Sweat Stains Rule!

Yesterday was a long day of work, walking, and hot weather. Despite this, I still had a fair amount of energy when I came home at 8 o’clock yesterday evening. As I was coming home I was thinking about whether or not I felt like running and though it is easy (and very appealing sometimes) to just say, “Today was a tough day. You deserve some couch time,” I made up my mind to run. This dilemma of feeling like I just want to stay home, but wanting to continue to see the results that running has given me is constantly at work in my head, especially when I’m tired and lacking energy. But, in the end all I have to do is remind myself why we started running to begin with: to get healthy, and I go for a run.

I told my husband upon my arrival that I needed 15 to 20 minutes of horizontal rest and then I’d be ready to run. Good to my word, we were putting on running clothes soon after. The weather was not good at our house and, surprisingly, worse at the park when we got there. Stale air, muggy, and still quite hot even though it was well after sunset.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

We started running and immediately I caught sight of another man and woman running right in front of us. We see very few female runners at the park at night and the handful (and by handful I mean 2) we have seen run solo. It was nice to see another couple. But, then the competitive monster inside of me kicked in. We are always getting passed by runners. We aren’t the slowest around, but it’s annoying when you think you’re doing well and then get passed by a trio of middle-aged guys with beer bellies who are not wearing proper running shoes. Sure, they only run about 10 minutes, maybe 15 tops, but they haul ass right past us.

photo courtesy of pixabay
Me ready to chase my prey; photo courtesy of pixabay

I locked my sights on this couple and I wanted them. It was like they were a wounded doe and I was a big bad lion. We were going about the same pace and the distance between us did not change much for 6 or 8 minutes. We followed them all the way through the park as they were on our normal running route. On a typical run I usually start feeling good around minute 7 and it typically lasts until the end of the first interval, minute 20. So, as the 7th minute approached I was feeling good. I wanted to overtake this couple. In fact, I needed to.

I’m always the one who slows us down, keeps us on a pace that won’t use up all our energy. I’m the responsible running partner. So, often my job is to reel my hubby back in when he just wants to run like a gazelle and leave me in the dust. But, yesterday that all went out the window. It was me who pushed us faster. From minute 7 until minute 20, I started pushing the pace and caught the couple in front of us around minute 14.

The problem when you run intervals is that you stop and walk so as soon as we started walking at minute 20 that couple was on their way past us. Though they did turn around and go back while we kept going straight.  So, we walked and started running the second interval and I was pooped. How I regretted pushing it in the first interval. I really slowed down. But, it was nice to see that I could run faster.

After the second break my husband’s first words were “You just had to catch that couple, didn’t you?”

After I nodded slightly ashamed in the affirmative, he said, “I wish I would have talked to them and asked them to keep running with us since it motivated you to run faster.”

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

Oh well… the fact that I was tired from a long day, pushing it in the first interval, and the fact that it was such crap weather made that final interval really hard. But, I finished it even though my hubby charged ahead, finishing strong.

At the end of every run, we sit on a bench and drink the rest of the water we carry with us and then get up and buy a couple of bottles of cold water from the park cafe. When we sit down, the wooden park benches sort of absorb all the sweat our clothes have absorbed. I’ll warn you now, this is kind of gross, so you can stop reading if you are reading this and eating. My husband is the sweating kind so every time he gets up from sitting on the bench there is a little bum-shaped sweat stain left behind, like it’s his calling card. I have to say I’m always a little jealous. Sweating that much is like a badge of honor to me. I see his sweat stain after every run and yes, while it is gross, I’m a little envious. I work hard, but I’m not a huge sweater.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

Well, that all changed after last night’s run. It was ridiculously humid and hot last night (have I said that enough?) and when we got up and I checked to make sure we hadn’t left anything behind there was my hubby’s sweat stain and next to it a fainter, smaller sweat stain – like a baby sweat stain. Finally, the fruits of my labor were visible. Despite the embarrassment of leaving sweat stains on a park bench I was proud and half-thankful that we run at night so our running imprints are not obvious to people walking by.

Are you the sweating kind? Is it a badge of honor for you or just gross?

