Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kindness of Strangers

An interesting thing happened to me tonight on my 5-miler. I was at about the 3.5 mile point at a stoplight standing next to a man who seemed to be in his late-fifties to early sixties. I can always tell if a man that age is a real runner because he will inevitably meet the following description:

-Cotton 10K race shirt
-Said race shirt tucked into shorts
-Said shorts are slightly too short
-Socks slightly too long
-Nike Pegasus or some other old Asics standby

The only thing different about this man was that he was wearing a Garmin, so I knew for sure that it was okay to talk to him.

"Sure is dark out here," he said.

"Yeah, but I'll do anything to run in this weather."

And so began our half-mile of running chit chat.

I found it very odd that someone like this man, who was obviously a rich old runner, (He told me he had just been running in Paris the week before with his wife. uhhhhh....yeah, me too, I run by the Eiffel Tower like all the time!) would start running with me for no apparent reason.

When I chose to run the fork in the road where it takes off down a dark path under a bridge, he said "Are you sure you are going to run down there? It sure is dark. I sometimes worry about my wife running in these parts even during the day, but if you're going down there, I'll go with you."

And then I figured it out. He was doing it just to be nice, because he saw a younger woman running by herself at night. It seems that chivalry at least has a pulse.

Of course, his plan probably backfired, because now I feel even less threatened running by the bayou knowing that people like my mystery veteran runner are around. This still does not entirely counteract the fact that I have been sitting on the ground bleeding more than once on that trail with people passing me left and right, but it goes a little way to make me feel better about the world.

Thanks old-timer!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Morning Glory

This morning, I woke up at 4:30. Just woke up. No reason. No alarm......other than my stupid dog jumping on my face. The only time this ever happens is if he has diarrhea, so I figured I had to get up. (Then my husband got up instead.) Apparently, Beasley had an extremely urgent need to sniff the grass and take a tiny whiz on his favorite shrub. This was the big event that I got up at 4:30 in the morning for and then was just too plain excited for him to be able to go back to sleep. My friend tells me that this is just preparation for having children. If this is true, the husband and I might be the type of parents that you see on the news for dipping the nipple of the baby bottle in beer to make the kid sleep.

uhhhhhhhh......just kidding.......really.

Anyway, it wasn't worth just laying in bed for an hour so I got up. I contemplated a run for about two seconds, but then decided that was too ridiculous a precedent to set, and just went to work.

I did manage to fit in a jog at Terry Hershey today. I usually take the day off on Wednesdays, but I was actually smart enough to plan ahead and bring the ten pounds of gear that it takes to get me to run. The run sucked, to be honest. Probably would have been better if I didn't hate the sun so much, but it was hot and there is like 1 water fountain for ever three miles. Who planned that?

On a positive note, the foot is doing much better! I think I'm getting close to 100%. I was starting to get a little worried there, but it looks like things are going in the right direction. Phew!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

From Bad to Better

This weekend started out as total garbage. First, I had Friday night fever, literally. Me on a fever is a pretty tragic sight. I morph from an energetic, capable person, to a blob of emotions and lethargy. Last year, I tried to go to school with a fever once, and my kids were so freaked out that one of them got another teacher to watch the class and walked me down to the nurse. So my husband, being the genius that he is, knew what he had to do.

He rented me a Zac Ephron movie and got some takeout. Apparently, it worked, because I woke up this morning, feeling glorious. Maybe it was the 11 hours of sleep. Maybe it was Zac. I tend to think it was a little of both.

Zac Effron in 'Me and Orson Welles'

Me and Orson Welles is actually a really good movie, by the way.

Anyway, the weekend just got better and better. Went to a double feature movie today as members of my family are notorious for doing. (My dad once did 4.33 movies in one sitting. Madness.) THEN, even at 5:00 PM, the weather was faaaaaaaabbbuuulouuussssss!

