Where's the time gone?! The past couple of weeks have been a blur. My program has us do a sort of math refresher before we start the hard stuff, so I've been math camp-ing for the past three weeks. It's been an awesome gradual, watered-down introduction to grad school and has left me with plenty of free time, which I clearly haven't used for blogging. Blogging's great and all, but when your choice is between blogging and, say, buying a mattress or going to the beach, blogging's going to get the shaft.
This is what it looked like when we got there. It was a miserable first 3 hours, followed by a glorious 3 hours.
This dog's got nothing on Bailey.
Plus, there's the fact that I'm not training for anything right now. Training provides a very natural story arc, and when it ends it's up to the blogger to "come up with content." This is something I struggle with (any ideas?).
So in the absence of content, I thought I'd tell you the different ways in which I've been challenging myself via running. You mean I've been running? Yes! This week I should hit 14.5 miles (and a hike! And 2.5-5 miles of walking/biking per day). Right now I'm focusing on running more days of the week as opposed to more miles, so all my runs have been incredibly short.
Anyway, many of my recent runs have been tests of fortitude, physical, mental, and social (I may have just invented "social fortitude" - someone alert the OED!). Let's count the ways, shall we?
1) Running with a running group
Man, guys. I gave the running group thing a sort-of-not-really fair shot and I've bravely decided to never go back, because quitting after one failure is what champions are made of. I went to a Monday night easy run that left from a local running store, and it was so incredibly awkward, the kind of situation I usually avoid at all costs. There were only 10-15 people there, and they all knew each other. That's my absolute worst nightmare. When everyone's already got their friends, what motivation is there to reach out to someone new? And when people are in the middle of an engaging conversation, what's the last thing you should do? Interrupt them to say, "HI I'M JEAN TALK TO ME PLEASE."
I stood around looking weird until we left the store and ran to and around Alton Baker Park. Of course no one was running at my pace so I mostly ran alone. The last mile, I was just about to make a wrong turn when a kind soul yelled that I was going the wrong way. She was nice enough to finish the run with me, but I can't say our conversation was remotely interesting. Aren't runners supposed to instantly connect because of their shared love of the sport?! We very quickly ran out of introduction topics, so I tried to talk about running. That definitely didn't work. My theory is that since I never talk (out loud) about running, I don't even have the vocabulary to do so.
So, yeah. Running clubs can suck it. Maybe next time (there won't be a next time).
2) Trail runs
I haven't done a ton of trail running, but I've tried to do so once or twice a week. For example, last Saturday I hit up the McKenzie River Trail to see what it's all about. The first mile, I was incredibly disappointed because the trail was right next to the road, but after that it got really exciting. The views weren't anything to write home about,
Except this one
but it was awesome to run on a trail that didn't go straight up or straight down (*cough* Alaska *cough*). There were enough obstacles to keep my brain occupied, but overall it was a pretty flat run. Also, there were moments where you got close to the river and you were hit by the best cool breeze off the water. It took almost an hour to drive here, but I plan to head back when I can.
Another notable trail run was on Eugene's Ridgeline trail system. I was checking out a map and noticed that two points 1.5 miles from each other were the same elevation. That obviously means the bits between are flat, right? No. Wrong. It was more like a 400-foot gain over .75 miles. I was dying. There was a sign at the summit, which made me laugh because it didn't remotely resemble the kinds of summits I'm accustomed to.
View from the summit.
This looks more like a summit, but I took it from the trailhead.
3) Running in hot weather
Now, this is bordering on "complaining about weather," which I hate (but of which I am guilty at times), but I don't mean it that way. I just mean that because I haven't been sufficiently motivated to run in the morning, I've been running in 80+ temps, which has challenged me. From what I hear, Oregon's had an unseasonably warm summer, and those temperatures are continuing into fall. Although by the looks of it, rain is on its way! Anyway, running in warmer temps is a good way to make an easy run harder.
4) Running an hour after eating a foot-long Subway sandwich
Granted, this only happened once, but it was no doubt one of the hardest runs I've ever done. So, I'm gross and not at all embarrassed to admit that I've been eating Subway with an alarming frequency, especially when I was in the process of moving and didn't want to be burdened by groceries. Well, a couple of days ago I needed to get my run done and the sun was going down. Since it was just a 3-miler, I figured I'd be fine. WRONG. I never entered sharting territory, but I was so. incredibly. nauseous the entire time. It was scary. Don't do that. Oh, wait, you're too smart to do that to yourself? GOOD FOR YOU.
So there you have it. If you want to make your runs harder, try group running (wait, don't do that), trails, hot weather, and Subway.
I've been the ultimate comment failure these past few weeks. I've managed to stay largely up-to-date with all your running doings, but I don't think I've commented on more than a handful. Will try harder!
- How do you make YOUR runs harder?
- What do you want me to write about? Do you even care?