I just wanted to show up here to say: I ran my first confirmed 4-miler today. I suspect I may have run at least one, and possibly two, 4-milers while in Portland, but I'm not sure. The Nike running trail is 1.96 miles long, and I ran two laps plus a little bit, both times I used it. BUT...it is also confusing because there is more to the Nike trail than just the big loop: there are crosslinks, little side trails that seem to cut across something approximating the middle. I can't say for sure because there are no signs and no maps. Also, I wasn't wearing a watch. So maybe I ran 3 miles, maybe 4. I'm not sure. But today it was definitely at least 4 miles, and maybe more like 4.1 miles. More importantly, it was an awesome run. Perfect day for it: cool, overcast, and a little bit misty but not full-on rain.

I've been meaning to post about the urban hike/epic walk I took on Saturday. I left home at around lunchtime, maybe 1pm, and stopped at the PCC for some lunchy foodz. I hiked to upper Queen Anne via this super steep hill directly across from the Fremont Bridge. While up there, I bought buttons at Nancy's Sewing Basket, and poked around a couple of sidewalk sale tables. I hooked over to the beautiful park that overlooks the city and enjoyed my lunch while sitting on the steps, admiring the view, and mildly admonishing myself for having forgotten my camera. Then I walked down the steps and zig-zagged my way into and through lower Queen Anne, crossed Denny onto 1st Ave, and walked through Belltown. Eventually I went down to Western to see if I could locate So Much Yarn, a yarn shop that recently moved to that area from its former location on 1st Ave. Turns out it's in a secure office complex upstairs from Cost Plus. I bought more buttons, fondled many beautiful skeins of yarn, played with the two French bulldogs who belong to the store owner (I'm assuming), and shot the breeze with her and the other salesperson. From there I headed into the Pike Place Market and poked around a few stalls before becoming overwhelmed by the crush of dazed tourist bodies and finally realizing that that wasn't the right place for me to be on a Saturday. LOL. So I went up into the shopping district and meandered around for a bit; tried on some shoes (didn't buy any). Next I walked up Pike into Capitol Hill. By the time I crossed the 5 and Boren Ave. I was pretty thirsty, so I stopped into the new Victrola and got a nice blackberry Italian soda. I sat on their couch and enjoyed that for a bit while playing around with some knitting. Then I headed up to Broadway, bought some band-aids for the big blister I could feel forming on the top of my big toe (I was wearing sandals). By then I was starving, so I walked north on Broadway and got some Ethiopian food for dinner. After completely gorging myself on a vege combo, I headed north again, up Broadway, down 10th Ave. to Roanoke, through the little park, along side streets until I had to join up with Harvard Ave, across the University Bridge, up the Burke-Gilman for a little bit, then up to 40th St., over to the Aurora Ave. footbridge at 41st St., and home. I got home at about 9:30pm, and I was completely spent. I showered and went straight to bed, where I read myself to sleep.

Both of these "exercise experiences" contributed to a growing thing within me: a connection to myself, my own voice, and my place in the world that has eluded me for a few years. I hadn't exactly lost touch with this thing (to me, the list of 3 things are all aspects of the same thing, rather than separate things), it was more that...I didn't like the self I had become. I felt lost and aimless and stuck, along with a sense of despair about ever being able to "move" myself or accomplish anything in the world again. I believed that "my time" (whatever that means) had come and gone, and that the best I could hope for anymore was simply to make do, get by. It sounds pretty pathetic--and it's important to point out that these weren't the only things I felt; they were mixed with happiness and appreciation for various good things in my life. The point is that I hadn't completely lost touch with myself and my feelings, it's just that I didn't like myself, and I was feeling negative things. So being in touch with that was not affirming or energizing; it was depressing, even though it was honest. That is what I was feeling, how I saw myself and my prospects, and I think it was important to be in touch with that even though it was also depressing and discouraging. I'm just glad that I'm shifting away from that now, and that I have gotten to the point where...it no longer predominates. I feel good. Happy. Strong. Capable. Interested in things. Thankful for my life and my loved ones.
Haven't been here for awhile. No real reason why, just that I've been doing more "taking in" than "giving out" lately. Also I've been out of town on weekends and working on my dissertation on weekdays. This weekend I'm staying home while [livejournal.com profile] glaucon heads down to the Oregon Country Fair. I was going to go, but a) really can't afford it; and b) I would like to make use of a full weekend at home to put my things in order, get a little extra writing done on the diss, and spend some quality time with myself, doing things I really want to do. I plan to do a big long city hike of some sort tomorrow (Saturday), and on Sunday I'll be staying closer to home to catch up on laundry, put away the random stacks of books on my bookshelves, and generally tidy up my room and my life. Next weekend [livejournal.com profile] glaucon's sister, little brother, and sister's boyfriend will be in town for a visit. Then on Tuesday the 21st, I leave for 2 weeks in Michigan. My siblings and I are doing some sprucing up work on our parents' house, to get it ready to go on the market. Great time for that, eh? While in Michigan, I'll also be spending a day or two out at the cottage my sisters rent every summer: it's right on Lake Michigan. I might also be going to a high school reunion...but I still have some trepidations about that.