Running Pet Peeve

We were walking down the street on a hot, sticky Summer day – the type of day that says “Why are we outside? It’s too hot!”  It was about 1pm so the hottest time of day. Everyone was walking a little slow from the heat.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

There is a woman about 4 or 5 meters ahead of us. She’s walking like everyone else and then, out of seemingly nowhere, she starts running. In what appears to be her office work clothes and a couple bags on her arms, she is running. What’s weird is the fact that she was casually walking and then running. Maybe she looked at her watch and saw that she was going to be late for something? I don’t know. This is not the part that bothers me. What bothers me is the fact that she ran for a solid 20 seconds and then regressed to walking again at a leisurely pace.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

Why would someone run for 20 seconds like their pants were on fire or they were giving away money and then stop? Am I the only one confused? Does anyone else see people doing this?

When we run we see a lot of different types of people. There is one type that I can’t understand. Perhaps someone can explain it to me. When I see runners who are wearing windbreakers with the hood on their heads in the middle of Summer I daydream about running over to them with a pair of scissors and cutting them out of this monstrosity that must be so humid and sweaty to wear. Why would anyone wear this jacket at the height of Summer? People in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are doing this. Is this really all about sweating more because they think they will lose more weight that way? I feel like having a windbreaker intervention sometimes. These people need to be freed.

paper-scissors-243442_1280
photo courtesy of pixabay

Another type of runner I don’t quite understand, and some walkers fit into this category as well, is people who wrap a towel around their necks while running or walking. Is there an excessive neck-sweating epidemic going around that I don’t know about. Sometimes I feel like I’m watching re-runs of Who’s the Boss? Do you remember that show? Whenever Angela or Tony worked out on that show there was a towel and a windbreaker (no hood though) involved.

Do you see people doing strange things while they run? 

Weather-Dependent Running

After our 1-hour run on Friday, my right hip was so stiff. I walked a lot on the weekend – at least a couple hours each day – and it was still bothering me. On Monday, I made a conscious effort to do the least amounting of walking necessary. At the end of the day I think my hips were thanking me for it, too – no pain or discomfort. It seems I just needed a break from moving. It is taking time for my body to get used to running, I suppose.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

So, we just walked to the local Starbucks and did some grocery shopping, picking up a couple of melons before they are out of season. Our summer running routine of running after sunset forces us to eat a late lunch around 3 or 4pm, run at 8:30pm, and then we can’t really stomach any food post-run so we eat watermelon or honeydew.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

We didn’t run at all on the weekend, so Monday night was our next run. Being rested and recharged really helped me get excited for the run. As we walked down to the park, my hubby and I talked about what we would do: go for 2 intervals of 30 minutes or just run until we can’t anymore. We decided to let the weather decide.

I’m so disappointed the temperature has been creeping back up and the humidity has gotten worse in the last few days. I thought we were basically done with the horrible weather, but this week proved me wrong. Even though our house is just a 10-minute walk to the park it can have totally different weather conditions. You never know until you get to the park.

The park where we run on the seaside. I took this photo on our last run before we came to our friends' place for 10 days. Who knew I'd have such nostalgia about it.
This is the sidewalk we run on by the seaside.

The wind picked up as we moved closer to the seaside. We saw a couple runners and considering all the factors it appeared we would have a great run. We decided to just play it by ear in terms of how long the intervals would be. Not my favorite strategy since I like to plan things and like to know what I’m getting myself into before doing it. As we started the first interval I felt like we were running a bit fast. My hubby was excited, apparently, to try and run longer than 20 minutes. I had to forcefully slow us down halfway through the first interval.

Unfortunately, there were times when the wind completely died and it felt awful. We were sweating up a storm so when 20 minutes came around on the clock, we both instinctively knew that 20 minutes was enough. Today was not the day to go farther.

Even though I was a little hesitant about extending the intervals so quickly after just starting 1 hour of running, I have to admit I was a little disappointed that we couldn’t extend it by even 5 minutes yesterday. The weather gods were having no part of it. I was even dragging by the last 6 or 8 minutes of the last interval because of it.

My nemesis, the weatherman, says that the rest of this week is going to be hot and especially humid. Not good news! But, next week looks more promising.

Do you plan your runs beforehand or do you decide on the go?

1 Hour of Running or Bust

This is the conversation my husband and I had as we walked from our house to the park for a run on Friday evening:

Hubby: “The weather seems not too bad.”

