Monday, June 7, 2010

Mental recovery, a few adventures, and I'm back!

Over the last few weeks I didn't get out to run that much. 4 miles here, 2 miles there, a slow 5K, and that was it. It was a bit of a physical and mental recovery, though, after my (fairly) steady training for 5 months before the half-marathon.

I had a few adventures in the past week and a half, including "The Skunk Run" and "The Dive-Bombing Bugs Run". The skunk run happened on a night when something snapped in me and I thought that I would go crazy if I didn't go for a run at that exact moment. The sun had already set, so I wore my reflective vest and carried a flashlight. It was the first time that I intentionally ran in the dark, and I have to admit that I was pretty scared the whole time. I ran on the road in my neighborhood, but the area is pretty heavily wooded, and I know that there are a lot of animals in those woods that I don't want to run into. Every time I heard a noise (probably just squirrels), I started talking to myself, hoping that the sound of my voice would scare whatever it was away. I was almost home when I started to relax a little. I saw a cute little bunny in the grass on my left and shined my flashlight on it, only to find that it was a skunk, NOT a cute little bunny. I shifted to the other side of the street and almost had a heart attack when it lifted its tail. I was at the base of a hill and sprinted up it so fast that I probably could have rivaled my high-school 100m record. When I got to the top, I was relieved to find myself not skunky. I don't think that I'm going to do much more night-time running in my neighborhood, though...

On Memorial Day my dad and I went kayaking in the morning, but I was getting the itch to run again, so I hit the trail in the afternoon. I wore a new pink sweatband and brought water and took it easy since it was hot and humid out. I was doing well for about half a mile when bugs started attacking my head. They'd fly in circles and dive-bomb, causing me to flail my arms wildly trying to swat them away. I'm sure it was quite the spectacle. After a little while of this, I realized that my cute new sweatband was probably the culprit. That had happened to me once before when I wore a red bandanna. When I took the bandanna off, the bugs left me alone. When I put it back on, they dive-bombed my head again. I haven't seen the movie Furry Vengeance, but I imagine that between the skunk and the bugs, I was experiencing my own real-life version of it.

I didn't know it at the time, but June 2nd was National Running Day. That must be why I was inexplicably drawn to the local high school track to run a few laps before dinner that day. I ran some errands and happened to be wearing athletic gear, and I just couldn't pass by without going to the track. I ran 6 laps and timed a few 400s. I realize that I don't have much of a concept of my pacing, and I would really like to do some more work on the track. I'm thinking of alternating between going to that track and the one near the library after work. It would keep things a little varied, and I think it would help me push myself to run at a harder intensity, which I have to do if I want to improve my speed.

I'm feeling more excited about running than I have since I finished the half-marathon last month. I'm working on putting together a training schedule to get me back in 5K shape and a list of races for the rest of the year. It should be fun!

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