I’m baaaaack

I’m back in Georgia and soon to be back to running! Where have I been? Doing field work in Brazil for my dissertation. It was amazing.

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How do I even start writing about my field work in Brazil? How do I put 2.5 months of my life into a single blog post???

 

The answer is that I don’t even try.

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Instead, you should go here and read my new BFF’s blog. She did an amazing job of documenting everything we did, felt, and saw. Bonus: she’s one of the greatest people I know. 

Seriously, http://lainbrazil.blogspot.com/. Go read it. Start from the beginning, back in April, and then join me when you’re done. I’m already thinking about my training for the Athens Half (ohboyohboyohboy).

 

leaving on a jet plane…

I’ve been telling folks “I’ll be in Brazil this summer” for months now, but I think it really only just now hit me that this is actually going to happen. 

My blog is mostly about my running and not so much about my other life, academia, but that other part is a really huge piece of who I am. Tomorrow, I’m taking off to Brazil to collect data for my dissertation. I’ll be studying capuchin monkeys, how they navigate and how they use space. I’m excited, nervous, sad, scared, happy… basically, you name an emotion, any emotion, and it has probably happened between my ears at some point in the last 24 hours. I’ve been to this field site before, but never for this long. Plus, there’s something about it being “for the dissertation” that carries a great deal more weight. 

Don’t worry. I’ll be back to blogging in August. I still have big running goals for the rest of the year. In fact, I recently signed up for the Athens Half Marathon in October. After that, my plan is to start marathon training for early 2014. 

I will be sure to let you all know when I return and how many miles I ran while I was in the field. I’m aiming for more than zero.

See you in August <3

omg. THE HALF MARATHON.

I did it. Yes, I did. I know. I can’t believe it either. There’s so much to say about this race. So much bad and so much good. Then, at the end of this post, I’m going to get super sappy. So, just prepare yourselves.

First, you should know that I strongly recommend against (what’s the opposite of highly recommend? whatever it is. that.) Deborah Montgomery Racing company. This will be valuable information for basically no one, but perhaps, someday, someone will be searching for “Deborah Montgomery Racing” and they will come across this blog entry. Then maybe this will be helpful. I don’t like to talk trash about folks when it seems like it’s just a small operation and the people are really trying their hardest. But this was different. This was just kind of sloppy and poorly managed. Not cool, Deborah. Not cool.

You guys, it was super disorganized. There was no chip timing. There wasn’t even really a clock. Our course consisted of three loops and an out and back. There was hardly any food to speak of. The race shirt was this non-descript technical shirt that didn’t mention the actual race that we participated in. There was no clear finish line. The woman literally said, “On your mark! Get set!… Wait….” and proceeded to try to learn how to start her watch. It was a hot mess.

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That being said…. Here’s the other thing you should know. I had a fucking blast. The course was b-e-a-U-tiful. I didn’t even mind repeating the loops so many times because it was just that pretty. It you live nearby, you should totally be running in this park every weekend. I would be if it were closer.

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Not only did I take a bathroom break, but I also paused to take pictures.

Also, it was my first half marathon, and I finished it without falling or otherwise making a fool of myself. Hey Hey!!  I also finished in less than two and a half hours, which was a goal. That’s even with one bathroom break included!

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Sergio was amazing as he always is. He was there cheering and offering my water bottle every time I looped around. We both managed to forget our cameras, but he took pics of it on our phones.

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Look how red my legs are!!

I’m now having a little bit of an issue with a seriously sore hip and ankles. As we finished up, I noticed that no one else starting limping as soon as they began walking away from the nonexistent finish line (Seriously, there was just a guy standing around telling folks “good job, you’re done”. No clock. No line. Nothing. He also wasn’t paying close attention so he forgot to tell some people that they were done. Smooth.). My limping and the fact that no one else seems to be doing the same tells me that something is not quite normal. I am thinking of taking a trip to Athens Running Co. soon and trying to get myself into some new shoes. Yes, I think the Nike Free’s have finally bitten the dust. So sad.

Taking a cue from my friend, Cindy at rundamnit, let me tell you about the song that was the MVP of this race. I don’t usually listen to music while I run. I’m an audiobook kind of gal. But there were some technical issues, and the music actually turned out to be a really good call.

This song came on when I was about 9 or 10 miles in.  I was just nearly in tears as I listened and realized that I was definitely going to finish this thing. The past few years have been some of the hardest years of my life. Running has been a revelation to my body and mind. As I ran, I thought about what it means to be a survivor. I was just in awe of how beautiful life can be. There were so few people at this race that I realized I was there, all by myself, just running in the woods. I put my hands up in the air, thankful that I’m still young and strong enough to do things I didn’t know I could.

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Get your shit together

So, the time has come, ladies and gentlemen. The time has come for me to really start getting my shit together.

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Seriously

Actually, the time has come first for me to blog about getting my shit together. It’s like a pregame. Immediately after this though… It’s on, you guys. Shit. Together.

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My game face

Believe it or not, I’m actually not talking about running for once. I’m talking about my field work. I head to Brazil in mid-May and I come back at the end of July. This trip will be for me to collect data for my dissertation research on nonhuman primate spatial cognition. As my dad likes to say, I’ll be following monkeys around in the woods. Yes, really.

