I usually have one or two obsessions going on at once, and for now it seems to be running. So here is what I'm doing.
You'll note my last post before my blogging hiatus was about my first 5k. I started running using the Couch to 5k plan in the spring of 2010, with the goal (which seemed ambitious enough at the time) of completing the Geneseo Trio, three 5ks in our new hometown, that fall. I did them all, with my fastest time, 38:05, in the third. Anyone who runs knows this is not really that fast; I didn't run every step of the way, and I kind of bonked in the second of the three, which was on SUNY Geneseo's hilly campus on an unseasonably hot evening and only had one water stop (which itself is not unusual for a 5k, but it wasn't enough for that day and course). But I got a neat pint glass, filled it with beer, and felt good about myself.
I didn't keep up with running that winter - it was cold and there was always a bit of snow on the ground - and then I got pregnant and had a baby, so I went about a year without running at all. Justin encouraged me to start running again in SLC. We lived in a hilly part of a city which is right up against some big fat mountains. I contrived a route whose hard uphills were on the warmup and cooldowns and managed to cover about three miles a day, a couple times a week if I was diligent, without making myself go uphill. I did a couple of not very serious 5ks - one we walked as a family, one I (mostly) ran but on a course that ended up being short - and contemplated doing one of the various longer races down various canyons leading into SLC, but never got around to it.
And then we moved again, to DC.
I'm not sure what it is that made me decide at this point to get more serious. I asked Justin for a jogging stroller for Valentine's Day (BOB Revolution SE, love it) and started running a couple of days a week after I dropped Auletta off at school. For a few months I again contrived routes that were either downhill for a couple miles and then an uphill walk back (I figured as long as I was covering four or five miles I was entitled to run only two) or three miles down to Dupont Circle and the metro back home.
While visiting Justin's parents in Ithaca over spring break, I left the kids a couple of times and ran by myself, just slow, exploratory jaunts to, through, and back from Sapsucker Woods. I didn't go fast, but I realized I could go for an hour/4+ miles more or less without stopping, which I hadn't really done before. It wasn't particularly hilly, but I wasn't avoiding hills, either.
In May, I ran the Susan G. Komen 5k in DC, because why not, and 1. ran the whole thing 2. setting a PR of 34:57. Under 35 minutes! It was the first essentially flat race I'd done, but I started feeling like I could run longer distances without taking absolutely forever.
In June, I ran the PurpleStride (pancreatic cancer) 5k and, thanks to a crowd of 4,000 vs. 15,000 runners and possibly improved fitness over the course of a few weeks, finished in 32:39.
A week later, Auletta finished school and we headed to Ithaca again. I did a couple more runs by myself and got up before dawn one day to run 6+ flat miles at Cass Park, which is the farthest I've ever run; I did a two-mile loop three times and left a bottle of water and a couple of granola bars by the car for brief stops. (Note to self: granola bar really wasn't necessary until at least mile 4.) The next week, at Justin's family's house on Kerr Lake, I did 4.5 mile out-and-backs at the crack of dawn to avoid the sun and humidity as much as possible (which it isn't, really) and had the small but distinct pleasure of running across state lines, which might come in handy someday, who knows.
Since then I've gotten up at to run 6 AM or earlier a few days a week so I can leave the kids home with Justin before they wake up, and before the weather gets oppressive. I'm not avoiding hills anymore - they're hard to avoid in northwest DC, anyway. I am running up hills. I'm running the whole way. And I'm doing it for three, four, five miles at a time. I'm getting faster, not blazingly fast, but enough that I figure with a flat course and cooler weather I can probably pull a sub-30 5k sooner or later. I'm losing weight - which started happening as soon as we moved to DC, since I rarely drive anywhere except the grocery store these days, and which in turn is probably helping me run faster and longer. And while running still kicks my butt, I feel great the rest of the day.
I registered for two races this fall, the Navy 5-Miler and the Run for the Parks 10k. And I'm planning to do a half-marathon in the spring. I was looking over the comments on my blog from a few years ago and saw that I'd said when I first started running that walking 13 miles seemed easier to me than running three. Now three miles is a short run. This running stuff, it works.
A Coffee-Shaped Void
10 months ago