The First Day of Fall at Fort Monroe

When I woke up this morning and stepped outside, it was obvious that the weather had perfectly aligned itself with the autumnal equinox. I mean, it was suddenly, obviously fall. The air was a cool 60-something degrees, the leaves rustled in the breeze, some guys with huge power tillers or something yelled to each other from the lawn below. Aside from the loud machines and yelling it was the perfect fall morning and, magically, it actually came when it was supposed to. I decided it was the perfect day for a run at Fort Monroe, which I think is still my favorite place in Hampton.

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I discovered a new path at the end of the boardwalk and some as-yet-unseen fortifications. I had to take a couple pictures of what I lovingly refer to as the moat, as well, because I am still awed by the fact that there are actual moats, not just around fairy tale castles, but around real forts in the good ol’ USA. The general consensus is that my reaction to this is over the top, but whatever. I think it’s awesome and I want to live on the hill surrounded by this moat and pretend to be a princess. Basically, this moat makes me feel like Amy Farrah Fowler when Sheldon gave her a tiara. If you don’t watch The Big Bang Theory you have no idea what I’m talking about, but doesn’t everyone watch it? I’ve even looked up that specific clip on you-tube just to watch her flip out over and over. It’s great.

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Well, now that I’ve reached the limit on how many times one can say “moat” in a blog post, I’ll quickly sum up my run. It was my fastest pace yet despite a heavy wind that made me feel like I was barely moving. I ran 1.8 miles in 17:42, making for an average pace of 9:51/mi. Mile one pace 9:46, mile two pace was 9:57. I would feel a lot better about this is my 5k wasn’t in less than two weeks, shit!!! I still have only gotten as far as running 2 miles in a row, so I’m still 1.2 short of where I need to be I guess I shouldn’t have slacked off in the beginning of September. I’m kind of stressed about the race anyway because I’ll have to go really early, figure out where to park, and it’s going ot be very very crowded and I hate crowds and hate things where I don’t know where to park or where I’m going, etc, so this is way out of my comfort zone. I’m definitely going to have to pep talk myself into actually showing up, but I will! I will!

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Life Lately ( and Cat Pictures)

First of all, I was really proud of myself a moment ago when I realized that the 3 pints of Ben & Jerry’s I purchased a week ago are not ALL gone. There’s a pint and a half in the freezer still, which is holy cow not even normal for me. I was a lot less proud when I reflected on the fact that I ordered a full combo plate of chinese food and a side of (eight!!) crab rangoon last night and there are no leftovers. Like, at all. So. That’s why I wear yoga pants all the time.

In other “news” I ran 2 miles straight this morning!!! I was shocked necause I hadn’t run since my last update and that last run was LAME. I really like my caps today, sorry. Anyway TWO MILES, and I even managed to run the second mile faster than the first in under ten minutes. That’s my first negative split, too! I guess chinese food is good fuel, I’m just kidding, it was probably despite the chinese food that I had my longest run yet. 2.01 miles in 20:26, though, I’m pumped!! Even though I’m the only one who cares, mile one was in 10:23 and mile two was in 9:57.

I also got a job this week and busted my butt tuesday and wednesday filling out and scanning paperwork and proof of this and that. I passed a three state background check with a probe into any DHS-type stuff, I mean, obviously I passed, but whatever, I am going to pretend that there’s some hidden accomplishment in not having a dark criminal past since I had to pay so much for my life to get snooped on. Got a TB screening yesterday, submitted that straight away and all that in such a hurry because there’s a training monday and then not for another 3 weeks, so I HAD to get my paperwork in in time to get looked over, approved and still give them time to invite me to training because it’s “invitation only”. Doesn’t that make an unpaid 7 hour training sound so much more appealing? No? Yeah… not to me either, but what does sound appealing is being done training asap and getting to work. I’m pretty excited about both the variety of ages I’ll get to work with (preK to grade 12) and getting to make my own schedule and pick and choose between grades and districts when work is plentiful.

I don’t really think I’ve done anything special this week aside from what I’ve just recapped here and it was pretty mundane, but I figured I’d do a little round-up anyway.

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My Workouts Since Aug 29

There have only been 3, I hit a slump and didn’t work out from the 30th until yesterday, but now I’m back on it!

Aug 29- This one was bright and early at 8am in Maine. It was even a bit chilly which was a definite change and kind of made my lungs burn. I mean, more than being a smoker accounts for. This one was short but I ran/jogged the whole time:

1.46 miles in 14:27, ave pace 9:53/mi, splits- mile one pace 9:49, mi 2 pace 10:02

Sept 11- Midday heat. Temp 86 degrees and a nice hot sun beating down on the paved boardwalk along Fort Monroe. Again, the goal was to jog the whole time, no walking. I messed up the pace a bit by not stopping runkeeper during the .03 I walked at the end, but it’s pretty negligible. Then I did a .75 mi cooldown and beach walk which felt so good though the sun was still SO hot. Racerback tan now intensified, I should consider sun screen.

