Couch to Tur-K

Today is Thanksgiving. There are some mixed notions about the origins of the day, to be sure. But, it is a day that’s worth stopping and being grateful for things.

I am grateful to live in a runner-friendly area–and to have a beautiful track on which to run. I am grateful to be healthy enough to attempt running. I am grateful for supportive and knowledgeable friends, who have helped me get a start on the road.

I am grateful that someone took the time to invent a program that gets you off the couch and running a 5k in 9 (ish) weeks; and that other thoughtful people programmed it for my phone.

Grateful also for my ability to run tomorrow, and work off some of the vast quantities of food I am consuming today. And, a little grateful that the program will be over tomorrow.

Thanksgiving at the Trolls

Thanksgiving at the Trolls (Photo credit: martha_chapa95)

 

Thanks for reading, everyone.

New England Weather

In the glare of the streetlight, I could see the rain pouring down in small-beaded, thin sheets. I stood on the porch for just a few seconds as I tried to reconcile the information both my skin and my phone were telling me. It was 51 degrees outside.

I attempted to hold the door from slamming shut, and possibly disturbing my sleeping neighbors and roommate. Despite being worlds warmer than Monday, I knew the run would not be the same lovely weather I had had up until now. Over the thunk of my radiator, I did briefly hear a plaintive call about warmth and lonely sheets from my bed.

November in New England brings out a degree of hypocrisy in some of us locals: On the one hand, when the snow starts falling, grizzled veterans of blizzards past make an anthem of the Twain joke, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait five minutes;” on the other, as soon as non-natives leave the room, we whinge to our neighbors of our shock that the temperature is falling–as it does every year.

Shoes snug against my feet, and a light rain jacket slipped on mostly to shield my phone from the rising damp, I set out. Pause beneath my awning for a moment’s indecision about parking upon my return, then start walking toward Chestnut Hill Reservoir. The walk is wet, puddles and pours deposit a small pool around my toes through the light mesh front of my shoe–usually a blessing, when I start to heat up.

I scan the horizon of the track, It is shortly before 7 a.m., and from the street level below, it appears that I have the place to myself. I appear to be the only idiot out in this weather at this hour. As I stretch, I begin to wonder if there’s something other people know about days like today, and whether it’s a lesson I am about to learn with difficulty.

As I near the halfway mark, my shirt is soaked through the front, where it is open. I have no idea whether it is sweat or rain. Drips collect on my glasses, and I am nearly blind at times while I scour the track’s surface for some softer ground. My right foot is aching with each step, and each of the softer grassy strips I rely on for relief is slightly buried beneath some standing water. As are large portions of the track.

I negotiate my right arm out of my jacket after reversing direction at the halfway mark. I have either sweated it to the point of stickiness, or the rain has soaked through a jacket I picked for its supposed waterproofing. I can’t tell, as it is cold and wet either way. I bunch it up, leaving it on my left arm to again, try and protect the phone in its TuneBelt–the coat eventually slips, and I hope the arm band is sufficient to keep water out of my second brain.

A half-hour of solid running. I nearly give up a couple of times, my clothes sodden and the wind buffeting me from all directions along the course. I push through, smile at a passing runner in the other direction, and decide–at False Corner Cove–that I can make it. I won’t let that cove trick me this time, and I will make it back to the starting line.

My right leg–ever the troublemaker–begins to ache more. I feel my pace is trailing down from a jog to a limp.

“Malfunction imminent,” I say, because sometimes I think of myself as a robot. “Come on. Just have to squeeze another half-mile or so out of this jalopy. Then we can go home. We can make it.”

I try to pick myself back up to a lope.

Eventually, a half-dozen or so yards from the point I started, the phone tells me I am done. I have lost about .03 miles from my run Monday, which I am happy to blame on the weather. A moment of reflection hits me, as I realize how far I have come in 11 weeks (nine, plus the two I repeated because I wasn’t satisfied with my performance): I went from knowing nothing about running, to being a little disappointed I have lost time over a previous run. I have gone from being winded after 30 or so seconds at an elevated pace, to putting 2.5 miles over 30 minutes behind me and breaking more than a little sweat.

Tired, wet, but victorious, I crest the wave that is C25k’s final week. I am nearly done.

I can’t help myself but hope Friday is warm and clear…

Shin Status: Clear Malfunction with Turkey Input
Shirt of the Day: Portal 2’s Space Core floating past a NASA insignia look-alike that reads ‘SPACE,’ black, soaking windbreaker.