My running has been going really, really well. My legs feel great: strong and resilient. While in Portland for the 4th, the friends with whom we were staying pointed me toward the Nike corporate headquarters' running track, which is conveniently located across the street from their house. It's a nearly 2-mile woodchip-covered trail that circumnavigates the compound. A very nice running experience, save for the creepy statues that loom in the shadows. Once I figured out that they were inanimate objects, there for my edification, rather than stalkers standing off alongside the trail, I was relatively OK with them. My point is that I had the opportunity to keep up my running routine while out of town--and more importantly, that I availed myself of that opportunity. I got up somewhat early (8am--not too early) and ran both Saturday and Sunday. I've kept to my routine this week as well. The last few weeks have been a little test of my commitment, because I've just been running without a clear plan beyond simply maintaining mileage. I was initially planning to do this for 2 weeks, but I stretched it into 4 weeks. Despite feeling really good, I'm also being cautious. I'm afraid of getting sidelined with an injury again. Of course, I haven't completely abided by my "maintain mileage" agenda: I've been finding little ways to "sneak" extra challenges into my runs. On Tuesday I threw in a weird course change that added about 6 blocks to my usual "bread-n-butter" route, and also took me through some residential areas I've never really seen before, which was cool. Yesterday I did about the same thing, in a different direction, and ended up running about 4 extra blocks, 2 of which consisted of a killer uphill climb. My legs are actually a little achy today from that--LOL. On Sunday I'll jump headlong into the "challenge myself" pool by starting the marathontraining.com Mileage Build-Up Plan. Wish me luck!

Now...back to the book.
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w00t!

Jun. 15th, 2009 10:22 am
arguchik: (running)
I finished my 10-week "get off your butt and run" plan today! I'm very proud of myself for sticking with the plan and not trying to jump over the beginning and intermediate steps. My legs feel strong, resilient, and flexible! As is usually the case with me, my spirit/soul/psyche (whatever you want to call it) is following suit. I actually really like how interconnected my experiences of mind and body are. Sometimes it's a pain...like when I have pressing deadlines and try to make space in my schedule by skipping a couple of runs...which alwaysalwaysalways backfires. But mostly I think of this as one of my strengths.

Next up: 1 more week of running ~3 miles X4. (I'm actually running closer to 3.3 miles.) Then I'll increase my Sunday run to 4 miles (which conforms to the 10% rule) and do that for 2 weeks, then I'll start this 20-week mileage buildup plan. If all goes well with that, I will then start an actual marathon training plan.

Probably. Maybe. We'll see. I may decide that I don't want to run another marathon. I had a lot of fun running the first one, but I'm not big on the road racing. I've run a few, and the marathon was really the only one I really loved doing. My main goal right now is just to get myself up to running 25-30 miles per week--without getting injured!!!--which the above-linked mileage buildup plan hopefully will do. In my experience, that level of mileage is optimal for me, in terms of how I feel. Or...it was, 4-5 years ago. "Optimal" is obviously a variable, not a set point. So yeah, we'll see. It will be interesting to find out.
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I'm so happy with how my running routine is going that I'm starting to feel optimistic enough to set some longer (than 10 weeks) goals again. I'm into week 8 of the training plan I've been following, with no pain, no injuries, no feelings of running with cement globs hanging off my legs, etc. I feel great. Touch wood, please! After this week, only 2 weeks more before I have to move on to something else. I am leery of running sans plan, so I did some googling and found this 19-week plan for building mileage, preparatory to beginning a marathon training plan. (So it's a plan to train for a training plan, basically--so meta!) It looks really good--perfect, actually. Slow and steady, yet still challenging, with tangible goals: just what I need. I think I'm going to finish the plan I'm doing now (duh), then spend 2 weeks repeating week 10 just to make sure my body is really-really-really OK with it, and then move on to the aforelinked mileage building plan. We'll see how that goes. If it goes poorly, I'll just keep plugging away at whatever mileage I can do without hurting myself. If it goes well, I will move on to a bona fide marathon training plan at the end of that 19-20 weeks. And if that goes well, I think I will run the Capitol City Marathon next May. It looks like a really cool course, and has the added benefits of being relatively small and close to home, but still with good water and energy support on the course. (I like that they use Gu rather than PowerGel or any energy bar.)

