have been in emotion-land. By which I mean minorly-but-chronically-sort-of-feeling-like-ass land, due to living in a flood-prone, mushroom-and-fly-infested hole. I don’t know about you, but in the Republic of DJ, emotions make a girl stop blogging, yes, but also stop applying for freelance positions, socializing, and wanting to do anything other than having Arrested-Development-fest 2011 on her bed, which is still up on bricks (the bed), along with all of her other furniture, due to Hurricane Irene preparations.

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Recovering from Injury! (Stages 9 through 12)

Be afraid. Be very, very, very afraid.

WEATHER: Oh mah gawwwd. 95 degrees, with 124 gajillion% humidity



WHERE TO: Sunburnland

MOOD: <deep, contented, cleansing breath>


Stage 9: Going Overboard

You’re back, sister!  Holy God, congratulations!  <flaps hands>  Your leg/foot/tendon/ligament/deeply blistered heel is recovered, and you can crank out relatively high mileage.  Screw Bodypump/yoga/swimming/Sit & Be Fit!  WE’RE BACK ON THE WAGON!  LET’S DO 30 MILES TO CELEBRATE!  Somebody HAND ME MY RUNNING SHOES AND CRUSH A BOTTLE OF ADVILS INTO MY WATER BOTTLE.

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Recovering from Injury! (Stage 6 — which may be optional — and Stage 7)

Here. Have a lollie.

WEATHER: Warm and sunny and delightful — 72 degrees and not humid.

MILES: 9.5


WHERE TO: Back into Mojo-land.

MOOD: Cautiously optimistic.


First, let me say that I HAVE MY MOJO BACK!  Did I do 23 miles yesterday?  Yes.  Did I receive several facefuls/eyefuls of gnats?  Yes.  Is my chest slightly abraded from carrying Gu packets in my sports bra?  Oh, you better believe it.  Is life back to normal?  <punches air>  Helllls yes!

Anyway.  On to the important stuff: getting over your injury.  You’ve cross-trained, you feel yourself getting stronger, etc., and yet — and yet.

And yet.

The injury isn’t better-better.  It’s just sort of half-assed improving.  And you, as the world’s greatest super happy fun time run run runnerperson ever, do not do anything that isn’t at the very least 90-percent-assed.  But you also don’t need no stinking doctor.  Also, you were sick that day in college where they taught you how to be an adult and how health insurance works, so words like “deductible” and “copay” and “HMO” and “doctor” are still a little mystifying to you.

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Recovering from Injury! (Stages 3 through 5)

Stationary cycling AND an hour of C+C Music Factory? I'M IN! LET'S GO SPINNING!

WEATHER: Hot and humid.  Which I sort of love.

MILES: 10!!!!!


WHERE TO: Tralalalala, fields of happy green non-injured beauty, covered in bunnies and flowers and, yeah, OK, a few blisters.

MOOD: Ecstaaaaaatic.


When we last left off, we had worked our way through Stage 2, which involves copious amounts of anger and questionable ways of dealing with it.

And now, reluctantly, I invite you to enter

Stage 3: Mourning

Alright, sweetheart.  Let it out.  Cry open-mouthed, choking sobs and bang your fists on the floor. Drink a pint of Wild Turkey.  Make and eat an entire loaf of banana-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip bread WITHOUT EVEN BAKING IT.  <rubs your back, holds you close>  There, there.  Yes, I realize that you just vommed whiskey/batter all over my chest.  It’s OK.  Shhhhh-

<smacks you upside the head>

Ok, 30 seconds is up.  Mourning is over.  Now it’s time for:

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The Official Rundown (complete with death threats and Celine Dion)

You're an inspiration to us all, you beautiful Canadian bastard.

WEATHER: Chilly, windy.


MILES THIS WEEK: Erm….13ish.

WHERE TO: Thus far?  Barely a block from home today.

MOOD: Fragile in body, lazy in spirit.  Also kind of itchy.


Nothing in my body is quite back to any sort of normalcy yet since last weekend.  It took a whole three days before I could stand up or sit down without vocalizing.  My walk was particularly pitiful-looking, so much so that my editor at work told me on Monday that, instead of me going to talk to him in his office when he hollered for me (for my workplace is the apex of professionalism), we could just yell across the hall to each other.

As it stands right now, running again is still tough.  I know, I know; I had planned on a luxurious month or so of doing anything but running post-race.  Biking!  Power-walking!  Jazzercising!  1980s Jane Fonda aerobics videos!  Shakeweights!  Learning to play the theremin!  Calming the house thermostat wars!  Working on my issues with relatively innocuous words like “naughty,” “fungible,” and “hosiery”!