(Fun fact, I have heard that NASA refers to their circular logo internally as “The Meatball.”)

Slow Liquids

Although the track is nearly deserted when I get to it this morning, there are three people and a dog passing each other where I am when the run starts. This makes me want to start strong and fast as I slip between the human and canine obstacles.

After a few seconds, I regret that. The cold air starts to gather in my lungs, and feels thick and cloying. I feel a little like I am drowning, not because of a lack of air, but because of its temperature. My phone tells me it was 19 F when I left my house that morning. I feel like my legs are moving sluggishly, and the rest of my body is pouring over the curves like slush.

Driving to the track–heated seats cranked–was a compromise with myself to go out and run. The microfleece shirt, sleeves rolled up and down, hat coming on and off, as my body temperature first peaked, then fluctuated with the biting winds hitting different parts of my sweating body.

The other day, I said I wanted to go faster. With how cold I am, I feel like that may have been too much to ask of myself.

Ask, and I shall deliver.

I wanted to go faster, and I shaved about a minute off of my average speed, in minutes per mile. I also somewhere along the way turned into one of those people who discusses his statistics in public.

The 30-minute run that starts off the final week of my C25k plan took me a little over 2.5 miles. Both the longest sustained physical activity, and the furthest I have ever run. A statement I feel I have made a lot, and considering the way running programs are supposed to work, kind of an obvious statement.

It still baffles me. If there is one theme of my story, it is surprise at my own capabilities.

The confidence in my ability is starting to spread into other areas of my life, as I am becoming more comfortable with my identity as a runner. This blog, and the running, are things people have started asking me about–and things I bring up in conversation.

It occurred to me the other night, and I commented to my roommate, that the High School version of me and my current self would probably not get along–and that not only am I now a runner, I am kind of enjoying it.

Shin Status: So. So. So tired.
Shirt of the Day: Atari Entertainment Systems

For Just a Little More

The laces felt tighter, my heels slipping less against the mouth of the shoes. Socks seemed to be staying put. Even the mid-afternoon wind was a cool, but not cold breeze. Everything seemed right for my third 28-minute run of the week. I stretched out, and wandered toward the starting point of the trail. The sun was starting its descent, the skies starting to fill with light oranges and pinks.

As the run progressed, the sky grew darker. Even at 4 p.m. Boston is in the midst of the Post-Daylight Savings Shift Period, a time period where New Englanders are still amazed by how dark early everything gets after daylight savings time. It happens every year, yet it still hits us anew.

The new shoes, not slipping, also seem to have improved my speed–as has realizing I am capable of it. Somewhere around two weeks ago, I went from a little over 13-minute miles to a little under 12.

The drive to give up hits less hard each time. If I could do 28 minutes twice this week, what’s one more? The evidence of my ability to do this is piling up, and the self-doubt seems to have less of a leg to contradict me with. I know I can do this. I am even starting to compete with myself–can I make it further than last time?

The counting is now a habit of the past. I judge my distance more by roughly quarters of the track. I try to map the track in my head–a la Mario Kart 64–and place checkpoints. I know my run will take me almost one and a half times around the track.

The sun is down by the time I complete my first lap. I check my watch. Almost 8 more minutes to go.

I still have three minutes when I hit the next nearest quarter. I also find I still have some energy to expend. I kick myself into a higher gear. I am no longer jogging. I am running. The wind is in my hair, I am leaving people behind me, and I am further than I made it on Monday by the time I stop. I wonder how fast I am going. And how much longer I have to run.

Next week, I must go faster.

Shin Status: That All You Got?
Shirt of the Day: Jake riding in a sewn-on breast pocket–Adventure Time!

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Clopening

Even with the sun setting, and the track obscured almost entirely in the evening gloom, Monday’s run was wonderful. Despite being closer to 6 p.m., the Reservoir was lit only by streetlights and passing cars. The weather was a calm, cool evening with a light, but warm breeze. It has been unseasonably warm in Boston, for November, and Monday definitely was no exception.

The run itself, later than I had planned, but still great. I felt like I made it to the track faster in the new shoes. My feet felt better–although the right still felt some pains after a while. I felt like I had accomplished something, and then met two friends, whose beards I was able to pick out in the late night dark of the track. We walked and talked, my phone quietly telling me I had finished my cool down interval, and then we parted ways.

Wednesday, on the other hand. 