Me: “Yeah, it’s been worse,” completely oblivious as to where this conversation is going.

Hubby: “If it’s breezy when we get there, we’re going to do 3 intervals of 20 minutes. So mentally prepare yourself now.”

Me: Blank, fearful stare

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

I don’t think my husband quite understands it when I say “I need to mentally prepare myself.” If it is necessary to mentally prepare myself then something is definitely happening or very likely to occur. The weather is not one of those things that I depend on so it seemed a little bit of a contradiction to a.) expect a high chance of good weather for running and, consequently, b.) prepare for a new, longer interval of running.

But, I could tell by the half-crazy look in his eye that he was serious – we were going to run 20 minutes 3 times. He didn’t seem to be asking me either. I was hesitant, to say the least, as we walked to the park. I had only run the 19 minute intervals twice because I took some time to let my sore hip rest, but he had run it 3 times. I didn’t protest too much – just the requisite amount when your spouse tells you to do something you don’t want to do, but knows you will do it anyway. Haven’t we all been there? It’s just enough protesting so that they know you are not pleased about doing it and so you can use it for something in the future when you want to do something and they don’t.

It seemed the weather gods were on my side, though, when we got to the park. It was not breezy and the humidity had eeked up to previous early August temperatures when I had bemoaned the fact that it was too hot to run. And then, a small breeze started and it seemed my husband’s wish came true.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

The first interval of 20 minutes was really good. It always amazes me how much further we run by just adding an extra minute to running. We ran the entire length of the park this time. We still took a 3-minute walking break and then started up again, but this time instead of running near where people barbeque and the sidewalk is a haze of smoke and the all too delicious smells of people’s dinner cooking we took a turn to run along a very long wave breaker that has just been built with a sidewalk on top. It is quite big and extends quite a distance into the sea. I think it took 5 minutes to run the whole thing. I’m so glad we chose to run there because the wind was glorious and despite having to make our presence known to some fishermen who were casting their lines – one of my irrational fears is losing an eye to a fishhook by a fisherman that doesn’t see I’m behind him – it was awesome!

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

We finished the second and third intervals without any problems and I didn’t even slow down at the end, which is typical on a new interval run. I was really pleased with myself. But, perhaps, my excellent performance sealed my fate.

My hubby also noticed I was doing well so at the end of the run, as we are drinking some much deserved water and recovering, he says, very casually, “The next time the weather is cool we’re just running as much as we can. No more planned walking breaks.”

Again, he was met with a blank, shocked face from me. Of course the first word out of my mouth was “Why?” like it was punishment.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

His opinion is that if it hadn’t been for the heat and humidity of the summer we’d already be running a full hour, non-stop by now. But, instead, we are just now running an hour with breaks. Yes, he’s right. We are a little behind schedule, but there wasn’t much we could do about it.

The total amount of running and walking we do is 66 minutes and he’s getting bored. He wants to get rid of those 6 minutes of walking sooner rather than later. So, it seems that running 3, 20-minute intervals will not last long if the weather stays around 28 degrees C or 82 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity that is bearable.

In spite of the double dose of shock on Friday, we finally hit our goal of running an hour and that in and of itself is something that a few months ago seemed so distant and, at times, unattainable. So, now it’s all about whittling down the breaks and walking time.

What was your first running goal?

Random Spurts of Running

When we ran on Wednesday night it was a great run – I still can’t stop saying that – but we had an unplanned running buddy part of the way.

My husband and I have only run with each other. We see other runners though it never exceeds a dozen and on Wednesday there were literally less than half that number. We were about halfway through our first interval of 19 minutes and were turning right where the path dead-ends to the sidewalk that follows the seaside. At that intersection and at the very moment we turned there was another guy that had been running along the seaside that merged with us. The three of us took a few steps all lined-up and then this guy pulled away. I’ve told you all before that we aren’t so fast and this guy in his 40s was faster.