1.73 miles in 19:02. Ave pace 10:59/mi, splits- mile one pace 10:32, mile two pace 11:34

And today, Sept 12- midday but it’s overcast and low 70’s. I just ran a couple times around the complex and the surrounding roads. Again, there was no walking, as is my goal now.

1.72 miles in 18:51. Ave pace 10:56/mi, splits- mile one pace 10:45, mile two pace 11:10.

Basically, I’ve been working on not interspersing walking into my training and trying to “run” the whole time. I’ve finally figured out how to pace myself so that I can run more than just one mile at a time (and then want to collapse). Unfortunately my pace makes me a jogger, not a runner, but I realized that I wasn’t able to increase my distance at the pace I was running, so for now I’m working towards jogging farther and longer without needing to walk and once I get to 3 or 3.2 miles, then I can work on picking up the pace. I’d rather run/jog a 5k without walking at a slow pace than do it a little faster in fits and bursts with walking breaks. I have never ever walked during any part of a race and there were hills (and I mean HILLS/small mountains- I’m talking about you Mt. Blue, Cony, Leavitt?) so that’s my main priority, even over speed. It’s a pride thing, for me, the spirit is to run it all even if that jog gets to be as slow as walking would be. It’s just a thing.

Anyway, I plan to get back into a more regular routine again, but I was glad that my almost two weeks off didn’t leave me completely out of shape as I feared and that I was still able to jog for 19 minutes straight! Woohoo!

Fort Monroe

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Today’s attempt at running took place at Fort Monroe, which L and I accidentally discovered on our way to Paradise Beach Club (that was day 4,which I haven’t covered yet). It’s no longer an active army base, but is now a historic site. All along the roads there are these really old forts which were constructed starting in 1609. Other than the old fortifications, it kind of looks like an abandoned college campus that butts right up against a great boardwalk along the Chesapeake.

It was slightly creepy because the parking lot I chose was almost entirely out of view of the road because it was behind a big fort. I parked towards the side that was in view of what appeared to be an active police station because it just seemed like the smart thing to do. Anyway, there were a lot of little tiny beaches along the way, and at one end there was a bigger beach with a lifeguard.

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I’m definitely looking forward to taking C there when he gets back from NY so we can take a nice walk and check out the old fortifications. It would also be a nice spot for a picnic or to sit and have coffee in the morning, but today my goal was to workout, and of course it was 1 pm and 84 degrees and super humid. I don’t learn, I just don’t.

I only got in 1.62 miles before I needed a water and rest break. I did it in 17 minutes, which was 4 minutes faster than my really slow workout of the same distance on Sunday. Not running for 4 days caught up to me quickly. I drove the 20 minutes home and then made myself do workout part 2 and jogged/walked another 1.03 miles in 11 minutes. It was broken up and not great, but I’m hoping to do better tomorrow. At least it was better than Sunday’s flop.

Trillium Trail: Take One

Today’s workout was supposed to be 3.3 miles, and it was at least that, but according to Runkeeper and my brain it was over 9 miles. According to nike plus it was 3.5 which sounds right because it includes the trail and parking lot I was in. This was my first time trying runkeeper and I got this:

in reality, this is wrong, in my head, it feels about right.
in reality, this is wrong, in my head, it feels about right.

In real life, I walked and ran the perimeter of the green area. It. Was. Hell. I’ve been putting off buying new running shoes until I prove that I’m going to use them enough, but despite relacing my shoes, my left foot was numb for the last mile and a half or more. It’s hard to be sure because neither I nor runkeeper had any clue where I was in relation to anything but the highway most of the time. For some reason I always decide the best time to run is during the hottest time of the day, so of course I headed out shortly after 1 pm for my first 3.3 mile workout. I don’t bring water because you don’t get water most of the time during a 5k so I want to know that I can handle that. It’s normally fine but uncomfortable, but today I kept wondering if I was lost and I stopped sweating and started shivering at some point so I was a little worried that I was going to die of heat exhaustion alone in the woods.

I figured if heat exhaustion didn’t get me, a rattlesnake probably would and my fast-pumping heart would speed that poison right along. I think really peaceful thoughts while running alone in the woods and I come out looking like death, so obviously running is very zen and rejuvenating for me.

This is why instagram is full of yoga selfies, not running selfies.
This is why instagram is full of yoga selfies, not running selfies.

So far I haven’t lost any weight doing this, but my ugly selfie game is on point.

I did take some pictures of the lake area before I started, so it’s not all wonky maps and purple faces.

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I should have gone fishing instead.
I should have gone fishing instead.

 So today’s workout was 3.3 miles (goal reached!) in 43 minutes. That’s a pace of 13:01/mi which should fetch me last place in my age division. I’m hoping to not be dragging a dead foot behind me next time so it’s time for new shoes. I definitely walked most of it thanks to time spent trying to bring my foot back to life (it didn’t work). I maybe ran a total of a mile, mile and a half and walked the rest while looking behind me for boogeymen and around me for snakes. I am SO much fun on trails! Next time I think I’ll take a more populated route when it’s not super hot and humid and hopefully run more than I walk. At least I did a little beyond a 5k distance, that’s a start! 