Hmmmmmm. We'll see. I have other goals for the coming year that may interfere--this would definitely just be the frosting on the cake I'm trying to bake.

I'm not normally very much into running races--I don't much like the whole race mentality, and haven't run very many races since I ran track in high school. However, there is something about the marathon that is an enduring draw for me. I've only run one before--the Vermont City Marathon, Y2K edition (same year my divorce was final and I finished my M.A.), which I finished (officially) in 3:58:23. Ooooh, and check it out: my results are still available online! (Enter my name into the search engine: Sharon Crowley.) [It would be kinda fun to travel there to run it again next year...but I think I would prefer to stay closer to home. I do miss Vermont, though...and would love to do that race again.] I love the challenge of running that far, that long. I didn't do it--and I won't do it now--for the "race" aspect, but rather for the challenge and the accomplishment, the incredible feeling (at least partly biochemical, I know--hello, endorphin high!) of keeping my body going for that long, and exhausting it so thoroughly, using up every ounce of reserve energy. It's best to do that kind of endurance running with good support, in my experience. And frankly, it's fun to have a festival atmosphere in which to do it, too.

But mostly, I'm finding tremendous joy in setting a long-term goal. I have felt so...adrift, over the last couple of years. Lost. Stuck. Blocked. Anxious. Those feelings are easing now, and I feel like I'm re-learning how to drive my own life, run in my own body (rather than a "wishful" body), speak and write in my own voice. How to be happy. How to enjoy where and who I am while also, occasionally, looking toward good things in the future. I know it's a weird historical moment to be experiencing optimism; nevertheless, I am, and I'm grateful for it.
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Interval 1 (9 mins running): Kind of a slog, especially the first 5-6 minutes. I felt old and mildly decrepit.

Interval 2 (2 mins walking): Phew! Stretched my arms and upper back. Yawned a lot. Legs started to feel a little bit springier.

Interval 3 (9 mins running): Nice, even, and smooth, like I could keep going at this pace all damn day if I wanted to. I felt like a "real runner" again, for the first time in a couple of years. I run an out-and-back course, and usually turn around about midway through this interval; today I had to go an extra block beyond my usual turnaround point (which means I got to that point about a minute faster than usual).

Interval 4 (2 mins walking): Legs felt a little twitchy, like..."Why are we walking, again? Who's idea was this? Can I speak with the manager, please?"

Interval 5 (9 mins running): Pure play! Legs wanted to sprint and frolic. When I got to the end of this interval, it was hard to convince myself to walk the rest of the way home.

That concludes week 6 of the plan. Next week, I'll be doing 9 minute running intervals broken up by 1 minute walking intervals. I really, really like this plan. It allows me to focus on the running rather than my watch. I do best when I don't have gadgets intruding on my consciousness too often. But also, by emphasizing time spent running rather than distance covered, it seems to short-circuit my tendency to push myself "just a little bit further" than I ought to go.

I'm amazed at the difference it is making, in my body and my mind. I am starting to feel more gregarious again, less inhibited or anxious about socializing with people. Better still, I am feeling genuinely interested in, and excited by, my academic work again.

Now I'm off to shower, and then to Essential Bakery Cafe to meet Sarah for our Destination: Yarn jaunt.

Finish-itis

May. 12th, 2009 07:29 pm
arguchik: (running)
I've had finish-itis this week. I finished 2 pieces of knitting--a cardigan and a lace shawl--and bought blocking supplies from Home Despot on Saturday so I could wash and block them. I bought buttons on Sunday and sewed them on the cardigan yesterday (Monday) morning. I am almost done grading the student papers I received on Friday (w00t!).

