JUST KEPT MOVING

Not a personal record, not a fast day, but a day of control. Kept it close to the line of easy and too hard on a 10K run with the Delaware River rumbling in the distance. It peeked through the trees, powerfully ignoring me the whole time.

The beautiful fall foliage, lots of reds and yellows, paid no attention. Creeks babbled and paid me no mind.

Nearly 10 or so minutes off my PR, on my third effort here at the 2021 River Ramble, but it felt fine.

My bib was #80, and I came in 80th place. Perfect day.

Running to Stay Right Here

Tonight’s run was interrupted by a phone call from a dear friend. I was already out and about when I got the call, which I expected, and it was a good chat.

After about an hour on the phone, I got up and set off. I felt awful at first, since I had been sitting, but each mile was faster than the previous mile. I ran some unfamiliar streets, and it got dark, so I got to experience the first bit of running by street lights. I’m looking forward to more of that.

As I neared the end of my run ‘Here to Stay’ by Korn was playing, and that bridge part at the end got me stoked.

That final “GONNA BREAK IT” got me again. That got me running a little faster. Then ease it back, running down a hill, knowing another incline is coming.

I bolt up the first incline and have to rest at the next intersection. Heart screaming. I’m not out of breath, my legs aren’t shot, it’s just that my engine is at max RPMs and there’s no way to keep that effort.

Heart rate drops a bit, then I attack the next hill, because why not? I flame out 2/3rds of the way to the top, which is fine. I laugh to myself a bit. Grate at 45 to be doing this at all.

Finally reach the top and I see it. The big red mood, coming up over the horizon to the east. By this time it’s pretty dark. I dart down a side street with a lone street light. I see the moon. Just 12 or so hours earlier I watched the sun rise over that hill in the distance, from the same grave yard.

Something clicks, and I peel off another few quick bursts. Feels good, feels solid, and I keep it under control. Now I’m darting through the darkness. Now this is dangerous.

I round a corner towards my place, a nice 2.5% grade and just punch it. I cruise past a small crowd, a blur to my right. I just look up the hill, grateful I’m not running the entire thing.

I hit my parking lot and tap out.

There’s something about hitting your max. Hitting the limit.

Yeah, we hit limits with emails, with work, with bills, taxes… ahh, just gotta walk away!

But a physical limit. A point where there’s just nothing left. Where you taste the effort in your mouth.

Been talking a lot about mortality lately, with a lot of different people. And fuck, tomorrow ain’t a promise.

I ain’t got much, but I know tonights run was special, and that’ll stay with me.

November Challenge

Each week in November, starting on Halloween, I’m going to run 30 miles.
Each week I don’t, I owe my sister an ice cream sundae, payable via gift card to a local place in her area.

If I complete all four weeks, she’ll get me a $20 gift card to a local food place.

As we got talking about accountability and habits, we somehow started about books, and how she has so many and doesn’t read them.

So now my challenge to her is to read five chapters a week, starting on Halloween.

Yeah, shouting to the internet that I’m going to do something is one thing. Posting it on social media is one thing, sure, seen by 30% of my followers because of algrorithims and such.

But a person to person accountability… I don’t know. Something feels more solid about that to me.

Like texting or a calling a friend, instead of just posting something to the internet.

Saving my cute joke, or cat photo with someone whose number I have in my phone.

Anyways – that’s my challenge for next month, I guess. And the biggest part of it will now be daily check ins with my sister. I’m going to run more. She’s going to read more.

I like this.

Had a Good Time with Whoop

Back in June I said Whoop changed my life, but lately I’ve fallen out of love.

It’s still a great device. A great tool. It’s helped me improve my sleep habits, and the importance of recovery. I love all that. It got me back on track with running.

Lately, though, it just doesn’t bring me any joy. It’s not really adding anything, and at $30/mo, that’s not good math.

My buddy Dino put it best – if it helped you create some good habits, it was worth it. He’s right.

I had a run coach once. That wasn’t forever. And neither is Whoop, I guess. That’s okay.

I run because of skies like the one above. I run to blow off steam, to work out some of the stress of life, and work, and everything else.

