The Beginning: A Run Log

WEEK 8: FEB 19 – FEB 25, 8.1 miles

2/25/07, Sun: NO RUN.

2/24/07, Sat: .5 miles, paper route.

2/23/07, Fri: 3.3 miles, 35:26. Little slower than yesterday, but I still felt great.

2/22/07, Thur: 3.3 miles, 33:55. Today, even as I ran through the fog, I felt as if I emerged from a very dark place into brilliant light. The last two nights, I went to bed at 10; I actually feel human today. Maybe I’ll eventually become a morning person. Two portly blue heeler dogs (I’ll call them that for lack of knowledge of what they actually are) ran out at me from the “reservation” trailer house. I spoke to them as if I loved wildly barking dogs who pretended to want to eat “runner” for lunch. Luckily, they stopped chasing me at the edge of their property.
2/21/07, Wed: NO RUN. I’m feeling a little better, adjusting to the early mornings, and getting well, but I’m still so tired and very sluggish. Luckily, I didn’t get really sick; just a brief stint. John joined me for the paper route this morning, and he delivered. What a sweetheart he is.
2/20/07, Tue: .5 miles, paper route. Today I am sick, have fever, feeling horrible.
2/19/07, Mon: .5 miles, paper route. Since starting the paper route last Tuesday, I have been feeling like I have entered a very dark underwater world where the light is very far away; the world is chaotic, disorganized, cluttered, and completely overwhelming.

WEEK 7: FEB 12 – FEB 18, 7.5 miles

2/18/07, Sun: .5 miles, paper route. Margie was sick and puking today. As run-down as I have been feeling, I feel destined to get sick too.

2/17/07, Sat: 3 miles, 40 minutes. Ran on the treadmill.

2/16/07, Fri: .5 miles, paper route.

2/15/07, Thur: .5 miles, paper route. Today was my third day of the paper route. I drove and delivered today, and I thought it was a pretty good workout, getting the papers to people’s doors and all. Afterward, my glutes were surprisingly sore. I’m going to give myself .5 miles for each morning that I really work hard and run to get the papers delivered.

2/14/07, Wed: 3 miles, 40 minutes. I ran on the treadmill today. It was surprisingly boring (I had expected it to be boring, but that was BORING), but I am thankful that I will have a place to run when John is working 13 hour days and such. Since this was the first time that I used the treadmill, I was very distracted; I kept stopping to adjust the temperature, get water, get chapstick, open the curtains, etc. I did enjoy listening to music while I ran. The treadmill has a speaker jack into which you can plug in your iPod. Very cool.

2/13/07, Tue: If I would have known what a crazy day today was going to be, I definitely would have run yesterday. My paper route started this morning (4am) and the day didn’t stop until I crashed into bed at 11pm.