I grumbled to life as the alarm, sat on my desk across the room, beeped at me to wake up. I had a long day, and was following up a long day. 6:15 a.m., I was dragging my feet to the floor. Muttering obscenities about the 30 degree temperatures outside, I found some gloves, the microfleece shirt, and a hat.

I met a neighbor coming down the stairs, and remarked that the cold was making me regret my desire for exercise. I made a similar comment to the cute girl at the bank later in the day, which killed the conversation for a moment. She may not have guessed I was joking. I got outside and immediately missed my bed.

I was halfway down Sutherland Street when my sock started riding down. I stopped to fish it out, my semi-gloved fingers clumsily trying to fiddle with, and then giving up on the knot. Two more stops, I try switching the socks, which gets me as far as the track. I sit down on a bench in the warm up area, next to a woman of Asian descent rhythmically hitting her calves. I pay her no mind and tighten my shoes, then stretch. The socks immediately start riding down as I hit the track, but seem to stop once I start running.

Day 2 of week 8, another 28-minute run, completed with no real incidents. Right foot pain, but nothing particularly exciting to report.

Tuesday, found me zipping downtown to one of my jobs in the morning, and closing that store in the early evening, and then catching a train to the other job in order to close it. Wednesday had the same schedule, but longer hours. By the end of the day, Fitbit tells me, that between the run and my two jobs, I have put in 12 miles in the day.

The late night dinner I make myself is terrible for me, but feels so well-deserved.

Shin Status: Malfunction.
Shirt of the Day: Spanakopita, via The Venture Bros.

Stand By, You Will Be Upgraded

 

 

 

I have mentioned in a few of my previous posts that the cheap Target running shoes served me well, but have seem to have run their course (pun intended). As I run in them now, before I reach the halfway point, I start to feel some pain in my arches, where the Dr. Scholls inserts are probably providing me with more arch support than I need.

Thus, I turned to the New Balance Factory Outlet in Allston to provide me not only with a new pair of kicks, but with some expert advice from people who actually know what they’re talking about. I.e., not me randomly picking out a pair of shoes in a department store.

A friend of mine and I wandered down over the weekend. I tried on a few pairs, including ones which looked like they ’90s had been distilled into comfortable footwear: Neon oranges, day-glow yellows, lime greens, and other colors pilfered directly from Lisa Frank‘s palette. I tried them on, mostly because they were ridiculous. They were comfortable, but the salesman steered me away from those and to a shop floor selection with more heel support.

Before:

2013-11-18 17.18.54

After:

2013-11-18 17.19.13

While I did get the sense I was being upsold a pair at $60 more, I actually liked the cheaper pair more. Unfortunately, they did not have the color scheme I really like (I am a sucker for red), thus I went for this tiger stripe-esque look.

I figure it will be like Tony the Tiger telling me how “Grrrrreat!” I am whenever I hit the track.

 

Based on my well-intended, but by-my-own-admission, faulty understanding of sports. I felt it best to retire the shoes in a way befitting most athletes. They are now hanging from the rafters here at Unsure Runner HQ.

2013-11-18 17.21.51

… at least until my roommate tells me to take them down.

 

(About to take my Monday run, a 28-minute jog according to my C25k app. Also new for this run: tracking by a Fitbit, which I purchased mostly because my mother went and got one last week. According to it, I have already been super active–the run is going to take me even further.)

 

All Downhill From Here

As I approached the track, I began thinking about my previous two runs. Day 3 of the Couch to 5k program’s Week 7 is another 25-minute straight run. Prior to last week, the longest I can say I have ever run in one go. It takes me a little shy of two miles, or one full length around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir track, and a little ways back to the entrance.

I started thinking about the pattern that seemed to be emerging: I start the run, I dread the distance I have left, I start to feel tired and ache, I start telling myself I can give up when I’m halfway, I make it halfway and keep going, I eventually let myself find out how much longer I have to run, I hit my starting point, I hit the trail to the back entrance, and I see how far I get before the timer stops me.

As the five minute warm up ended, I tried to spy my starting point. With a rough idea of where it is in my head, I started around the track. I hit the point where I had really started dreading it, and nothing. I was still going, and going strong. 

I hit the ache point, and kept past it. Decided to run on the grass for a few minutes to try and get some more time before my feet really complain. Nothing. I kept up the pace. I start thinking about one of my two jobs, and a rough idea I am developing.

