What the hill?

This is the third time I’ve ventured out to run the River Place hills. I’d like to say that it gets easier, but I’d be lying.

IMG_9319

I was on my own today. I mean, quite a few people were out there running the same route, but I ran solo. I tried to break it up in my head–a mile and a half to the first water stop, and just another mile and a half after that. But there were times on a couple of downhills I couldn’t see very far down the road–it dropped out of view 100 yards ahead. And on an out-and-back route, what goes down must go up again on the return trip.

IMG_1285[1]

I won’t lie–I ran up some of the bigger hills the whole way, but a couple of them just a third or halfway. However, when I had about half a mile left, I tried to speed up. I managed a pace that approached my PR-setting 5K pace from a year ago, so being able to run faster at the end of six miles (on a solo run) felt pretty good.

I ended up finishing about a minute faster than the last time we ran River Place. Not a huge number, but I’ll take it anyway. Progress.

—————————————————

Do you embrace hill-running or avoid it like the plague?

Tell me about your hilliest route!

Keep Austin Weird

This morning after I dropped B off at his robotics class, I decided to run the Town Lake trail. Mix things up a bit. I parked at Austin High, knowing I could make a three-mile loop from there. Plus, I could park in the shade.

Considering my left calf felt a tiny bit funky the last two days, and yesterday was torture class Fit to Run class, I figured three miles was a good distance. When I’ve tried to run more than that on Thursdays, my legs just couldn’t manage. So… three.

And it went well. I forgot my water bottle, but I stopped at a couple of water fountains along the trail so it wasn’t a problem. I noticed that the Trail Foundation has done a lot of work building new restrooms and water fountains (people- and dog-friendly heights) all along the trail. The new Heron Creek restroom is one of the nicest public facilities I’ve encountered!

Most of my route was shady (or shady-ish) although the pedestrian bridge took a direct hit from the sun. I felt a breeze most of the way around, though, and the path generally wasn’t too crowded.

IMG_1264[1]

I think dropping down to three miles was the right decision–other than stopping for water, I was able to run the whole way (including the hilly parts) at a decently faster pace than I’d been running the last few weeks. I didn’t feel the lead-leg exhaustion of the last two Thursdays, either. It was, dare I say, pleasant.

Because I wasn’t focused on whether I was about to die, I did some people-watching. Here are some things I observed, in no particular order:

  • a girl wearing exactly the same pink North Face tank top as me
  • countless people talking on their phones, equally split between genders
  • two women walking with double strollers taking up THE WHOLE TRAIL.
  • dogs tied to runners’ waists with too-long leashes, allowing the dogs to veer around all over the trail and nearly trip people
  • a woman carrying a baby in a sling while pushing a dog in a stroller
  • people stopping to take workout selfies
  • a guy dressed in the anti-Texas-summer-uniform: black long sleeves, black long pants, black floppy hat
  • other odd running/walking/cycling attire: cargo shorts, sandals, dress shirt and dressy kitten-heel shoes, jeans
  • a woman with really long hair, not tied back in any way. HOW was it not a tangled mess after 30 seconds?? I had one strand trapped under my shirt and it drove me nuts for three miles!
  • No one listened to music out loud, and none of the dogs were attached to death cables retractable leashes–oh happy day!

Maybe next time I’l see Thong Guy. Keep Austin Weird indeed.

Happy Fun Ball: legal in sixteen states

This morning’s Fit to Run class met at the outdoor basketball court of a nearby middle school. Humidity was eleventy-billion percent with no discernible breeze. It was so humid, our mats quickly became covered in dew. Which made it difficult to hold a decent plank, in case you’re wondering.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how much you like planks, or how much you hate what we did instead) we didn’t need the mats a whole lot.

There’s something satisfying about picking up one of those semi-puffy, eight- or ten-pound medicine balls and slamming it to the ground. But (other than f’ing burpees) the most difficult exercise we did involved the smaller, deceptive red medicine balls.

happy-fun-ball

These suckers look like the inflatable kickball balls I remember from elementary school. Except they feel like rocks. Rocks that bounce.

happy fun ball

One circuit we had to stand a few feet away from the wall, sideways, and sling the thing at the wall. Change sides, repeat. Despite its weight, that Happy Fun Ball managed to bounce like a basketball.

happy fun ball caution

Another time, we faced the wall, got into a squat, and shot the ball at an invisible basketball hoop high on the wall. Good thing it was invisible, as I couldn’t make a basket if my life depended on it. I’m only 5’2″, first of all, and my hands whole body was slippery with sweat.

happy fun ball side effects

It hit the wall higher than my head (most times) and bounced back crazily, usually aiming for my knees. It had a mind of its own.

happy fun ball taunt

No one’s happy at 5:30 in the morning, I guess.