2/12/07, Mon: NO RUN. Took another day off to let my hips recover

WEEK 6: FEB 5 – FEB 11, 13.9 miles

2/11/07, Sun: NO RUN.
2/10/07, Sat: 5.6 miles, 1:02:00. Today, I tried out a run/walk technique, which allowed me to feel better for the duration of the run, but the walking actually made my hip joints hurt. The pain would subside as soon as I started running. Hmmm.
2/9/07, Fri: 2.5 miles, 26:48. I wanted to run farther, but I had to get home so John could go to work. Today, Margie and I slept ‘til 10am, and when I got up, I was definitely leaded – literally, not in a caffeinated way. So running today was all about “getting the lead out.” As usual, I donned gloves, long and short sleeved shirts, and hat, along with fleece pants. Talk about overkill. It was sunny in the 40s, and I was roasting. I had to shed the long-sleeved shirt, hat, and gloves; I had not taken a rubber band for my hair, so my hair was swinging about like a wild animal skin attached to the back of my head. Annoying. About ½ mile into the run when I took off my hat, I made it my mission to find a rubber band for my hair. I decided that the most likely place to find a rubber band, and to avoid slowly running while scouring the ground, was on a newspaper in someone’s driveway. I ran quite a while before locating a sodden newspaper in the wet gutter by the street. Every other newspaper that I spotted was either in a driveway with cars parked in it, or was at a house that had people looking out the windows, or someone was driving by at the time I was passing the paper. What can I say…I’m a chicken and will do pretty much anything to avoid confrontation. So I waited until I found a “safe” newspaper in the gutter from which to yank the rubber band for my wild beast hair. At the end of the run, I felt less leaded, and I was able to get through the rest of the day with some modicum of aplomb.
2/8/07, Thur: 2.5 miles, 25:09. Just went out for a quick run this morning. I really tried to let loose, but my body had other ideas – I felt a little sluggish. Today was the first day in a long time that the weather wasn’t sunny and cold. It rained last night, so everything was wet, although it wasn’t actually raining while I was running. I relished the smell of damp earth and wetness in the air
2/7/07, Wed: NO RUN.
2/6/07, Tue: 3.3 miles, 33 minutes. I really need to get a new running watch. The time approximations are driving me crazy. I worked hard today to overcome the “Emily Shuffle” and I think I succeeded. Just pump the arms a little harder, lift the knees a little higher, I kept telling myself. Two weeks ago, I ran this same run in 38 minutes, so this was a definite improvement in speed. I decided that if I’m going to PR at Robie this year, I had better kick up my pace a notch. It’s no longer good enough to just plod along at the Emily shuffle for two miles and call it a good workout. My toe hurt a little bit today, and I’m not quite sure why. I do know that I have been having nerve pain emanating from the base of my toe where the numbing shot was, and it seems to affect the tip of my toe as well. I see the doctor for followup on the 13th, so I’ll mention it to him then. Also, something else that I need to work on, in addition to my speed, is my DIET. For the last week, I have been eating pizza, chips, cookies, and ice cream. Yuck. If I would just tune up my diet, I think my body would tone up dramatically. I have already lost a few pounds, but I would like to tighten up a little and lose a few inches off the “saddlebags.”

2/5/07, Mon: NO RUN.

WEEK 5: JAN 29 – FEB 4, 12.1 miles

2/4/07, Sun: 2.5 miles, 27 minutes. Although my cardio conditioning suffered slightly for not having run in three days, I felt great otherwise. For the first time in a very long time, I had NO toe pain. So I’m glad I had the procedure done, even though it was totally gross. I actually could have run the last two days, but I had so much going on in my life that there was no time to run. I’m just glad I got three runs in this week. That’s one of my running rules – three is the bare minimum times that I can run per week, and I try very hard to run four or five times.

2/3/07, Sat: NO RUN.
2/2/07, Fri: NO RUN. My toe was a little sore still today, but it really doesn’t hurt much at all. Most of my pain is imaginary – I’m just so grossed out by the sight of it and the knowledge that nail bed is exposed. In addition, I’ve been protecting and favoring this toe for over six months. Old habits die hard.

2/1/07, Thur: NO RUN. Today, I had my toe operated on to remove the ingrown toenail. It was just as bad as I thought it would be. The numbing shot was horrific, nearly making me pass out. I really wanted to watch the procedure, sort of like a final goodbye to the infection that had become routine to my life. But I started becoming hot and woozy at the numbing shots; everyone in the room emphatically urged me to not watch the actual procedure. I tried to look, but something internal compelled me to keep my eyes closed. Oh well. The doctor bandaged my toe so that it looked like a goofy giant light bulb. I am tentatively planning on Saturday to run again.