I approach the halfway point, and have no desire to stop. I pass the pump houses, the second of which marks the two-thirds point. I coolly keep running without checking the time on my phone, strapped to my upper left arm.

I hit the home stretch which takes me back to the starting point. I am more baffled by the woman who stopped at the edge of the track and began doing theatrical squats, complete with raised arms. I wonder if she is praying in what I understand is the Muslim fashion, or doing some form of Yoga I had not previously encountered. I realize that I am staring, but feel a little justified as it is from curiosity, and not judgement. I want to understand, but I have more pressing things. 

I pass the start point. I allow myself to check the time, in part because I want to see if I will beat my record.

I hit the steps on the trail. My knee feels shaky at the top, but I don’t slow down this time. I keep heading up the trail.

Finally, I approach the lowered section of path where my runs end. I wonder whether my pace was fast enough to get further than I did on Wednesday. 

“Slow to an easy pace to cool down.”

I haven’t even hit the lowered section. I made it further on Monday. But, I still have energy, which is unusual. I consider running a little extra on the way home. In the end, I just walk quietly, as I know I have a long day of retail ahead of me. 

And so, week 7 ends. Not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with energy still to expend.

Shin Status: Looking forward to new shoes
Shirt of the Day: Runaway Bros/Five. 

It’s Cold. Hoth Cold.

As the wind sinks its teeth into my cheeks, I start to understand why poets always describe the winter cold with words like “biting.” I curse myself for not wearing a hat, as the below-30-degree weather gives me a cold headache. As I turn the corner past my liquor store of choice, I notice a sickly yellow trail that looks like the aftermath of a college freshman’s first party seems to have run down the street. I am so baffled by that that I don’t notice the white starting to cover the sidewalk in front of me.

It is cold enough for ice. It is far too early in the morning for this crap.

Again, facing a long day, I have opted for an early morning run. As I walk up Beacon Street toward the reservoir, I notice the far bank is bathed in a salmon light, as the last tinges of sunrise fade away. I was awake before my alarm, when it was still dark, due to a constant struggle between my body and brain. The former likes to wake me up for visits to the bathroom in the middle of the night, the latter likes to stay awake because there’s so much crap to think about!

The alarm was set for 6:15 a.m., and I was up a little after 5:30. I felt justified being grumpy, but with the sky such a pretty color, it was starting to challenge that feeling.

A minute or two of awkward stretching is followed by the start of the run. I know to expect the 25-minute run, although I quickly check that I haven’t got a longer run cued up. I start the five-minute warm up walk, which I feel I have time for this morning; annoyed as I am at the whims of my carcass, the early start did get me out of bed and ready faster.

“I come today armed with the knowledge that I can do this. I’ve done it before,” I say aloud.

Realizing I said it a bit louder than I meant to, and feeling a little self-conscious, I look around to make sure no one overheard my inspirational address to myself. The couple of small ducks swimming past didn’t seem to mind the crazy man’s external inner monologue, and the familiar vibration on my arm signaling the start of my run prevents me from really worrying about it.

I start my run. The track around the reservoir begins to take on its daunting sense of scale, a moment that is familiar to me. With the first moment of my legs starting to burn, I also start to see the whole track laid out before me, knowing I have just begun. I press on.

After a few minutes, I round the curve where my phone used to tell me I was halfway through the workout. I fight off the urge to check how much longer I have to run. I am keeping an eye, and one foot–my right, which starts aching first–on the grass wherever possible. I reflect on how much skipping the stretches and starting the run as I cross Chestnut Hill Avenue sets me back on the path. The new “halfway point” is at least a quarter of a mile further.

I start telling myself I can take a break when I hit the halfway mark. I try not to let on that I am lying, and that I intend to make it all the way again. But, for now, I buy it, and keep going past the smaller of the two pump houses. The halfway reminder buzzes in. I ignore it and keep pushing to the next marker in my head.

As I approach the larger pump house at the top of the stairs, I tell myself that I can take a look at the timer again. I let that slide, however. I already know I’m about two-thirds of the way around.

I round the bend where my warm up walk started. I am curious, still about how much longer, but I will wait until I cross my starting line (estimated). I already expect I will follow the same path, with the short trail leading up to the street that connects Beacon to Comm Ave in front of Boston College. When I pass the starting line, I still have about three minutes to go.

I roll my sleeves up again. I have been regulating my temperature relatively well this morning: the cool breeze in the shaded sections is a little too much, but the navy in my microfleece shirt picks up the sun on the brighter stretches. The convertible mittens have been folded back to reveal fingerless gloves, and then flipped back for warmth more than a few times.