Agua

We got home from the lake early Sunday afternoon. It rained on us the last half of the drive, and overcast skies kept the temperature down. Since I was still annoyed at my failed six-mile Saturday run, I decided a rainy Sunday was as good a time as any to redeem myself. I’ve got a pretty good 10K route from my house, and I hoped since it was relatively cool and cloudy I would be okay just carrying my water bottle.

Except before the halfway point, the sun peeked around the clouds, which turned the rain to steam. My water bottle was empty.

As I approached the high school, I could see a few cars in the parking lot outside the gym. I headed that way, hoping maybe the doors would be open and I could find a water fountain.

IMG_1248[1]

Oasis

Fortunately they were, and I did.

I drank some, sloshed some on my face, drank some more, and filled up my bottle. FYI, the water fountain on the right dispensed much colder water.

I trudged along, stopping every half-mile or so for a few gulps of water. I tried to ration it, knowing I had a couple of miles still ahead of me, but because of the humidity, I just couldn’t cool off much at all. I didn’t want to play Damsel in Distress, but I became more sluggish by the minute–with almost two miles still to go. I texted M, knowing in the back of his truck there was a cooler with a dozen bottles of water, still iced down from the lake trip.

Ten minutes later, he met me at the entrance to our neighborhood. As I stood there guzzling ice-cold water, a light rain began falling. I felt better–cooler, and grateful for the help–and as he drove away, I headed the same direction on foot. This time I completed the 10K that had eluded me the day before.

I think going forward I’ll stick with routes that have water access, though.

The Great Chesapeake Bay Swim: the view from the water

Okay, y’all. You’re in for a GREAT story not just about the 2015 Chesapeake Bay Swim, but about the evolution of a swimmer. I give you: my amazing friend J!


It’s funny how the first time I swam across the Chesapeake Bay it was a quick, almost thoughtless decision, spurred on by coaxing buddies during a night of pizza and beer after a Friday night practice with the local Masters’ swim group. Hey let’s enter that race, guys! Oh yeah, sure, sure! I was in pretty good swim form already but in no way large-famous-body-of-water crossing form by any means. However, I was also 19 years old and those things together turned out to be sufficient to carry the day back in 1986. My mom, dad, 14-year-old brother Billy, and best friend Lisa came to see me attempt this curious trick, cheer me on, and then wipe the diesel and oil slick remains from my face and arms when I dragged myself out on the opposite shore. I am pretty sure they knew that it was very unlike me at the time to do anything so ambitious, loud, and out there. It was really touching to me to see them cheering me on to the finish that day. It was and still remains a great reinforcement to me of what love and friendship really are all about.

Looking back now, 29 years later, I can still say that it was one of the hardest, most foolish and also most rewarding things I’d ever attempted and succeeded in doing. The water was very rough. There were many times I was sure I’d fail, when the waves were so big I could see no land, boats, or people around me. All I could see were walls of green water coated with a rainbow glaze of fuel, and I could not seem to find my way to the top of the big rollers to glimpse the shore. There were times I knew I was being swept out from between the Bay Bridge spans – a quick way to be “DQ’d” or disqualified. I swam nearly the whole way on a diagonal, even perpendicular at times, not sure that I was even progressing forward, and flipping over to backstroke to try and gauge my position as I swam towards the farther span instead of straight to the unseen shore of Kent Island.

The thing I remember most about finishing, aside from the pure shock of it, and seeing my people cheering for me, was the amazing fried shrimp dinner I had right after… with extra fries please! Then I went home and I am pretty sure I slept through a broken 24 hours. And also more than pretty sure I wasn’t fully functional physically or otherwise for at least another 24 to 48 hours after that.

Never again. That’s what I said to the (very large industrial sized 80’s-style) video camera my father brought to document this insanity. I said no way. I laughed and joked about swimming back to get home knowing that 1) I didn’t have to, and 2) I was done and that, though I was proud and excited to have done it, I could forever place this whole momentary mental lapse in my past. It’s all on the video tape. Yes tape!