Then today I had to seriously talk myself out of skipping straight to week 7 of the training plan I'm doing. At first it seemed reasonable, because the running intervals are the same length (9 minutes each), and it's only the walking intervals that are different (2 minutes for week 6; 1 minute for week 7). No. It's not reasonable. It's the way to hurt myself. I didn't do it. I just really want to get through this part of the "get my running legs back" program, and go straight to the part where I have my running legs back. No. There are no shortcuts. The only reasonable path is to take it one step at a time, while also paying attention to my body and taking care of it, treating it with kindness and patience rather than trying to force it into something it's not ready for.

But oh. The way my lungs feel. This is bringing a feeling of depth, peace, and openness to my chest that I have missed. I can breathe again, and I didn't even realize I'd been having trouble with that. And my legs. I can feel the blood flowing through them again. They are starting to feel stronger and more resilient, more playful and activity-inclined.

It's good.
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I'm sitting at the Fremont Coffee Company right now, ostensibly grading the last few papers I need to finish before tomorrow. I'm sitting next to a lovely photograph of rain droplets on spruce branches.

Today I started week 6 of the Runner's World First Steps program that I posted about a few days ago (I was in week 5 of the C-2-5k plan, so I just switched to week 5 of the RW-FS plan). This is a milestone for me because when I have tried to run the C-2-5k plan several different times in the past, I always seem to lose interest or get injured (because I try to run too fast, too early in the program) at around week 4 or 5. My running peters out, I take an unplanned month off, and then I have to start right back at square 1 when I get up the gumption to start again. It's fairly discouraging. This time...I'm making it through, and more importantly I know I will make it through, to the end of the plan and beyond. I can't explain how or why I know it, I just do. It feels good and right and true. I'm enjoying it so much; the gentle re-introduction plan seems to have enabled me to bypass the worst of the aches and pains that usually make the start of any exercise regimen so...well, achy and painful. I haven't felt anything that I would describe as "pain," only the good, mild ache of well-earned fatigue. A nice thing: I am slipping happily and naturally into a 4 day/week regimen, which I feel will be easy to transform over the summer into my ultimate goal of a 5 day/week regimen. Another nice thing: how my legs feel. I can feel them changing, getting stronger and more resilient, with each passing week. Actually, that's true of my whole body. It is soaking this up and asking for more. Oh, and...my clothes (especially my pants) are just barely starting to fit a little better, too. This is good because they were really getting too tight, and I can't afford to replace them.

That's about it for now. Back to work.
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Today, thanks to a friend who posted this on her blog, I learned about Runner's World's "First Steps" program. II like it much better than the CoolRunning Couch-to-5k plan because it's a lot more streamlined, and it has you do a workout 4 times per week instead of 3, which is also better IMO; or at least it has always worked out better for me, to run 4 or 5 days per week. Also, it has you running longer intervals sooner, more consistently. The CR plan throws in one longer interval per week, starting at week 5, but I feel like that's a bit too soon because the plan hasn't really trained your body to withstand that yet. The RW plan takes more time to get there, but I feel like it will build a better foundation first. Running far and well is all about having a good base.

So this week I'm going to switch, and I'll also add a day of running (probably on Saturday).

Today's run was wonderful, BTW. It felt smooth and even. Best of all, I could actually feel it doing its "thing" on my psyche, building my patience and reminding me how to let anxiety roll off. This is a hard thing for me, and running certainly isn't a panacea, but it is the best thing I've tried.
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Fast Sharon

Apr. 19th, 2009 11:06 pm
arguchik: (mongoose)
I had a wonderful run today. I kept it low and slow almost the whole time. I'm still alternating running and walking for a few more weeks yet; but I'm covering about 3.2 miles overall. Anyway, for the last half mile or so I couldn't resist pushing my pace a bit. My legs felt springy and desirous of speed. I couldn't very well deny them altogether, now, could I? It felt good...I was a little worried that "Fast Sharon" might not be in there anymore, that she might have let herself out while I was busy getting too old for this shit. But no, she's still there. She'll just require a more finessed coaxing than she used to, I think.