1/31/07, Wed: 4 miles, 38 minutes. I didn’t have a chance to run during the day today, so after putting the kids to bed, I drove down to the Y to run around the indoor track. Tomorrow I have my ingrown toenail procedure, so I wanted to make sure that I got a run in today because I don’t know how long I am going to be out of commission. Each mile consists of 12 laps around that dinky little track. Talk about monotonous; but at least it wasn’t as boring as running on a treadmill. In addition to the monotony, I kept tripping over the cant on the corners of the track. John would call it a floor ninja, but whatever is was, I kept tripping over it. We have determined that clumsiness runs in the family; dad’s excuse his size 14 feet. My feet aren’t boats; I don’t have a good excuse. I also found it very difficult to keep track of the laps. Forty-eight laps is a lot of counting for someone who has an approximately ten second short-term memory.

1/30/07, Tue: NO RUN. I actually could have run today, but today, studying for tomorrow’s math test absolutely had to come first. I had one window of opportunity to do something for myself, and studying had to be done. I have realized that running sometimes has become an excuse to not do homework.
1/29/07, Mon: 5.5 miles, 60 minutes. With great trepidation and nausea, I called a podiatrist to schedule an appointment to get my ingrown toenail fixed. It just keeps lingering; I mean, I’ve had the thing for over six months. Sounds deranged, but I’ve almost grown fond of it. Anyway, the toe was particularly puffy and painful today, even after recent concentrated efforts at soaking and cleaning it, so I am going to throw in the towel. Sigh. In other news, today was the longest run I have completed so far this year, and I am happy to have run the entire distance comfortably.

WEEK 4: JAN 22 – JAN 28, 13.9 miles

1/28/07, Sun: NO RUN.

1/27/07, Sat: 4.1 miles, 45 minutes. I have wanted to take my camera running for a while now, and today seemed like a good day to do it. Marge has shared with everyone fascinating and beautiful photos from Korea, so I thought I’d return the favor by sharing, um, BROWN pictures from the Caldwell, Idaho countryside from a runner’s perspective. Every time I run, I see lots of this:

a lot of this:

even more of this:

and a zillion of these:
.
It’s a friendly place. Yep. Actually, I thought this horse looked rather friendly as he peered over the rail at me.

Running through town brings another whole fascinating set of visions.


An interesting looking house,
the obligatory small-town water tower,

and friendly graffiti, of course.

John says these pictures make it seem as if I’m running on a Native American reservation. Here are some other fascinating sights I encountered out on the road:

A morose cow (I’d be morose too, if I had to live there).

Classic country mailbox art.


Fast-declining farmland.

1/26/07, Fri: 3.3 miles, 38 minutes. I was amused today by the smiling ram who peered at me through the window of a cinder block shed. When I went back Saturday to take pictures, I was disappointed that the ram had been moved.

1/25/07, Thur: NO RUN. I allowed myself a lazy day today. The pear-shaped runner:
1/24/07, Wed: 2.5 miles, 27 minutes.
1/23/07, Tue: NO RUN.
1/22/07, Mon: 4 miles, 41 minutes. What a gorgeous day! At 38 degrees, the air felt so warm that I had to shed my gloves and scarf and roll up my sleeves. The windiness of previous days has subsided – there was a very slight, almost spring-like breeze today. Spectacular running weather. Having learned a couple days ago that the Doberman’s name is Sadie, I called the dog by name today, thinking that she would be impressed enough at me knowing her name to stop barking. She wasn’t.

Baby Margie has been sick for the last couple days, so she has been sleeping less than usual. This means, of course, that I have also been sleeping less than usual. Margie, since about the age of six weeks old, has completely spoiled me by sleeping 10 to 12 hours a night. There’s no way that I get that much sleep, but if I can get seven hours, I feel pretty good. However, last night’s four and a half hours of sleep left me with a truckload of gravel in my eyes and a crabby attitude. Running helped immensely, and I was able to come back to the house and be moderately productive.

WEEK 3: JAN 15 – JAN 21, 9 miles

1/21/07, Sun: NO RUN. John worked a day shift today. By the time he got home, of course, it was dark, and I won’t run my usual routes in the dark. (With Margie not sleeping well last night, I didn’t have it in me to get up early and run before he left.) I begged John to let me just run around our block a bunch of times, but he put his foot down on that too. “You know what kind of people live in this subdivision!”