Sorry the picures are so small, by the way, I don’t seem to get to choose the size anymore, but if you click them I think they are bigger. Don’t click the selfie, though. That doesn’t need anyyyy more detail. Hope your workouts go better than mine did today!

Trail Run/Walk at Sandy Bottom Nature Park

After dropping C. off at the airport today (which took 10-15 minutes each way compared to the 50 minutes it took in LA), I decided to check out a nature park in the area which I’d read had a decent network of trails. I wanted to try for 3 miles, but of course ended up kind of mixing up the trails and doing three loops on a little trail through the woods and then an out and back on the long dog and bike friendly trail. I wanted to push myself to run further than a mile, and basically ran around until I felt like I might trip on my feet, which turned out to be 1.3 miles (in 13 minutes). After that I mixed it up, jogging and walking another 1.48 miles for a total of 2.78 miles today (total time 34:21). 

I almost reached my goal of 3 miles, next time it should be easier as I have at least a rudimentary grasp of the trail system there. According to math, my pace for the 2.78 miles was 12:21/mi which puts me well above my October goal of doing a 5k in 30 minutes, but it’s August and I’m just starting out, so I think it’s a good starting point. I need to work on increasing my stamina and controlling my pace. I guess I’m okay at pacing since I ran at almost the same speed today as I did for my one mile time trial a week ago, despite going 30% farther.

As soon as I hit the pine needle littered trail and started dodging roots (with a few double takes because I’m terrified of running into a snake) I remembered why I refused to do track in high school. I feel lighter and more energetic on a trail than I do on a paved path or track, despite obstacles like decreased traction, roots and rocks. It just feels so much more natural to  be running through the woods than around and around a track. I will definitely be going back soon, with the goal of running 1.5 miles nonstop and then another 1.5 mixed. 

There’s a beautiful green lake in the park and another area of marshland that is home to bald eagles, osprey and other birds. I didn’t take any pictures because I don’t bring my phone on runs, just my little iPod nano and a car key, but I’ll go back when L. comes to visit for a more leisurely visit and take some photos. On the lake trail I ran, there are enclosures with deer, what definitely smelled like a skunk and possibly some other animals. I’m pretty much against forcing animals to live in cages, but I think at this park the animals are there for a reason, like rehabilitation? I hope so, because it would be a real bummer if, while they were protecting the birds, they were exploiting the woodland creatures. Since it’s a free park, and it’s aimed at  being a sort of preserve, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt until I read more about it. 

I promise that I’m not turning this blog into a running blog, if you can call what I’m doing running at the moment. It’s the same hodgepodge as ever- trips, food, hobbies, random day-to-day stuff and now my renewed obsession with running. A food and beach post is coming soon because I ate some delicious food this week and checked out the local beach and I have plenty of free time to blog all about it (as soon as C. sends me the beach pictures!).

Training for a 5k

I decided that I want to get back into running again, despite a decade as a smoker (still smoking :/) and more than a decade since I ran a 5k. This post is kind of for my own benefit, so if a bunch of slow stats bore you, this is boring). I’ve been exercising outside in Louisiana since February, with a couple months doing nothing because I was discouraged by not only a lack of results, but by gaining weight despite 3 or 4 workouts a week. But on August 1st I decided I was going to do a 5k in Virginia on Oct 4th and forced myself to run one mile without stopping to walk and see a) if I could do it and b) what my time would be. I ran one mile in 9:46, which is really shitty compared to my sub 6 minute miles in high school, but I actually expected it to be 11:00, so honestly I was pretty happy it was under 10 minutes and that I was physically capable of doing it.

This is the race that I already forked over $48 for, so I can't back out.
This is the race that I already forked over $48 for, so I can’t back out.

Since August 1st, I’ve moved to Virginia from Louisiana and made probably 40 trips up and down the stairs with heavy boxes, so running hasn’t been a priority. I did 2 miles in 25:44 Aug 3rd (clearly mixed walking in there) and didn’t run again until this afternoon. I treated myself to 2 pairs of running shorts from Marshall’s yesterday (for only a total of $20, which is great since they had price tags on them saying $32 and $48 and I would not pay that) so I just had to take them for a spin. I know it’s supposed to be rude to talk about money, by the way, but I never can help myself since I love to talk about a deal or confess my spending sins. So, yeah, it’s gonna happen.

I bought this awesome pair of shorts with built in biker-short type things to prevent my thighs from chafing because I definitely do not have a thigh gap. They worked and I mostly ran, but also walked, 1.8 miles in 20:59 today. I think that’s a slightly better pace than the 2 miles I did the other day. Baby baby steps. I am super sore all over from moving, but surprisingly I felt no pain on my little run. I still have a long way to go before I am running 3.2 miles non-stop, but I’d love to get there soon so that I can train with the Peninsula Road Runners, a group I joined but am not yet in shape enough to actually run with.

fancy new running shorts and my first Virginia workout
fancy new running shorts and my first Virginia workout