Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hope Springs Eternal

For the past two days I have taken walks in the afternoons as I try to shake off an annoying respiratory virus I picked up over the weekend. I feel okay, but I keep coughing up globs of mucus, which isn't pleasant. Walking has gotten me out of the house for exercise; additionally, the weather this week has been lovely and it seemed a shame to while away the hours after work indoors. On my perambulations around town I have made two observations:

One: walking takes forever. My three mile loop dragged on and on and I felt like I would never finish. Running is so much more efficient at getting me from point A to point B!

Two: I notice more when I go slowly. I passed a twig dangling over the path behind the hospital and to my delight I saw the first sure sign of spring:


Yes, folks who live in warmer climes, we still have no leaves on the trees here. Most of the trees, in fact, don't even have buds. The woods are as bare and transparent as they were in January. This is how it goes in Michigan.

We had a brief blast of summer style temperatures on Sunday, however. It got up to 82 degrees that afternoon. I went running Sunday morning at my parents' and it was 50 degrees. By the time I got home to Michigan it was above 80. I wasn't ready for the warmth. I was wrinkled and sweaty from being in the car, and my house was stuffy. I slept poorly Sunday night, tossing and turning on crumpled sheets in a room that was 10 degrees warmer than it had been in months. Having cats piled up against me like driftwood didn't help, either.

Fortunately things have gone back to normal and nighttime temperatures are back where they should be, i.e. the 30s. Much better. I can curl up in my down comforter again.

My farm share starts in seven weeks. I am so excited. Fresh asparagus and spinach and turnips, oh my!

One year ago I was making final preparations for my trip to Boston for the marathon. This year, I am not going back, and I find myself nostalgic for what was and slightly jealous of those who are running again. Boston was such an incredible experience. I want to run there again, no, I say I will run there again. Someday.

This Saturday the Engineer and I are attending a performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute at the Detroit Opera House. I am super excited as you all know how much I love opera, especially anything by Mozart. I know more Mozart arias than any other composer. I taught myself how to sing "Der Holle rache" long ago, high F and all, but I can't sing it like Diana Damrau.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Meteor 10K

A great day for a run
 I hopped back on the race wagon on Saturday with the Meteor 10K, my first race since the Thunder Road Marathon in December. We all know how badly I got my ass kicked by that race. Let's move on.

I ran the Meteor 10K three years ago, the half two years ago, and now I was back for another crack at the 10K. I knew all of my previous 10K times were out of reach; my goal for this race was to run strong and enjoy the morning. What a morning it was! Clear, dry, and about 35 degrees at 7:30 when the Engineer and I arrived at the race venue for our 8:00 start.

Wearing the best Bondi band ever, courtesy of the Redhead. Now, if only I would stand up straight...
The green and black insanity you see above was part of the awesome bag o' swag from the Redhead, which I received the day before at the race expo.

Spike and I at the expo, representin' Boston and Grand Rapids
After some hobnobbing with my fellow run-nerds, the Engineer and I slid into the crowd near the back of the pack. I was anticipating running 9:45-10:00 miles, an easy, comfortable pace, and so I was pleased when Garmy beeped for the first mile in 9:38. That would be the slowest mile of the race, as I subsequently managed 9:23, 9:15, 9:20, and 9:14 miles. With a mile and change left to run, I decided to pick up my speed a little and see if I could squeeze out a sub-9:00 mile.

The whole race had unfolded smoothly; I kept my breathing under control and felt relaxed and energetic. I crested the final hill and saw the turn to the finish about a quarter-mile away. I cruised down the slope, made the turn, and finished strong. A quick check of Garmy told me I had run 8:49 for mile 6. Official finish time: 57:36. That's more than 10 minutes off my best but I was pleased nontheless.

Heading for the finish
I ran 5.5 miles Tuesday, 4 yesterday, and if the weather cooperates I'll run 3 after work today. The weekend holds 4 miles on Saturday and 9 on Sunday. I'll be in Ohio again for some family stuff, so I'm looking forward to a change of venue. Nine miles isn't enough to lure me to the Towpath Trail, but I'm sure I can string together something around the old neighborhood.