Mind you, she's not all that fast, objectively speaking. She...I...(whatever) do alright, but I'd never hold a candle to, say, Joan Benoit Samuelson or anything, so I should be clear that I don't mean to imply any such thing. No...by "Fast Sharon," I just mean...the fast version of me, the one who can get a bit of lead out when she's so inclined. The one who likes to be able to, every now and then.
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Running

Apr. 14th, 2009 07:56 pm
arguchik: (running)
On my run today, I think I figured out why I've had problems with a couple of different kinds of tendinitis in my life (primarily since my mid-30's): it is incredibly difficult for me to make myself run as slowly as I ought. I love running so much, I just want to open it up and go.

After a few weeks of fits and starts, I've been following this Couch-to-5K plan pretty well. Sort of. I'm following the principle of it, i.e. to start out running and walking in equal, alternating, short intervals of 1-2 minutes, and then to gradually increase the time spent running. Train 3 days per week, etc. Anyway, it's a good plan. The best thing about it is that it has gentleness built right in. But still, during my running intervals I have to constantly remind myself to slow down, and to stop running and start walking at the end of the interval. I don't want to. I want to run fast and long. But my leg muscles and bones and assorted connective tissues aren't ready for that yet.

What I really want is to be in the kind of shape I was in a few years ago. Correcting for the fact that I'm older, of course. This desire is dangerous and ultimately self-destructive, or at least counterproductive, because it leads me to push myself too hard, too far, too fast, and that's how I get injured.

What I have to convince myself to want is simply to be in better shape than I am now, and not to worry about where I was a few years ago, or where I'll be in a year or a few years from now. My therapist likes the phrase "Live in the moment." I like that phrase, too.

Run in the moment.

I guess the plan is helping me with that. I enjoy the workouts tremendously, in and of themselves. It's easier, what with all the flowering trees and shrubs and regular flowers I get to see along my route. I've been trying to make a game out of using my running watch--see how close to the exact minute marks I can get without going over, try to predict where I'll be when the clock tells me to switch from running to walking or back again, etc. This is weird for me, because I generally don't like using any kind of gadget when I run (this includes my i-Pod), but it's easier to keep track of time than distance with this plan because it changes every week, and eventually the intervals get all mixed up and crazy, so...watch it is. The rest of the time I like to think about things, plan things, figure things out. Reassure myself. Breathe my way out of anxiety.

Oh, and my hair is now long enough for pigtails. It has been for awhile, but they actually look cute now. So...I'm a runner and a 42 year old wearer of pigtails. :-)

In other news, yesterday I finally used my 5 song credits that the i-Tunes people gave me for some weird glitch that happened when I migrated my music to my new computer. I've had them (both the computer and the credits) for a couple of years. I bought 5 different recordings of "All Along the Watchtower." Unfortunately not including Bear McCreary's, which doesn't seem to be available on i-Tunes. I got one by Jimi, one by Dylan, one by U2, one by the Indigo Girls, and one by XTC. I was surprised at how many different people have covered this song, some of them multiple times. I'm curious to compare them.
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LOL. check out this youtube video. it's kind of a smarmy ad implying that if you run a marathon you will have a good, strong, and healthy heart, which isn't necessarily true. it's a lot more complicated than that. just ask jim fixx or ryan shay... they haven't determined the cause of death for shay yet, of course, but my money's on his heart. which isn't to say that running caused either of these mens' deaths, and there is an argument to be made that fixx, anyway, lived longer than he probably would have if he hadn't started running at 35 (his father had died of a heart attack at 42, and fixx lived to be 52, so...), only that running didn't ensure heart health.

anyway, with disclaimers, this video is funny. this is exactly what i probably looked like, the day after i ran the vermont city marathon back in 2000. i especially love the guy at the end, after the logo-flash. (i guess they had to use a guy for that one...) ganked from [livejournal.com profile] runners:



edited to add, for your listening and viewing pleasure, my favorite band from high school:

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morning run

Jul. 12th, 2007 05:47 pm
arguchik: (dog tracks)
i have been getting up early to run lately--5:15-5:30am. it's cool to run early because it's...well...cool. and there's very little traffic (though more than one might suspect).

my running route takes me past the zoo's south and west entrances, and this morning i could hear the peacocks calling. such a dreamy, eerie sound. there's nothing like it.

