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 ❤
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Today was my last long run before the Rockin’ Harbins Park Half Marathon on April 21.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Things that happened on my run today:
1. It snowed. Not much, but this is Georgia so that’s pretty amazing. My first time running in snow. There were probably all told 5 flakes, but I’m still totally counting that as running in the snow.
2. I got random cheers from a group of folks handing out fliers to passers-by.
3. I scared a little girl when I tried to pass too close.
4. I accidentally ran 8 miles instead of 7. I didn’t pre-plan my route and I tried to do math while running, which obviously didn’t work so well. I figure it’s actually ok because I’ll be in China next week and may miss some training runs.
I’m training for the Rockin’ Harbins Park Half marathon in Dacula on April 21. Even for runners from the area, when I say I’m running in this particular half marathon, they get a vague, far-away look in their eyes that says, “I have no idea what or where that is, but it sounds sketchy.” I don’t care. It fits my schedule and that’s all I’m worried about right now. The course could be completely awful, but I’ll deal with that when I get there (I guess). I just had to put it on the calendar otherwise I wasn’t going to get motivated again. But I registered, and I AM motivated, and that’s a pretty awesome feeling.
Last week I ran 5 miles on Monday, 5 miles on Thursday, and 6 miles on Saturday. I also taught Zumba for two hours on Tuesday, like I do every week. Sunday, out of the blue, I got this urge to give swimming another go. I used to swim in high school. I wasn’t great at it, but I did it. So I put on my suit and headed to the gym to go swimming. It was good to be back in the water, and I think it’s a really good workout for me when I’m not running, especially considering the pounding I subject my body to with running and Zumba. Swimming is smooth. Swimming is, for lack of a less obvious descriptor, fluid. I’m terribly slow, but I really don’t even mind because before I wasn’t even working out at all on the days that I’ve now dedicated to swimming. So it feels like anything I do burns bonus calories, even if it is slow, ugly, and I refuse to do flip turns.
Flip turn fail. Mine are way uglier.
This week, I ran 5 miles on Monday. Have I mentioned how good Gone Girl is? WELL, I just got to that part, which… if you’ve read it, you know exactly what I’m referring to, and if you haven’t read it, what are you doing with your life?? I ran with my mouth hanging open and I could not even process what was happening. Major portions of my run are completely deleted from my memory. I just ran. And listened. And it was amaaaazing. Tuesday, more Zumba. Two hours. There are a couple of new songs I want to start doing in class and if I ever find time to choreograph again, I’ll have plenty to do. One I want to do is from the latest ZIN video (the Bhangra song). Yesterday, I went back to the pool for a short swim. When I say short, I mean it (650 m), but it’s bonus exercise, so I just have to do better than nothing. This morning I did another 5 miles. I don’t normally run in the morning. I wait for the end of my work day and reward myself for making it through the day with a run. It’s sick and twisted, I know. But that’s the mind of a PhD student for you. But running this morning was pretty good. I’m just tiiiired right now. Saturday, I’m going for 7 miles.
Next week, I’m going to be facing a major workout challenge. I’m going to Hong Kong with my mom, dad, and brother. It’s an amazing opportunity. I can’t even begin to process that one week from tomorrow I’ll be in China, but I guess it will hit me when I get off the plane. I’m totally stoked, but I also can’t figure out exactly how I’m going to keep up with my training. I can’t even imagine trying to run in Hong Kong on the streets. I’m way too scared to try that. My dad’s apartment has treadmills, I think. So if I have enough time and energy for it, I suppose I’m going to give running indoors a shot. I know I’m going to be zapped for energy though, so we’ll see how it goes. I’ll be sure to send pictures. My dad and brother are already there and they sent this picture of the harbor.