So, I tried to be a little brave today by going for seven miles. My left foot is still a little iffy, but I've been smart, so I thought I could handle it. First, I started out in my shoes. That was a bust. Within the first half mile, my foot was already hurting. So, I turned back for the Vibrams, and I'm so glad I did. I can't imagine how I was able to go so much further barefoot, but I'm sold more and more every day. I stopped at 6 and a quarter because I didn't want to push it too much, but it was still a successful day. I guess I will be sticking to the Vibrams until I'm completely healed. Woohoo!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Funniest Things I've Heard in the Past Week

Here is a compilation of the things that have really made me smile. Or, they irritated me at first and then made me smile later.

From the Guy that sold me the Vibrams:

Me- "I'm a little worried about the size. I may need to go a size up because my toes are kind of long."

Him- While looking at my feet, "Oh. Yeah, I see what you mean. That second toe is really something."


From a student at school when she saw my shoes:

With a very concerned look on her face,"Mrs. Brown, I don't think you are allowed to wear those to school."

On a note that was picked up in the 6th grade hall at my school:

"Trust me, I'm a skater."

On Youtube:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

On the Road Again

Foot is not at 100% yet, but as I could not stand to go another day without running, I decided to take my Five Fingers for a little spin yesterday.

Verdict: I LOVE THEM!!!!

In my three mile run yesterday, I think I realized why my 3rd metatarsal is hurting. When I was running in shoes, even though I had a forefoot strike, I was stiffening the muscles when I would hit the ground. In the Vibrams, I had to allow my ankles and heels to follow through with the motion after the strike. It's kind of like catching an egg that has been tossed in the air: you have to move your hand with the egg to increase the amount of time in which the egg feels the impact so it does not have too much impact at any one point in time. If you just hold your hand flat and don't move it, the egg will crack.

Even after running, my foot feels a little better than it did yesterday. 2nd bonus: no soreness! I think that my muscles were already pretty well prepared for the toe shoes from several months of ball-strike, so I did not have the same problems as many others who convert. Success!

Hopefully, I will be able to post more this week than the past couple of weeks. The beginning of the school year sure has been crazy, but I'm starting to find some routine. So glad to start a new week!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fancy Feet

Says my brother in his favorite I-know-what's-best-for-your-running tone, "Oh, you will definitely just want the plain black ones."

My response:

Don't they just make you think of walking barefoot.........in SPACE?

He also told me that I shouldn't wear them out in public.
Yeah right! I can barely make it out of Banana Republic without making up some excuse to wear the clothes out of the store. "I'm sorry, I spilled coffee on my other shirt. Can I just wear this out?" "I'm wearing this to an event in 30 minutes and I just need to pull the tag off so you can scan it. Do you think you can get the security tag off even if I have the pants on?"

With far fewer obstacles involved with shoes, there was no question what I would do. I wore my shiny new Vibrams out of the store and while I was getting groceries. I have silly funky shoes, and guess what: I want everyone to know about them. They are awesome, and they feel great to walk in, which I was not expecting. I have not run in them yet, because I haven't run since I got them. The pain in my 3rd metatarsal WILL NOT GO AWAY. I think I must have some sort of bruising that is just taking a while to heal. Today will make 3 full days with no exercise. I'm dyin' here, Jerry! I will give an easy run a shot tomorrow. I think I will leave my shoes on until then!

PS: Special shout out to my mom who made the purchasing of the Vibrams possible, along with a pair of new black skinnies. (My high school students will know what I'm talking about.)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Done with the DQ

Last night, my husband and I skipped town to go to Arkansas. GREAT choice. It's like 75 degrees and negative 5% humidity. Unfortunately, it does not look like I'm going to get to run in it. My foot is still being weird. Booooooooo.

The drive to Arkansas is not all that bad- only a little over seven hours. But what really makes the drive special is our regular stop to eat really horrible food that I can only justify eating on a road trip. It's the one perk of driving all that way and should be kept as a sacred tradition. I can only assume that I must have violated some covenant to reap the punishment I received over the next 30 minutes.