and on my way back homeward, i saw something one almost never sees: fledgling crows, being guarded and fed by their parents. think about it. when was the last time you saw a baby crow, or even a crow that was obviously younger than its companions?

there's a reason for this: crows are quiet and secretive around their nests, and the babies don't leave the nest until they have most of their feathers.
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running log

May. 12th, 2007 09:30 am
arguchik: (dog tracks)
running log behind cut--new weekly format! )
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fyi

May. 6th, 2007 04:36 pm
arguchik: (dog tracks)
i've decided to post my running logs weekly instead of daily. i've thought about making this change before, and just decided today that it really does seem like a better idea to me. so i'll accumulate my running posts throughout the week, as a single draft, then post the whole shebang every saturday (which is where i mark the end of my mileage week).

today i'm feeling vaguely depressed. i can't figure out exactly why, and i can't seem to talk about it with anyone. audible language keeps getting all tangled up somewhere in the vicinity of my bronchia. the more i try to untangle the mess and utter actual words, the less sense i make. hopefully that's temporary.

instead of continuing to rip at that knot, i'm going to go dig in the dirt for awhile--i have 2 plants that need repotting. perhaps the knot will relent as i busy myself with caring for another living thing for awhile. after the repotting, i'm going running. you'll be able to read about that, should you so desire, next saturday.
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running log

May. 5th, 2007 08:41 pm
arguchik: (mongoose)
i ran 4 miles this evening. it wasn't a bad run, overall. my legs felt a little disorganized and jumpy at first, but settled into a decent rhythm within about the first mile. at about the halfway mark i felt an irresistible urge to jump up and touch branches. today was the first time i've given in to that urge. i got a couple of funny looks from the saturday night 74th street pub crowd, but fuck it.

so i'm finishing this week at 17 miles, and i ran 5 days out of the 7, which means i met both of my goals for the week.

MxM, now pass the beer! :-D
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running log

May. 4th, 2007 03:44 pm
arguchik: (dog tracks)
yay! ran 3 miles this afternoon. that puts me at 13 miles for the week. today's run felt OK. not great, not bad. my legs were a little mopey--not exactly a slog, but not a breeze either. probably because the last 3 weeks have been so low-mileage. it was still fun, though, and i feel great, post-run and post-stretch.

now that i'm over 40, it's harder to get into shape, and harder to stay there. i try not to focus on that, though; much better to simply enjoy each run, each mile, each step as i take it.

MxM
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running log

May. 2nd, 2007 07:47 am
arguchik: (dog tracks)
yay! i ran 4 miles this morning. weekly running routine is back on track. i'm now at 10 miles for this week. this morning's weather was cool, wet but not raining, and overcast. the run felt amazing, like i could keep going forever.
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running log

May. 1st, 2007 08:42 am
arguchik: (dog tracks)
ran 3 miles this morning, so i'm at 6 for the week. today's run felt awesome--but too short! my legs wanted to run further and faster than i let them. i love that feeling.

happy may day, everyone (by which i mean international labor day)!

MxM
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running log

Apr. 30th, 2007 08:06 am
arguchik: (dog tracks)
i ran 3 miles yesterday--forgot to log it. i'm at 3 for the week. today's a regularly scheduled rest day. my goal for this week is to stay on schedule! if i do, i'll put in 17 miles this week.

the work week starts today. this week should be much quieter than last week. gotta go grocery shopping on my way home tonight--i have nothing in the house to eat! i'll have to stop somewhere to get some breakfast...
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running log

Apr. 28th, 2007 10:38 am
arguchik: (mongoose)
ran 3 miles this morning, from [livejournal.com profile] evernanon and D's house in ballard, where i'm dog/bunny/bird sitting (if you guys are reading, so far everything's great--billy ate ALL of his pellets and salad last night, and he's been munching on pellets this morning, though he's sleeping now. the birds are chirping. ionesco is funny--came over to get his tummy rubbed while i was doing some floor stretches post-run. he's such a cool dog!). it was a lovely run, very nice morning--ballard is so quiet. i'm finishing this week at only 9 miles. this week i ran sunday, tuesday, and today. wednesday's run was sidelined because of student conferences; and thursday i had even more conferences, followed by a meeting with my advisor that precluded running in the evening. i don't know what happened yesterday. i vegged with a novel all day and just didn't feel like running. meh. i'm just not going to beat myself up over it. the mileage will come...
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