1/20/07, Sat: 2.5 miles, @25 minutes. After running in temperatures in the 20s and below recently, today’s early evening run at 35 degrees felt downright balmy; I was definitely overdressed in my fleece scarf and thermal shirt. Although I felt tired, as usual, I tried to push my pace, and although most “real” runners would scoff at 10 minute miles, I am quite happy with them. So I can’t complain about a sluggish pace – my contention today was with my nemesis, the pesky ingrown toenail.

(I apologize for the picture – it’s mainly for Big Marge’s benefit.) My left big toenail became ingrown about a month after Baby Margie was born, so as Margie turns seven months old, my festering infection turns about six months old. Charming. And I beg anyone out there who wants to warn me about the dangers of infection or to implore me to go to the doctor to NOT.

1/19/07, Fri: 3.5 miles, 37 minutes. I started this run today with absolutely NO desire to run. But since running comes above “sitting on the couch like a lazy slug” on my life’s priority list, I had to run (in addition to the fact that I hadn’t run for the previous two days – that’s another rule: to never go more than two days in a row without running).

So I donned my shoes, hat, gloves, scarf, sunglasses, cell phone, and pedometer – I would have strapped on my watch too if that six degree day hadn’t killed it – and headed out into the beautifully sunny, frigid morning at my patented “Emily Shuffle” pace, which I estimate to be about 11 minutes per mile. Today, I ran my normal route in reverse. This change was invigorating, and made me feel like I was running a completely different route. I need to do that more often. I am getting so bored with my usual route.
This run would have been slightly faster had I not taken a phone call as I was finishing the run – I hate talking on the phone, so sometimes it’s just easier to take care of a phone call right then, rather than bothering with calling the person back. The poor woman probably was wondering why my breathing was labored and my speech was slurred (my lips were partially frozen). It was about 22 degrees this morning, which didn’t feel too bad, except for the stinking wind. I started this run with the intention of running 2.5 miles, just to say I ran, but by the time I got to the point where I had to turn and head home, my body was in a trance-like gait, and I pretty much unintentionally “shuffled” through another mile or so. So even though I totally didn’t want to run, I was, of course, glad that I had done so.

1/18/07, Thur: NO RUN. John’s schedule didn’t allow me to run today unfortunately, and “life” got in the way of running. I had lunch with some friends from church, an event that comes above running on the priority list.

1/17/07, Wed: NO RUN. We slept in late this morning (until 10) and then I had to go feed the llamas. This was my last morning to do that. By the time I got back, John was leaving for work, and I didn’t have a chance to run. However, I did wear Margie around in the backpack for an hour and a half while cleaning today. It wasn’t a cardio workout, but it’s definitely a leg-strength builder! I would challenge anyone to squat repeatedly to pickup toys off the floor and to walk up and down the stairs with 20 pounds of baby on their back.

1/16/07, Tue: 3 miles, 34 min. I set out to do 2.5 miles, but once I got into the run, my body just got in a nice rhythm and I kept going around to the three-mile loop. When I set out to run today, the temperature, with the wind-chill factored in, was six degrees. SIX. It was cold. By the end of the run, ice had built up on the inside of my ninja-scarf. It was so cold that my watch is dead now. It was working fine until I went to stop the time at the end of the run. I saw “34” and then the display just went caterwampus. Bummer.