Fast forward a few decades-plus, later. I finally took the plunge and began to swim for fitness again, thanks to the tear in my Achilles sidelining me from running. I happily still had less than zero inclination of going back on that solemn promise made so publicly on the sandy shore of Kent Island long ago. But my baby brother Billy had different ideas. Let’s do a triathlon together, he said. I’m swimming now too. It’ll be fun, he said. Boy did it not take long for that to evolve into Hey let’s sign up for the Chesapeake Bay Swim Lottery and swim it together! Oh man, I am WAY too easy to drag into these things! Long story short, Billy got in to the race and I did not, so I was excited and proud to cheer him on as he made his remarkable crossing last year. Spectacular and … inspiring. That race was in my head now. I could not let it go. I got myself qualified and with the help of some special friends’ charitable donations *ahem my favorite running blogger among them* I got a guaranteed spot for the 2015 Great Chesapeake Bay Race.

For the next 12 months I threw myself into training. I also had surgery to fix my poor tendon, thankful to have swimming to stay in good endurance shape both before and after. By January, I had developed and mapped out a training plan that had me doing two Masters’ swim practices a week: one open water-focused and 90 minutes long, and one sprint-focused at 60 minutes long. In addition, I swam three miles (approximately 5300 yards) every Tuesday or thereabouts, and then used Saturday for my “long sustained swim” that  grew to five miles at its peak in May, culminating with the Bay Swim on June 14. For those curious, my weekly yardage peak was 21,000 yards.

In spite of my stubborn willingness to grind at this goal with Type A precision, something I wish to god I could apply to more useful things like picking winning lottery numbers or achieving world peace, I actually found myself having a lot of fun and meeting a lot of really great people along the way. Many of my pool people now have nicknames they don’t, and hopefully won’t, know about. “Fast Santa,” “Hot Chick,” “Tube” (often swam with a snorkel), “The Hurricane” (with such unfortunate form that his flailing arms and wildly-kicking legs made it a little too open-water realistic), and of course “Happy,” the friendliest, nicest, most strangely energetic lifeguard ever to grace the pool at 5:30 in the morning. There were many others. All of them, so good for a kind greeting and even a few laughs at that ungodly hour of the day.

Swimming 3-5 miles, often without stopping, as frequently as I did in a 25 yard pool may not have been ideal training for an endurance race in a large almost ocean-like body of water, but it is what I had available to me. And man did it prepare me so well for one aspect of swimming that far – the head game. That is a long ass time to be alone with oneself. And that was the question I was asked more than any other – what on earth do you *think* about all that time?! Quite a lot. And sometimes, not much at all. I’d get home on Saturdays after the long, sustained swim and pretty much collapse on the couch for the balance of the day. Something I am fortunate to say my family tolerated with good-natured aplomb.

Indeed, the comfort of that pool bottom’s black line, the friendly faces, and hot shower waiting for me when I was done were handicaps, I knew. The Bay Swim is a solitary affair from the beginning  and beyond uncomfortable in most respects. Many people wear wetsuits and it is very much encouraged due to the safety issues involved. I have never swum in one though, and back in the olden days when I did this the first time, maybe a handful of people out of the 200 or so of us wore one. They didn’t make swimming wetsuits back then. That was a hot day with warm waters and out of all the things I remember that were hard and bad at the time, the water temperature and my comfort in staying afloat were not among them. The few people who had them wore the old style, thick heavy water ski suits with the big clips to hold them on. No thanks! But I definitely respect anyone who wears one now – it’s a safety issue foremost and that is the primary concern of anyone racing in this sort of event.

The race this year started off much later than in years past, at well into the lunch hour thanks to the timing of slack tide. I was super lucky and excited that I had my best friend M and her boy B, and my boy L, to help see me off this past Sunday. They took care of getting me where I needed to be, but more importantly they took care of my head, which was a horrible mess. I had spent the past two weeks having a near coronary and losing all ability to sleep because of one main issue: I was worried about a lightning storm canceling the race before I finished. At this point I knew there was no training for  this again! So the four of us got through the morning, we talked a lot, laughed about our similar strategies for playing Scrabble online (damn C and V with no two-letter word options!), the boys went swimming, and I cruised through the wait to the start in pleasant, relaxed company. The weather was fine though quite hot, and the forecast predicted, successfully it turned out, that storms would hold off until later in the day. Whew!