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WEATHER: 45ish at running time, gradually warming to 53ish.

MILES: 33.5

MILES THIS WEEK: Who even knows?

WHERE TO: Great Falls and back.

MOOD: Perhaps less embarrassed than I should be.


Today’s embarrassing-running-story is brought to you by…

  • The Great Falls Visitor Center
  • The C&O Towpath
  • Target running shorts
  • Stray tree branches
  • The phrase, “Read to the end before you yell, ‘GROSS!’ and pledge to never read my blog again.”
  • …because (as the title implies) IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK.

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Pure, Delicious Inspiration

That is SO TRUE.

WEATHER: Gorgeous and autumnal, once again.

MILES: 8.5


WHERE TO: Georgetown, around that general area, back.



My dear readers, I don’t ask you for much.  I put up my posts and I hope you read them and derive some form of enjoyment.  I occasionally nuzzle your neck at night when I’m feeling lonely.  But now I ask you to sit there and nod understandingly as I explain to you that THE G.D. BOSTON MARATHON SOLD OUT IN ONE EFFING DAY AND EVEN THOUGH I DUTIFULLY LOGGED ON AT 9 A.M. THE SITE WAS DOWN AND BY THE TIME I GOT BACK ON THAT AFTERNOON IT WAS SOLD OUT, GODDAMMIT SO I WILL STOMP AROUND IN MY STRIPEY KNEE SOCKS AND YELL AND THROW MY BOWL OF FROZEN BROCCOLI AT THE WALL WHILE MY HOUSEMATES ROLL THEIR EYES AND WAIT FOR THE TANTRUM TO PASS HOLY FREAKING KNICKERBOCKERS WHY AM I YELLING.

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WEATHER: Sort of hot for October



WHERE TO: Nowhere.

MOOD: Filled with the joy and ennui that are the spirit of Columbus Day


I know what you’re thinking: I don’t burn out, right?  RIGHT.  I mean, I wake up every morning and leap out of bed, yelling, “PUT ON YER SPORTS BRA AND ASS-KICKIN’ BOOTS!  IT’S GO-TIME!”  Then I put on my spandex bodysuit and a few yards of multicolored tinsel and go leaping around DC until I have my ya-yas out, or until that security patrol guy on the Mall sees me, shakes his head and says, “You again?” and chases me around on his Segway, none of which really makes any sense for him to do, because since when was there a law against LOOKING GREAT, huh, you fascist?


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You don't understand this? Loser.



MILES: Many.


WHERE TO: Everywhere.

MOOD: Happy.


This all started in my high school running days, when I was a part of Podunk Iowa High School’s “Magnificent Seven” — the track team being unpopular exclusive enough to only have seven women on it.  As the resident distance runner, I ran the 3000, the 1500, and the 800.  And with each lap, I ran by Coach P., who would wail, stopwatch in hand as I blew by his corner of the track,


…and then he would go back to his nervous pacing and nail-chewing until I came back.

“YOU GOTTA GOOOO!” he yelled.

Which was a good point, really, because it would not have behooved me to have stopped mid-race.  So go I did.

Anyway, he often yelled my splits at me as I passed.

“1:45, DJ!” he yelled.

OK, said my 16-year-old brain. So multiply that by 7.5 laps, and…dear God, I have to speed up and also find another sport, because I’m going to cross that finish line and vom.  And for what?  A middle-of-the-pack finish, that’s- THAT STUPID BITCH JUST FLAT-TIRED ME I’M GONNA WAAAAAIL ON HER.

“GOOOOOOOO!” added Coach.

You magnificent rhetorical genius, said my brain.

But the tendency to work out complicated math problems also carried over to my training runs. Back when a 6-mile run was a big deal for me, it was a time to clear my head and think on the quiet country roads, and ponder derivatives and slopes and asymptotes and limits and wonder whether, if I ran a little more or aced a few more calc tests as a result of my running more, Tommy Van Der Hagen might finally want to date me, or at least tell his girlfriend to stop calling me “Vag-face” in an unnecessarily loud voice in front of authority figures in the halls, forcing me to body-check her in basketball practice later that day, and then every day for the rest of the season.

“Vag-face, we’re STRETCHING.  The scrimmage hasn’t even STARTED yet,” she would say.

“<forceful-headbutt-to-the-sternum>,” I would respond.

“BITCH!” she would yell.

“I KNOW CALCULUS!!!” I would howl victoriously, giving her a sports-bra-wedgie.*

Anyway. I still like to do math problems in my head while I run, because–not unlike podcasts–it gives me something to think about during long runs other than the steady growing ache in my hip tendons. Below is a sampling of math-AND-running-related problems for you to work out on your next jog.