Drawbacks to running in the cold: my legs were as stiff as boards, so I was moving along at a brisk shuffle, even though I felt great. Also running into a headwind half the way definitely was a barrier to a speedy time as well as a barrier to any semblance of warmth. Even the half with the tailwind didn’t help my overall pace (rigor-mortis-like leg muscles).
Even though the drawbacks may be more obvious than the benefits, I did notice some benefits to running in the cold: even through the pink and green leopard scarf, I could faintly detect the smell of rotting apples at the “idyllic” house; the cold air has a distinct numbing effect that pretty effectively eliminates those nagging little aches and pains that would normally be there; and people I ran by, mostly utility and construction workers (no body else was stupid enough to be out in this weather without being paid for it) seemed to be extra-friendly, giving little nods, as if to commiserate.
Cold aside, I had a different, and altogether more annoying, issue to contend with: WRINKLED SOCKS. In my haste to rush out the door for a run in that small moment of opportunity, I left on a pair of tube-like cotton sport socks instead of putting on running socks. That was a mistake. I think Big M will appreciate my abhorrence of the wrinkled socks. That, paired with the consistent untied nature of my right shoe, made my right foot a very unhappy camper. Altogether, it was a great run – the sky was cloudless and sunny, my body felt good, and I am able to run.

1/15/07, Mon: NO RUN. Today, my morning before John went to work consisted of picking up dad’s truck and driving to Meridian to pick up dad’s moose rack at Yellow Transportation. That was a fun little adventure, but the rack was fully crated, so I didn’t get to see it. I’ll have to wait for dad to get back from Atlanta.

WEEK 2: JAN 8 – JAN 14, 12.2 miles

1/14/07, Sun: 2.5 miles, @26 min. Went out Sunday afternoon, having just eaten a couple pieces of pizza; eating and running are two things that, as a mother, student, and wife, must be undertaken when the opportunities present themselves. That means sometimes I run immediately after eating, if that’s when the opportunity to run presents itself (unless that “eat” happens to have been a five-plate Thanksgiving dinner).

Because the temperatures have been unpleasantly chilly lately (highs in the 20s), I have taken to running with a fleece scarf wrapped around my neck, which I pull up over my mouth and nose, so I’m not directly sucking in the bitterly cold air. (God must have known that I would be running in frigid temperatures someday because He gifted me with an appropriately shaped nose for such scarf draping.) At the end of my run, as I headed into my subdivision, I passed a little kid walking on the sidewalk with his grandma. He, in a typically untactful little-kid manner, loudly remarked – several times, which I deemed excessive, considering the obvious cold temperature – that I looked like a ninja.

A ninja. Look, a ninja. There’s a ninja!

I would have been a little huffy about this, except that I can totally see what the kid was talking about after I had John snap this picture of me after the run.

1/13/07, Sat: 3.2 miles, 33:23. It was 13 degrees and windy this morning when I went to feed the llamas around 10:00. Sheesh.

1/12/07, Fri: NO RUN. Life pre-empted running today. We had errands to do in the morning, I babysat Katie’s girls in the afternoon, and I had a church function in the evening. On days that John works swing shifts, I have to run in the morning before he goes to work. If I don’t get a run in early enough, or if I have something scheduled in the morning, I am doomed to have a “NO RUN” day. Running, however, doesn’t come at the very top of my priority list. I determined that in my running ground rules. Running comes before things like “homework” or “clean the house” or “sit on the couch like a lazy slug.”

It, however, falls below things like “feed the kids” or “take care of husband” and any play date, lunch date, or church activity. I decided that for my running to be consistent, and for me to not constantly battle my guilty conscience about not running every single day, I had to set guidelines about where running would fall within my spectrum of priorities. Some days are just not conducive to running. And that’s ok. But what’s not ok is when I have a prime opportunity to run and I don’t jump at the chance. When the couch wins out, that’s bad.

1/11/07, Thur: NO RUN. I definitely have Dieter’s cold; not happy about this. In addition to this inconvenience, Baby Margie was up the half the night last night vomiting the oatmeal I gave her for dinner. It was the first time I had given her oatmeal, and it will be the last for a very long time. We’ll just stick to sweet potatoes and applesauce for now.