Adding a Garmin watch, and the Whoop… oh wait, gotta make sure they’re both charged. Wait, this one is saying HR is way up, this one is stuck at 80bpm. What?

Yeah.

I just want my running to slow and low, without adding more stress to my day. COVID has really crossed off a lot of the big races and events that I’d do this fall. I’m going rouge, going solo, keeping to myself, and running with some good people, that’s about it.

A season for all things. I’ll still recommend the Whoop to anyone who asks. It’s just not for me anymore.

Head To The Hills

I used to hate getting my feet wet when running. Now, for this photo, I was standing completely still in this creek, getting soaked, and loving every second of it.

With the pandemic still raging, and idiocy everywhere, I’m withdrawn a bunch from the idea of heading to cities, or being around a bunch of people. It’s just not for me yet.

I got emails from the Broad Street Race in Philadelphia, the biggest 10 mile race in the US, and how they’re making their big return this year! The Philly 10K, the super slick, well organized race through the streets of mid and lower Philadelphia.

Then the 7 day average of new COVID cases just keeps going up here in PA:
500 on July 24th
1,000 on August 3rd (10 days)
2,000 on August 15th (12 days)

So I ordered a closeout bag from Ultimate Direction from REI and started getting ideas to head into the mountains, away from people.

They’ll be a time for densely packed 10Ks again in the future, but for me, right now? Not yet. Do what you wanna do, but for me, I’m looking at some tents and water filtration systems, and looking to disappear into the woods a bit.

The Secret Sauce

From my Soft Run newsletter:

The fun was meeting a pal from Instagram. 
The fun was running on some new trails. 
The fun was seeing some great puppers. 
Clapping for a guy riding his mountain bike up a big giant hill.

Always good to remind myself of why I go running at all. It’s not the paces, or the mileage – it’s the magic that I get witness when I do it consistently. That’s it. I would have missed all of the above if I stayed home today.

Running With The Past

This weekend I didn’t get out for any adventures. It was too hot at night, so I slept horribly, which meant I wasn’t well rested, so I didn’t want to over-exert myself and burn myself out. Better to be safe and healthy, I guess.

After working for a few hours at my local Starbucks, I hit the Bartram Trail, the trail head being less than half a mile away. I always make sure to get a cup of water when I’m doing these post-Starbucks runs, just to make sure I’m hydrated.

The trail is six miles out, six miles back, with a steady 0.5 to 1% incline for the first mile. I’ve never actually done the full trail yet on foot, so just did 30 minutes out to make it 30 minutes back, to get in a nice hour long effort. Low and slow, average pace was 11:48, to keep that heart rate down given the heat (86 ℉, 50% humidity). And really, every run doesn’t have to be hard. This was just enjoying time in the woods, in the shade, running past rocks that have been on earth for 480 million years.

https://twitter.com/AlexPetrovnia/status/1415669085925429248

Always nice to get in a post-work run.

Five Years Running

“I just wanna be in good enough shape to go on last minute adventures,” is how my buddy Jesse (above) puts it. He said this on Monday, on the observed 4th of July, and said a few years back during the 24 hour Loopy Looper in NJ, when I ran a few laps with him on a hot summer day.

A few days later is was stupid hot, but I’ve been deciding lately that instead of simmering and sulking in the heat, I’m gonna rush head first into it. In the 90s and humid? Fine. I’m gonna go out, take my time, sweat my ass off, and find a way to enjoy it. Slow and low. Lots of liquids. Walk when I gotta.

To wrap up this work week, I closed my laptop and set off for a loop I never did before. Still hot, still slow, but it was a solid 6+ mile run, and a nice way to finish off a shortened week of work, which is actually five days of work crammed into four.

It’s been five years of running. Just over 1,000 runs, almost 4,100 miles. Haven’t run a marathon yet, but I ran 18 miles in one shot. Ran a sub eight minute mile once, and came in second in a local 5K. Had a lot of fun adventures with good people, ran in a few different cities.

I turned 45 this year, and I’m feeling pretty fucking good.

The Heat Is On

Wrote a bit about running in the heat, over at The Soft Run:

We’re human, and we’re squishy (sometimes soggy). We’re made of red blood cells, not slabs of steel that arrange nicely on a blue-print.

Check it out here.