Saturday, August 18, 2007

Today I ran only the second 5K race ever for me, and probably the first one that counts since the first was the Breast Cancer 5K and I ran with a co-worker, encouraging her for the first couple of miles.

This 5K was a low-key race organized by the Atlanta Track Club. Small but almost all serious (and really serious) runners. MOB and I got up early and jogged over to the start area which was about a mile away. I ran into a guy I knew from the Galloway Time Improvement Group, but anyone else from my old running groups was most likely doing their long run today in training for their fall marathons.

I feel pretty good about my time, I would have placed second or third in the age group below me with a 25:56 finish but was way behind in my own age group and also in the next age group which I will be joining in November. There goes that idea that when I joined the new age group, I'd have a better chance of placing. I should have never got older - that was a bad idea.

I was right at an 8:20 pace on each mile split. It was a moderately hilly course and the last mile was tough. Maybe I'm just looking for excuses but sometimes I really start to believe that I must have some kind of heat-induced asthma issue. I'm sure the person I was following over the course of that last mile enjoyed my wheezing, gasping, groaning and spitting. Yeah, she'll be wearing headphones in her next race.

It was tempting, but no stopping and no walking.

There was one old guy at the start that I overheard telling someone that he signed up just to walk the course. He was tall, thin, and frail looking. As we looped back around and came back on the course, I passed him just as he was coming up on the mile marker. The course clean up truck was driving a several yards behind him. The dedicated volunteer at the one-mile mark started calling out the times as the old guy was still about 15 yards away, "18.31, 18.32, 18.33..." The old guy shook his head and called out to him, "c'mon, you're gonna make me want to turn around and go back now..." If I hadn't been so tired, I would have started calling "7.31, 7.32, 7.33..." - I mean if you're going to call out times to someone at that point, why not try to make them feel good about it?

Monday, August 13, 2007

I can finally share the "secret project" that I've been working on for the last couple of months.

It started with brainstorming for ideas of what to sketch or draw next, and realizing that my sister's 50th birthday was coming up, I thought it would be nice to make a few drawings of different pictures of her during her lifetime. It was a chance to practice playing with my new markers too. As I worked on the drawings, I realized I didn't have a good idea for how to frame or present them, so the idea of a scrapbook came to mind.

Now, I've never thought much about scrapbooking. It seemed like something "crafty" and I hate crafty stuff. Maybe it is "crafty" but I found myself so involved in this project that I would happily do it again. It was a great outlet for me - I got to draw, create a couple of stylized photoshop pictures, retouch a few photos, design layouts, search through piles of corny quotes to find that perfect gem which captured what I wanted to say... it was absorbing.

So absorbing in fact that I forgot my mom and brother's birthdays in the process... geesh! Okay, well it's probably not the first time... anyway, without further ado, here are some pictures from the scrapbook experience:

A couple of side notes. It made me happy to see my sister and each of her kids spend time examining each page. I hope it's something that they will enjoy now and then again in the future.

I enjoyed doing this so much that I was both happy and sad to give it up.

Here's another activity I got very involved in. MOB and I went to the reading of a play by a friend and old co-worker of mine. She's been working on plays ever since I've known her but this was the first time that I got to see something she wrote. It was put on through Working Title Playwrights.

It was really captivating. I liked the intimacy of a reading versus the full production. It must be that it takes me back to being read to as a child - I have vivid memories of getting very wrapped up by my mother reading The Pirate don Durk of Dundee to me and making her read it over and over again. I was just as engaged in this. The actors were great. I would definitely go out to see another reading by this group.

Her play is called "Fault Lines" and it was all about family dynamics. I won't attempt to explain it, you can read what she wrote about it on the link above.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Air Quality Forecast for Atlanta, Georgia: August 9, 2007

Air Quality: Unhealthy
Health Advisory: Everyone, especially people with heart or lung disease (including asthma), older adults and children should cut back or reschedule strenuous activities. Sensitive groups should avoid strenuous activities.

MOB demonstrated an incredible amount of dedication to running this morning by waking at 4am to beat the heat and bad air quality that we're having here in Atlanta. He normally doesn't mind the heat, but the air quality has been measured at unhealthy levels lately and the best air is apparently early in the day.

Inspired by his discipline, I drank two cups of coffee while he ran in the darkness and then set off for a run at 7am. That makes two days in a row of running for me, which is highly unusual. I got to the park just as two groups of bootcampers were leaving. It's really surprising how many people are in the park at dawn during the week.

Running felt not too bad and after 20 minutes, I decided to get in a few intervals on the .52 mile oval. Here are my stats:

first 1/2 mile: 4.23
rest: 2.18
second 1/2 mile: 4.18
rest: 3.14
third 1/2 mile: 4.25

I only got three in but I consider those bonuses since I didn't even plan to run today. My rest periods are the 1/8 mile I walk to get to the next water fountain in the oval. Obviously I was walking quite a bit slower after the second interval!

I'm only minorly disappointed in my times. I know I can run faster, but running has been such a struggle for me lately that I'm happy just to get out there and run in the first place. Hopefully when this heat starts to taper off I'll feel more encouraged and I'll see an 8minute mile again. In the meantime, I am simply trying to keep some semblence of fitness together.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

I had a better than expected 6 miler yesterday. I've been having such bad runs for the past month or so, it was tough to even get out the door. What probably helped was changing my route up a little. I've been running these neighborhoods around here for nearly five years now and as lucky as I am to have such a beautiful and interesting variety of routes, I think I need to mix things up a bit.

For some reason, I hardly ever run through the "historical" district of midtown... the area between 10th and Ponce, and Monroe and Peachtree. There's no particular reason why, except maybe that the first few times I ran back there, some of the streets twisted and turned in such unexpected ways that I felt a little lost. And even though it is a "historical" area and there are some beautiful homes on the tree-lined streets, overall it's not as pretty as Ansley or the Highlands.

Anyway I decided to run around in that area on Saturday and it went rather well. You can't get much mileage in there, so I added a few different loops around Piedmont Park. I timed my last mile on a marked 1 mile loop around the lap and finished with an 8:30 pace for the last mile. Overall for the 6.12 mile route, I had a 9:18 pace - which is okay considering how unmotivated I've been lately.

I'm making great progress on the gift I'm working on for someone. It should be ready - it has to be ready - next weekend. Once it's been given, I'll post it here. Very happy with how it's going so far.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Vanilla at Half-Fast posted a hilarious overview of the nine types of runs you can have. I can relate to each and every one! I used to have a lot of Daydreamer runs when I started running, lately I've been stuck in a rut with Broken Watch and This is Why More People Don't Run runs. Really need a Russian Judge run though - it's been too long. Check it out....