Work quickly, show your work, grades will be passed out tomorrow.

1) A female runner was jogging along the C & O trail last Saturday, minding her own business, when she struck her clumsy foot upon a rock, sending her tumbling to the ground and scraping skin off of all of her right-side appendages in the process.

(a) Given that the runner is 140 pounds and was traveling at roughly 7 miles per hour, how far did she skid/bounce before coming to a halt at the feet of a kindly-looking running couple?

(b) Given the above weight and velocity, as well as the fact that the wind was from the east at 8 miles per hour, how many times did the woman who picked the runner back up unnecessarily say, “Oh, bless your heart!”?

(c) How many miles can said runner continue without looking at the blood dripping out of her palm and getting all woozy and shaky-legs?


2) A runner is jogging away from her home, which is along a diagonal street, represented by C in the diagram below, a street which is intersected by perpendicular streets A and B.  Said runner wants to get to the other end of side C, where untold running happiness (i.e., Rock Creek Park on the weekends) awaits. Only problem is the innumerable Pervy Perverson dudes hanging out outside of the innumerable liquor stores along street C, who yell dirty things (“I wanna HIT THAT!”) and nonsensical things (“Where the PARTY AT, girl?”) and James-Brown-lyric-sounding things (“Hit it and quit!”).  Said runner does not tolerate drunken harassment from anyone, aside from her housemates, as well as delightfully impressionable young Hill intern dudes, in town just for the summer and out at the bars all night in their brand-spanking-new suits, just hoping to make a friend or two, that’s all, when lo and behold in swoops an older, awkward but charming blonde journalist sort, cooing in a reassuring voice such gems as, “Oh baby listen, was Senator McConnell mean to you?  Aw, that’s too bad.  Have another gimlet or five and walk me home and gimme the DL.”  Awwwww girl.



(a) Assuming the runner wants to avoid street C, and assuming that angle CA is 65 degrees and street C is 4 miles long, how much longer will the new path along streets A and B be?

(b) Using the formula

M = (i^2 + H)/A

…where M is “miles a runner is willing to go out of her way,” i is “how irritated is she on a scale of 1 to 10?” and H is “hotness quotient as determined by the good folks on,” and A is Avogadro’s Number, is this detour going to be worth it?

(c) Said runner is trotting along, when suddenly across a park she sees one of the Pervy Perversons, only to spot, with her finely tuned eyes, a HILL ID BADGE holy God it’s an intern SWARM SWARM!

…so how long will the new route, from angle AB to point 1, take her to run, assuming that she increases her speed from 7 to 12 mph and leaps over a few park benches in the process?


3) Assuming a runner goes through seven gels a weekend, at $1.29 a pop, plus finally buckled a few weeks ago and bought a $50.99 fuel belt (plus whatever the DC sales tax is) and furthermore runs 85 miles a week, buying a new pair (costing roughly $90, again with sales tax) every 500 miles, and also showering twice a day and washing lots of clothes because of her truly remarkably awful running-funk and upping the water bill by $10 each month, how much…no, wait…better question: how hard is she going to have to work to NOT realize that she could be just as happy by spending all that money on a bottle of Jim Beam and a Netflix queue fullllllllll of shirtless-Matt-Damon movies?


4) A 110-pound, 42-year-old female runner has eaten 1200 calories today, most of it in the form of seaweed and wheat germ, and has run 35 miles today, at 6.8 mph, burning 600 calories per hour, and has also drunk 2 gallons of green tea to kick off her weekend master cleanse. Assuming that burning 3500 calories equals shedding one pound and that her body fat composition is 14 percent, will you please punch me in the face if I ever become this person?


5) Let f(x) = (x^2 + 1)/(x+2).

(a) Using L’Hopital’s Rule, what is the limit of f(x) as x approaches 3?

(b) I STILL KNOW CALCULUS! <gives you a sports-bra wedgie>

EXTRA CREDIT: Is Tommy Van Der Hagen still single?

*Don’t know what it is?  Come over here and I’ll show you.


So yeah. I'm promoting conspicuous consumption now. Deal with it.

WEATHER: A little hot, but really, conditions are perfect.



WHERE TO: Allllll over.

MOOD: The thrill of the mighty huntress.*


*…by which I mean I KILLED A MOUSE this morning.  So yeah, this has nothing to do with running, but it does have to do with badassery, so I’m just gonna roll with it.  See, the Irishwoman informed me last night, when the mouse scurried out from under the oven as I was baking cookies, that OH MY GOD THERE’S A MOUSE BY YOUR FOOT GET IT GET IT.

OK, sure, fine.

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