Of course, as he is running directly in front of us, I’m only looking at him, studying him. This man was wearing normal shoes, not running shoes, and cotton shorts and a regular t-shirt. He was bouncing as he ran, if that makes sense, like running was the easiest thing he could be doing. I watched him for almost a minute and then he pulled his phone out of his pocket and started walking and talking on it.

park-698878_1280
photo courtesy of pixabay

For me, this is just so weird. He obviously wasn’t out to run, but had seemingly decided to just start running out of the blue. Does anyone do this? When my phone rings and I’m running that person is not getting called back until I’m done and have had some water. What was really annoying was that we passed him as he chatted on the phone and kept running, only to have him pass us once again a couple of minutes later. I guess it was a short phone call. So, we kept chugging along only to see him stop a minute or so later and then we passed him and never saw him pass us again. When we turned around 10 minutes later and made our way back we saw him walking with two women. This guy was quite the multi-tasker. Is it just me who thinks random spurts of running is strange?

group-609640_1280
photo courtesy of pixabay

When we run people who see us seem to just start randomly running.  On Wednesday night a guy pushing a small child in a stroller saw us and started hauling ass like his life depended on it for a solid 30 seconds before collapsing on a bench, and then there was a mother, father, teenage daughter trio who were sprinting in jeans coming towards us after they caught sight of us. But, again, only for about half a minute.

It’s very strange having people start running when they see you. Do we smell that bad that people need to run ahead of us? Is being downwind of us so bad?… I am beginning to wonder if it is “mob mentality” kicking-in. Do they think, “Maybe we should run right now, too, since that couple is?” By far the type of person we see running who is obviously doing it because we are is children. I can not count how many times kids from the ages of barely walking to young teenager have started running in front of us because they have seen us.

kid-358526_1280
photo courtesy of pixabay

Recently, a 3-year-old girl, if she was even 3, saw us, squealed, and made off running. It was funny and made us chuckle, but then she was running faster than us. Show off! 🙂  Normally it’s the 8 to 10-year-olds. I think they want to see if they can beat us running. Spoiler – they can run faster for the full 15 seconds they run.

On Wednesday there were also 2 twenty-something guys running together who ran passed us as we were setting up our mp3 players and watches pre-run. Five or six minutes after we began running they came into view in front of us and they were standing and talking. When we saw them before our run they had been running at about our pace. As we got closer to them, one of them saw us and nudged his buddy and they immediately ran off, much faster than before. We were behind them and I kept seeing them look back at us. They cut through a shortcut a couple of minutes later and were gone from sight thanks to some trees. After we had permanently lost the guy in his 40s the 2 twenty-something runners appeared parallel to us walking on the grass.

I sort of feel like everyone is competing and they lack the camaraderie that running should cultivate. Sometimes I want to speed up and pass these temporary runners, but then I know that I will pay for it at the end of my run. I fight that urge and just keep up my normal pace. I try to console myself with the fact that despite seeing other runners when we run, none of them runs as long or as far as we do. I think all the runners we see, except for 1, runs 20 to 30 minutes at most. Suddenly, running 57 minutes doesn’t seem so shabby.

Do you get competitive with other runners? Do you ever have people see you and randomly start running?

“That was a really great run, right?” She said over and over…

Last night after our run I couldn’t stop repeating, “That was a really good run, right?” to my husband. I guess I was just so surprised at how well I ran, especially since before our run my hip started feeling irritated and it was hot outside.

I had come home from work and just laid down for an hour. My husband was at his computer. We just decompressed for a while from the day and waited for the sun to set and the hopefully cooler temperatures to kick-in. However, and this is the danger about coming home and not immediately going for a run, you start feeling like it would be nice to just stay home. On top of that feeling, my husband could not stop eating. He was having a hungry day when nothing seems to make you full – there were chocolate covered nuts, dates, pistachios, among other things that met their fate. As soon as it was sunset we convinced each other to lace up and go out for our run.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

I always start doubting myself if I haven’t been for a run in a while. The last time I ran was Friday I think so it had been a while. So, I was definitely not confident about the run. I thought maybe I’d have to stop early and then I started running through the most likely to the worst-case scenarios in my head. I am pretty good at doubting myself. Is there a medal for that? But, in fact running wasn’t that bad at all.

There was no wind and I could feel the humidity by the time we walked over to the park. I was annoyed, immediately, because it makes a run that much harder. We sat on a bench and arranged our watches and mp3 players and then as soon as we stood up the wind started to blow and wouldn’t you know that it didn’t stop the entire time we ran.

