Last night, I was watching TV on the couch and feeling upset that I had made a crappy dinner (except for the grilled rosemary potatoes...delicious) that smoked out my whole apartment (poor doggies and Tucker). I looked outside about 8:30 p.m. and saw that there was still some light. I calculated how much time had passed since that awful dinner and said, "Screw it. I'm going running." What could go wrong with smoke in my lungs and a crappy dinner in my belly?
I quickly got dressed, did some light stretches, and put together my running belt (with ipod). I haven't been able to use my ipod, because Mal has been with me on all of my runs. However, this time, I would use it. I've been reading a lot of running articles (and a book) lately to help motivate me. Yesterday, I read an msn article (can't find it) about how ipods are being discouraged during a run, including New York trying to ban technology on the streets. For instance, you can't use your ipod when biking or running or text while walking across the street. For ipods, the danger is that you would be so distracted by the loud music, you wouldn't hear the car coming at you or the attacker waiting behind the tree. Well, I hope that my eyes would be on the lookout for the car and me heading in to a street with a car coming at me, but I get the attacker part. So, I put one headphone on and turned down the music so that I could hear outside noise, as well. This is something I learned with snowboarders. The other issue is that the fast tone of the music will get you so in to it, you will miss cues about what your body is trying to tell you (like that your knee is really hurting) and slower music might make you want to slow down, almost dragging.
My plan was to do a quick run around the loop (like what Mal and I did on Sunday), because it was getting darker every second. I also didn't want to really be on the streets at night alone even if I had my mace on my running belt. I set my musak to play all and walked to the stopsign where I picked up the light jog. My goals were to actually run the whole loop without stopping and if I can, work on form.
Another item that I am reading (mostly at night) is a book called Complete Book of Woman's Running.
I also wanted to work on my running form using the suggestions from the book. It says to keep your arms at 90 degrees, relax them, and don't have them above your chest (that I already knew thanks to Jillian). I had to be reminded about heel strikes and moving your foot forward. I also focused on my body. It suggests to keep your back straight, with just somewhat of a lean forward (not too much, because then you have bad form). I didn't quite understand the visual, but you are supposed to imagine that a helicopter is above you, dangling a hook at your forehead (or something). Now, you have to line up your body with the hook. Yeah, I didn't get it either, but I got the basic idea. Fixing my stride will have to come later once I get used to running a mile without stopping.
Even though it was still quite heated at 8:40 p.m., it was much more pleasant than my Sunday run during the daylight hours. I was alittle scared to run in this area by myself, but there were runners everywhere, running the same loop that I was running. Some of them were solos, some of their were pairs. And it made me feel good to be out there running instead of sitting on the couch wishing that I was running. What's great about my area is that I'm near the Medical Center, which is really quite pretty at night with the lights. So, it was a nice bit of a scenery for my run.
One thing I noticed was that all those runners I saw came from the other direction. I understood why when I got to the last stretch; there were hardly any lights. So, it's best to start in that direction (going left out of my complex) when it's still somewhat light and then end up on the other side where there are lots of lights to run in the dark. I will remember to go counter clockwise next time (not sure when that will be again).
I also tried to listen to my body during the run. When I got a heave in my breathe, I slowed down. I picked up the pace when I felt comfortable again. So, the music didn't hinder me in that way. Although, I did notice that when Nina Simone came on, I felt like slowing down. This prompted me to change the music...no big deal. I was also very aware of my surroundings, looking back every so often to make sure that the boogie man wouldn't get me (or Kavin's henchmen).
This turned out to be a great accomplishment run for me, because I ran all the way (without stopping) back to the stopsign where I started to run. I understand that night running has a lot to do with this accomplishment. I remembered being in high school and I was supposed to pass the running test (run a mile under 9 minutes) in order for me to be on the basketball team. I couldn't pass it (minimum of 13 minutes). So, my mom and I spent every night running the truck to prepare me for my next test. I could finish that mile in 7 minutes at dark, but I couldn't during the middle of the day in September. It was the heat. I just finished another article from Runner's World (this month is all about Half Marathons) about running in heat (will reference that in future posts). This guy ran the Hottest Half in Dallas (August) and barely could finish it, but it made him stronger when he tried to run in the East Coast during the summer months (what he originally thought was hot). I just need to get out there and run during the heat...easier said than done.
I walked back to the apartment complex with Kanya West's Golddigger playing. I decided to use this to my advantage (another good reason for ipod usage) by tightening my ab muscles and adding a shake to my walk (think Shakira). I was tired when I got done and a little sore, which worried me at first, because the book says that you shouldn't be sore immediately finishing a run. I realized this morning when I was doing my mini workout that the soreness was caused by the squats that I did the previous morning.
It was 9 p.m. exactly when I stopped running, which means that I didn't run a full 30 minutes (or hell, didn't walk 10 minutes), but it was something. I got back in to my apartment, finishing my workout at 9:04 p.m.
Also, on a side note, I did two sets of 25 squats, 30 front crunches, 30 side crunches (each side), 20 situps, and 20 pushups. I'm not good at pushups, mainly because it hurts my wrists. I need to find something better for an arm workout. Any suggestions?