1/10/07, Wed: 2.5 miles, 26:05. I still didn’t feel like running, but I had to run today anyway, knowing that the next two days didn’t look good for the running schedule. I started running feeling like I weighed about 500 pounds. By the end of the run, I had “lost” about 300 pounds, a definite improvement. Running often has that effect of improving mood and physical well-being. I often wish I could run with an iPod, but I decided I would rather have an obnoxious version of “O Happy Day” cycling through my brain than be surprised by a charging dog or an attacker rustling in the bushes or the erratic teenage driver (of whom there seem to be an inordinate number) approaching behind me at a high speed.

1/9/07, Tue: NO RUN. By the end of today, I was feeling like I was coming down with Dieter’s stupid cold that he has had for several days. Because I was totally sore from my last two workouts (the four miler and the hill work), I decided to take a day off to rest. I DON’T WANT TO GET SICK. Doing everything I can to stay well.

1/8/07, Mon: 4 miles, 39:43. Today, I ran by the graffiti (WSL for West Side Locas, yes Locas) spray painted on the fence and the scary ‘hood kids in a yard, one of whom repeatedly hollered “Justin” until finally yelling “Fire Away!” (upon hearing this, I bravely forged by them without making eye contact). That’s bad to be frightened of the 10-year-old kids in the neighborhood through which I am forced to run. I also ran by the parolee chalets; the “idyllic” house, defined by the tangy smell of rotting apples; and the “less-than-idyllic” shack, which, according to my imagination, could easily house a serial killer, looking abandoned except for the perpetual smoke rising from the chimney and the junkyard dog who often greets me. The junkyard dog wasn’t out today, but the Great Dane and the German Shepherd to his east greeted me in typical friendly (Ha!) fashion.

I had a little pain in my right kneecap, and I am sure this is a result of suddenly starting a running regime with no precursor. Also, drinking coffee before the run seemed to work well…no stomach cramps, which usually plague me if I am running with anything in my stomach. My body and lungs seemed to finally be in synch today. One did not tire before the other. They both felt strong the entire way (not to say that I wasn’t tired at the end); and I was able to surge strongly the final 2/10 mile.

Although I felt lithe today, the shadow stretched in front of me reminded me that I am have a “classic pear shape.” But the pear-shaped runner was running nonetheless, right? As John Bingham of Runner’s World says, “Waddle on, friends.”

Today was a great run except for my chapped lips.

I get so angry when I forget to put on chapstick before running. Un-chapsticked lips are almost as bad as wet socks on the “things that totally aggravate my senses” list. The chapped lips are a telltale sign that I NEED TO DRINK MORE WATER.

WEEK 1: JAN 1 – JAN 7, 12.8 miles

1/7/07, Sun: Hill repeats @2 miles. Ran in the morning before church. Warmed up by running about .25 mile to the hill behind my house, then ran six repeats up and down the hill. Surged uphill at a strong pace then jogged down easy. Each repeat took about two minutes. Minimal breaks between repeats. Felt pretty good. Ran about .5 mile back home.
1/6/07, Sat: NO RUN. After running four days in a row following a very long period of no running, I felt ready for a day off.

1/5/07, Fri: 3.8 miles, 40:02. Felt a little fatigued today. Think I need a day off.

1/4/07, Thur: 2.5 miles, 25:51. Still feeling a little fatigued, but not too tired; finished strong. My first mile split was 11:00, so I picked up the pace nicely on the second 1.5 miles.

1/3/07, Wed: 2.5 miles, 28 min. Felt a little fatigued from yesterday, but I’m happy to be running consecutive days. It’s a start

1/2/07, Tue: 2 miles, 22 min. Just to be clear, I have not made running my New Year’s resolution. My desire to run has been building up all through the fall, and it’s simply time to start. More about that later… Simply, I know that for me to achieve ultimate satisfaction in races later in the year (maybe even a marathon) I have to run consistently, build mileage, and run NOW.