Sometimes the stars align and everything is in place and we have a great run. The first 19-minute interval flew by. I didn’t check the time until the 16th minute and that was just to see if we had run into the 3-minute walking interval. It was a great start to the run. Without the humidity our breathing was even and controlled and we didn’t look like we had just had a shower.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

The second interval was good, too. I wasn’t getting too tired and we were maintaining our pace. The sidewalks got a little crowded and at one point all our vision was obscured by the smokey-haze of barbecuing park-goers, which isn’t really fun to breathe through. But, I was happy to be running and looking at park cats and kittens as we ran past them. I didn’t even mind weaving around kids, cyclists, and families taking up the whole sidewalk.

We didn’t need to make the second walking break longer either. Three minutes was plenty. It’s been a while since we only walked for 3 minutes. So, we started again on the third and final interval and still it was good. I didn’t feel like I was in “the zone” or anything, but it was solid running. It probably would have been even better if my music playlist hadn’t finished 3 minutes before the end of the run. This meant I was fiddling with it and slowed down a little, because I was distracted. Because the screen is broken on my ipod and I can’t see what is going on in terms of menus, preferences, etc. I ended up running to classical music for the final few minutes. I guess I was going through a phase (short-lived) of trying to be fancy or something years ago when I put it on there originally. But, I was running well and even the weird choice of classical music couldn’t derail me from finishing it. I’m one of those people who needs upbeat tunes to run normally.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

And, for the couple hours we were still conscious last night post-run I just kept saying to my husband “That was a really good run, right?” I’m pretty sure he got annoyed saying, “Yes, it was a good run.”

The run was so good that my hubby said he could have done another 19-minute interval. Me – I’m not so ambitious. But, it felt like I could have run 3 intervals of 20 minutes quite easily last night. My husband definitely agreed. In fact, he said that if the weather was good next time he may push me to run with only one break. So in his mind we would do something like 2 intervals of 30 minutes with a 2 or 3-minute walking break. That doesn’t excite me so much, but this is why running with someone who is ambitious is such a good thing, even if it is a pain in the ass in the moment, they take you along with them.

After the run, my hip was a little stiff, but it didn’t bother me during the run. I iced it after and this morning it’s still stiff so I will do some stretches.

How often do you feel like you had a great run? 

Running Envy

So far this week I haven’t been able to run. My right hip has been painful so I have taken a few days off. And, at the suggestion of Allison over at invertedsneakers.wordpress.com I have started doing some yin yoga routines that she suggested on her blog. Hopefully, it will help my hip heal and I think it will, because if you don’t already check out Allison’s blog regularly you really should.  She is a running/yoga/all-round workout machine – and I say that with respect and awe. If I had half the energy and motivation she did I think I would be able to rule the world and come home and run my 8.5 km every night. 🙂  It’s for this reason that I am so glad I started blogging when my husband and I decided to get serious about losing weight by eating better and starting to run. I have engaged with so many inspiring runners and bloggers, and it is so nice to have a community of people who know what you are going through and offer advice.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

While I couldn’t run, my husband did lace up and go out for a run. When he has to run alone because I can’t it doesn’t always end well. Without me he has trouble pacing himself. He starts out too fast and poops out too early and can’t finish the run. He has a naturally faster pace than me. I’ve gradually gotten a little faster over time, but I still can’t go as fast as him.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

So, he went out on Monday night for a run. As he tells me, he continued our 3 intervals of running for 19 minutes. By the time he was 3 minutes from the end of the last interval he had already passed where we ended the run before and gone on another 200 meters. That’s when he stopped. So, he didn’t quite finish the interval, but he went farther than we had before. It was also hot that night and humid, which doesn’t make any run easy. So, I’m really proud of him for going out and running and then running farther and keeping a reasonable pace through the run.

I won’t lie. I’m jealous that he went running, while I was stuck at home on the sofa. Running envy is a new phenomenon for me, but I definitely got a taste of it.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

The good news is that my hip is feeling better today and the plan is to go run tonight. Maybe I’m a little cautious about running with discomfort/pain, but I feel that since I am still on the heavy-side for a runner I should be more careful so that I don’t seriously injure myself and can’t run for longer than a few days.

How serious does an injury have to be for you to stop running?