There is so much to do to prepare. I have to make sure I’m completely ready and packed, and that my undergrad mentee is too. I have to mentally prepare and make sure I know my data collection procedures back to front. It’s a mental and physical process to get ready to go and I’m not there yet. Not at all. So much to do, so little time.

I’ve been investigating different ways for me to maintain contact with my family while I’m away. It is next to impossible considering the lack of internet or cellphone coverage in the location where I’ll be. However, I will have occasional access to internet (think maybe once or twice in the 2.5 month span) and I will try to send messages through an intermediary more frequently. This process requires writing emails, putting them on a flash drive, and sending the flash drive with someone who is going to town and can email them out. It’s like the pony express, but with motorbikes.

Believe it or not, I actually like parts of the idea of unplugging. I like not having/needing to check email 800 times per day. I like being quiet and concentrated on my work. There’s no facebook or twitter notifications. It’s blissfully peaceful in a way.

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Who am I kidding?

Actually, it can also be pretty unnerving at times. I do, however, like the exercise of unplugging because I think it does my brain good. But being out of contact with Sergio and my family is not fun. It just plain sucks. It’s the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked. You know what though? I’m going to live. It’s only 2.5 months out of a whole big life. And being in the field is awesome. You get to see monkeys up close and personal. You get to see the most amazing night sky that ever was (I’m not kidding). You get to live somewhere most people have never even heard of and have conversations with some amazing folks. It’s pretty cool.

I will have lots of pictures for you guys when I get back. Who knows, I may even try running while I’m there. Then I can recommend some running routes if you ever find yourself following monkeys in the woods in northeastern Brazil. 

Shit together time starts…. NOW.

Half Marathon Training at T-minus two weeks

Today was my last long run before the Rockin’ Harbins Park Half Marathon on April 21.

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12 miles, you guys. It was slow and it wasn’t easy, but it was still 12 miles. I’m proud. The only thing I’m not so proud of is the fact that I have not trained like I should have been training for this race. I set out today a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to achieve my goal distance. It’s the furthest I’ve ever run (until I run further) and with all my recent travel I haven’t gotten in all the training runs I had planned and marked in my calendar so diligently. The last time I ran a long-ish distance was March 2, and that was only 8 miles. So, I reached my goal distance, and I feel pretty damn good about that. The vast majority of the run was super fun, in fact. The weather was just gorgeous. Hello spring! I hydrated well before leaving and my stomach felt good, even after eating a gel about halfway through. I also love running down Milledge on a Saturday morning. The sorority/fraternity houses look so comically trashed and there is always some hangover victim sitting on a front porch with their face in their hands. It almost makes up for the nasty smell of spilled alcohol on the sidewalk.

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Towards the end, my calf started bugging me. I stopped to stretch and then my hip/arse started bugging me. So that’s how it’s going to be, hmm? By then it was about noon and I was getting seriously thirsty too. There are no water stations in real life, you guys. Anyway, I finished, and limped into my apartment where I have spent the rest of the day alternating between icing my hip/arse , eating, and sleeping . #fitness

The half marathon will take place about 45 minutes from my house, so I’m now thinking about what that means for me and my hip/arse. I’m considering bringing an ice pack, just in case. I’m also thinking it will probably be all melty by the time I finish running, but what are you going to do? Thoughts? Tips from runners far more accomplished than me?

running abroad

So I spent 10 days or so in Hong Kong and while I was there, I did a little running. I also did a LOT of walking, which explains why I didn’t do a lot more running. But the running that I did was so so so much fun.

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Here’s where you need to run if you ever go to Hong Kong. No kidding.

http://www.walkjogrun.net/routes/current_route.cfm?rid=56E3710A-EECE-46B2-62A1BA7BD1F7CA34&success=1

This awesome route goes right along the harbor and features some amazing views, some nasty fishy smells, and the most fascinating people watching ever. You know what’s great? The fact that, in Hong Kong, folks of all ages are out being active at all times of the day and night. By active, I mean that they are out there running or dancing or swimming or doing calisthenics or Tai Chi or WALKING BACKWARDS (because why the hell not?). They’re doing this while all of us Americans are sitting around on our couches watching The Biggest Loser. That (plus genetics) may explain why I felt so fat in Hong Kong.

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This is not Jackie Chan, contrary to popular belief (mine) (it’s Bruce Lee).

Now, being active is great. I fully support it. I do not, however, think it’s such a good idea to go swimming in Hong Kong harbor. I saw lots of giant boats, oily spots, and jelly fish in Hong Kong harbor. Not my idea of an ideal swimming pool. But that didn’t seem to deter some folks.

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Be careful out there!!! Geez!

There was definitely air pollution out there, but a lot of the gray in the air you see in my pictures was because of the humidity in the air and the fact that it was still kind of early in the day. I didn’t feel the air pollution too much while I ran. I wondered whether or not it would affect me, and it turns out that it didn’t.

I got back to Athens about two weeks ago, but I’m only now starting to regroup since I left for a conference in Baltimore soon thereafter. Crazy times means I’m not doing as much running as I would like. How is every one shaping up for spring? Are we ready for the hot weather that is coming, Georgia? I don’t think I am.