We stopped at Wendy's, and for some reason, I thought "Hey, I'll just order a salad." Big mistake. We first went inside, and saw that the line was way too long, so we opted for drive through just in time for a Suburban full of people to pull in front of us and order what must have been a hundred dollars worth of food off the value menu. We.....waited.....for...ever. Finally, we got our food and went on our way. A mile at a time, I started realizing all that had gone wrong with our order. No ketchup. No Salt. Four chicken nuggets instead of five. Wrong salad. BLT Cobb instead of Apple Pecan. But they didn't even get the BLT Cobb right itself. They left the bacon off! They left off the single most important ingredient! And of course it tasted ridiculous with the pomegranate vinaigrette. That's what I get for trying to be health conscious on a road trip.

I said out loud to myself, "The only thing that can make this okay is if I get a blizzard from Dairy Queen," just as we happened to pass a DQ. I was so stunned at the Kismet of it all that the only reaction I could come up with was to point and shout incoherently. That's what Blizzards do to me.

I thought my husband knew me well enough to understand that "eeeeeee! eeeeeeeee!" means "Hey, babe, do you mind if we stop at that Dairy Queen?" but apparently he thought it meant "Swerve or we'll die!" Oops. We somehow made it into the parking lot unscathed.

We pulled up to the speaker and waited......waited some more......."hello? Hello???" When we got to the window we noticed that the cashier had taken her headset off. No big deal. It's not like that's your only job or anything.
Husband asks: "So are you guys not taking orders at the speaker?"
DQ Girl: "Yes, we are."
Husband: Confusedly, "Oh, um, we tried to order back there, but I guess you didn't hear?"
DQ Girl: "Okay." Silence.
Husband: "Well, I guess we'll get a heath and butterfinger blizzard."
DQ Girl: Says nothing and goes to the blizzard machine where three other high school girls are helping each other make one blizzard at a time. This must be the DQ business model, because I have never made it out of one in under 20 minutes.

Blizzard in hand, I think that everything has been made right. I have control of my life. People are inherently good. All's well that ends well. Until I take a bite and realize that she put chocolate syrup in my ice cream.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cure for a Broken Foot

Irritated at foot. Still hurting and starting to bruise a little bit. Hence, no running tonight or tomorrow. Check again on Saturday. To make myself feel better, I watched part of 17 Again. Ashamed. Mission accomplished all the same.

Good night, Zac.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ho Hum Hump Day

I knew it was going to be a rough day when I woke up this morning at 5:28 and hit snooze, only to hear the alarm go off 15 seconds later. STUPID alarm app! It's not supposed to go off again for ten minutes! Except that it had been ten minutes. I never fall back asleep when I hit snooze. I may lay there and worry about the fact that I have to get up in 10 minutes, and then be so mad that I spent 10 minutes worrying instead of sleeping that I hit snooze two more times, but I never actually go back to sleep. That is another one of those little habits that makes me all the more endearing to my husband. He can get over it. His first class on MWF isn't until 1:00 PM. Who lives like that????

My coffee this morning never quite got me past the friendly zombie state and by my 2:45 meeting, I couldn't finish a sentence because I would yawn in the middle and then forget what I was talking about pre-yawn. Completely worthless by 4:00, I collapsed on the couch when I got home about 4:30 and slept for an hour. FAIL! I hate naps, and now I have taken two in three days. Naps are for lazy college girls who OD on cheetos and peanut butter after a taxing 9:00AM class. UGH!

The nap did help a little though. I managed to get my butt up when the hubster lured me off the couch with the promise of some Pei Wei. I actually cleaned a little and had a good run. 4 miles at a 9:20 pace and one mile of easy jog. The top of my foot was noticeably in pain by the end. I'm not going to get angry till I see what some ice and a day out of heels does.

Oh, and I decided, that I'm applying to grad schools. Not that I'm going for sure, but I will be applying. Done.