I jog up the four stone steps, almost slowing to a walk at the top one. I keep up the pace, stepping over the small roots and over the uneven surface of the worn path. I am not certain whether this was meant to be a path, or it just became one. I hit the top, cross the crosswalk–to put both screaming feet back on the softer ground as fast as I can–and start around the path.

On Monday, when I finished, it was a few steps down a divot where the sidewalk dips below a bank of parking spaces. I hit that point. The phone doesn’t tell me to stop. I keep going, past the nadir of this section of path, and it doesn’t stop. Finally, it lets me stop, and I slow to a cool down pace.

I have apparently run just slightly faster than my Monday run.

I wipe the dew of sweat which has bubbled up on my microfleece-covered chest. I zip up the neck and prepare for a long walk home.

Breakfast, a cup of tea and a warm shower are three things my body and I agree upon as the wind whips around me, chewing again as my body temperature lowers to a more restive state.

Shin Status:
Shirt of the Day: “Sorry Glenn, the only Beck I listen to has two turntables and a microphone,” under a navy microfleece I found in my closet.

Talking Myself Into It

The low stone wall is warm to the touch–warmer than I expect it to be, with temperatures in the high 40s (F). This is good, as I left my gloves behind. I place both of my hands on it, and push my legs out in a way that I sincerely hope will stretch my limbs out in a way that will make me run longer. I contort my body into another position, holding myself upright against a tree, mimicking people I have seen stretching here at the track and online.

Before setting off, I sink into a squat, looking out over a plot of land where a few days ago I watched a man with a dozen or so thick, metal bangles practicing some kind of martial arts routine. Knowingly trying to deflect some of my own self-consciousness, I think to myself, this must be where the idiots start their routines. 

I walk past the ghost of the clinking martial artist and start up the running app. The pop-up that details my run looks suspiciously small. I do a double-take. It can’t possibly say a five-minute warm up, then 25 minutes running, followed by a five-minute cool down.

Slightly panicked, I back out to the run selection menu. I did tap the right icon. I am expected to do 25 minutes. Daunted, and a little glad I hadn’t checked first, I start to the track. It occurs to me that my shirt, with its full-front design, will probably make me sweat profusely. It is too late to fix that.

I start counting, but lose my place after just a few seconds. I try to focus on anything but my legs. I have 25-minutes to fill. I am, I think, somewhere around 5 minutes since I started. I know I will make it at least once all the way around the track. I start listing some of the reasons I am trying this in the first place. Reasons like losing weight, lowering my blood pressure, impressing the various ladies I have attempted to woo (with varying degrees of success), writing this blog (it is actually kind of fun), proving to myself that I can do it.

As I near the point where my phone used to tell me I was halfway, it strikes me as odd. About two months ago, I was winded at this point. I was struggling, but I knew I was cresting the hump. Today, I am nowhere near that. In a couple of minutes, I will check the time on my phone, which will tell me I am nearly a third of the way around.

The drive to give-up starts creeping in a couple of minutes after that. I start telling myself I can give up after 8 minutes. My feet are aching–the arch support in my shoes is digging into my arches. At some point, I will likely need some new shoes. I would be disappointed. I could re-do this week, though. I would prefer not to, but I could do it.

The halfway point comes and goes. I keep going. The worst is behind me, I think. I shift onto the grassy part, hoping to get some relief for my feet. A brick structure is ahead of me, part of what used to be the pumping system here at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. I can keep going. I know I can keep going.

As I approach the pump house (I think it’s a pump house), I tell myself I can check my timing again once I hit that. I step onto the stone set near the middle of the structure. I’ll check when I get to the other side of the building.

“We can do it. We did 22 minutes last week. What’s three more?” I ask myself. “We got this.”

As I turn get closer, I start to wonder whether the snoozing hipster I saw when I started is still there. Or whether the Ron Jeremy lookalike is still sitting on the bench with his Rhea Pearlman doppelganger. My legs are still burning, my feet are still aching. Neither is still there. I am starting to ignore the feet. I am turning the corner, and nearing the point where I started.

I have three minutes to go when I check. I think that will get me to the stairs up to the road on the far side from where I enter the park. I keep at it. I am covering ground I have already passed. As I round the next bend–the one that keeps fooling me from the other direction–I think I still have some time to go. I debate going up those stairs, onto a short trail that leads me onto a back street. I could also keep running further from my route home.

In a brief fit of madness, I head up the trail. I have lost track of my legs. They are simply going at this point. I assume they are still attached because I have not yet collapsed.

I have ten seconds left. I hit some concrete. I keep going, counting down to myself. Leaves on the path seem to be dry, but I still feel my steps getting more cautious as I hit them. As my foot hits a point where the ground is obscured by leaves, I hear “slow to an easy pace to cool down.”

I do. I nod at a man passing the other way. I keep walking back toward my house.

Again, I have surprised myself. I start thinking that the rest of the week can only get easier. I pass the lookout where I snapped a photo a couple of weeks ago. A man is resting against the stone bench, looking over the water. I don’t need to stop. I already know what that looks like. I have a different sense of beauty welling inside me: a little self-pride.

Shin Status: Proud
Shirt of the Day: The Tenth Doctor Costume Tee. A shirt that looks like the clothes of David Tennant’s lead in “Doctor Who.”

Sense of Self

As I round a bend on the far side of the reservoir, my phone finally tells me I am halfway through my track. The sun hangs low, lighting the path in front of me. My feet are aching as I step onto the thin strip of grass between me and the bank of the water. My legs are burning, and which is staving off the chill in the air. I tell myself to push through and to keep going for at least a little while longer. I have already made it further than I had last week. However, not making it through the 22-minute run that makes up week 6, day 3 of my C25k program would be kind of a disappointment–I have already given myself one mulligan.

This is the same bend that threw me for a loop on my last reverse-course run, and it manages to do it again for a moment. There are three bends, and I always think the one I am on is the last. I start thinking that the last time I pulled off a 20-minute run, I had driven to the track first. Perhaps I had saved some of my energy in doing that, and this would be impossible because I walked today.

The phone starts to ring. It’s my mother, who hears the panting breaths and effort in my voice and apologizes for calling during the run, and asks me to call back when I am finished.

She hangs up and I focus again on the call ahead. I realize that, during the distraction of a phone call, much of the pain and discomfort of running seems to have disappeared. My pace remained the same, but my brain was distracted by the forewarning of a request for errands.

I have only a few more minutes to go. Seven or eight, perhaps. A distance I have covered in the past. I can do this, I tell myself. It will be over soon.

This is when it starts to hit me. Sure, I have rethought my preconceptions about running before, but the doubts keep coming back. The doubts about myself. This is a recurring thing; it isn’t just when I am running. While I have set out to prove something, to a certain extent, I am still unable to prove it to the ever-judging part of myself. A voice in my head that is never satisfied with what I do.

That same part of myself that is watching me type this blog skeptically, reminding me that I am not really producing anything. The part of me that questions my identity as a writer, makes me uncomfortable around others of my craft, despite this blog and a handful of other creative projects I am working through.

I come up to the point where I started running–doing a reverse course around the track again–and have about two minutes left. I know my pace is slower than when I started, but I am still running. I am still running as I pass two girls–trying hard not to think about whether I cross their minds as they pass.

To a certain extent, I know that my self-esteem has gone a long way. Five or six years ago, I feel my self-esteem was at its lowest point. I was nursing some emotional wounds, and had never quite recovered from others. Today, I am starting to see some changes from that point, even in interactions I had over the weekend. I can assert myself, am trying to put boundaries on some relationships, and even shrugging off slights with ‘the other person simply doesn’t know me’.

Same time, I have got some distance to go. My notion of myself as a non-runner seems impervious to the reality of me actually being capable of running. In my head, running for 20 minutes straight–the longest I have ever run–is an aberration. It is an unrepeatable event; I got lucky. In reality, I am about to have my phone buzz to let me know the run is nearly over.

I am starting to like myself, to trust myself, to actually believe in myself. It was somewhere after the phone call on this run that I realized I could make this. Perhaps having my mother pop up reminded me that I am loved and a capable person–something she has always strived to provide in me. Perhaps the distraction stopped the self-doubt for just long enough to get my brain back into its positive groove. Perhaps something clicked, and I just started to believe it.

I don’t know.

What I do know is that I chose to believe that the girls I passed were staring at my ass, which is looking fine in the crisp fall morning around Chestnut Hill Reservoir.

Shin Status: Hurried.
Shirt of the Day:  “It Came out of Nowhere” (Back to the Future/TARDIS collision), under a long-sleeved shirt.