Sandy Point State Park, MD

Sandy Point State Park, MD

The race meeting promised good conditions for me and my 650 or so racing companions. We would be sent off in two waves – the first one with the slower swimmers like me and the second with the faster swimmers. This would ensure we’d all stay closer together to hit the slack tide just right and be easier to track. Tracking the swimmers is serious business – the Bay Race has an approximate one to one volunteer to swimmer ratio and safety is the chief concern of all involved. It showed – a fleet of boats and kayaks were out there to keep us in view.

Finally it was time. This was the moment I’d spent so many months obsessing about. I stood there on the beach in the scorching sand under the blazing sun and waited for the starting horn. This was definitely a moment where I was grateful not to be stuffed into black rubber! The horn blared and we were off. I hung back to let the “Cuisinart Start” get off ahead of me, and I set out in an easy breast stroke to get a feel for the water and my sense of direction. It was pretty calm, and a nice temperature for swimming. We had to swim from the beach in between two buoys about a half-mile out to get under and between the Bay Bridge spans. The critical swim rule remained the same as my first crossing – stay between the spans or you will be pulled. Sounds simple right? Yeah. Ha. No.

Fortunately that wasn’t a big issue until later. I made it past the marker and that is when I began moving underneath the beautiful bridge towers. I do have to say I recall that same moment many years ago and how overwhelming it was to look up and see those structures so high and so tall above me, and it was no less thrilling the second time. Just unbelievable! Very humbling and awe-inspiring. It was good for a jolt of adrenaline, even though I was also seeing the pink caps of the second-wave swimmers passing me.

Once I got between the spans the crowd thinned out and I found space to begin a nice freestyle along my way. It was surprisingly good and I began to tick off bridge pylons slowly but surely. Plenty of people passed me. I anticipated finishing no quicker than three hours so I had to shrug them off and try to enjoy myself. After a little bit I raised my head and saw the one-mile marker ahead – and it was farther out than I would have liked at that point. I put my head down and plowed onward, intent on being far beyond it once I looked up again. I also made a decision at that point not to look at my watch. The watch I’d specifically bought and wore so that I would know about how far I was from shore. It is funny how, even for a planner like me, at least some race strategy is often formulated about a quarter of the way or more into the thing!

I soon spotted the two-mile buoy and the balloons of the food/water boat and that felt great! I did not stop. As before, I set a goal of swimming straight past them. It was also near that time, though, that I realized that I was not where I thought I was. I had been dragged closer to the right side span and was caught in a sideways right-going current and a rising chop. I began to swim at that familiar angle, targeting the left span. The problem with this isn’t that it’s not doable, because it is. The problem is that it really messes with your head. The sensation one has of progressing forward is all but lost and a small sense of anxiety creeps in and settles for a stay. This is where those Thursday night sprint nights became all the more important. Careful to keep an even kick going I shortened my reach and increased my cadence – it began working but I was also where the pylons are further apart so finding progress was tricky. I finally made my way back more or less in the middle so I evened out a bit but kept an left angle going to avoid moving out to the right again.

To add even more color to the experience the water temperatures at this point seemed almost random and the swings were quite dramatic. I hit several good stretches of darker water, likely within the 250+ ft deep shipping channels, which were so cold they were numbing and like swimming in ice water. Weirdly, I would swim through one of these patches in mere moments, only to find myself in water so warm I had to fear the cause! Pollution? Human-sourced? Yuck. And then back to the ice water again. So it went. In fact the dividing line between some of these patches was so distinct, that several times I took a pull of the new, colder patch with my hand/arm and felt it spread the cold down me as I pushed it the length of my body, almost as if it was a different element all together. Super weird!

I was also taking on too much of this loveliness into my innards with the chop. At one point I lifted for a breath and got a big mouthful of what must have been pure fuel. It burned on the way down and I coughed it back out – blech. My throat ached after that and the taste of it stayed with me for another full day. It happened a few more times—so gross! I should say though that the Bay on the whole was noticeably cleaner than the last time I did this. It didn’t smell as bad, that is for sure.

Through all this, to my pleasant surprise, I was indeed actually making progress. I saw a few other swimmers. A couple of times I would be digging away and through the murky green I’d see feet! Creepy! And so I’d move aside and pass or let the other swimmer move on ahead. I saw plenty of kayaks within the spans and just beyond them as well. Finally I saw the three-mile buoy, but as I sighted it I noticed that I’d begun to swim through increasing swells. I had to wait to the top of the waves to be able to spot the jetty on the other side of the bay. Fortunately they were big enough that I could simply keep swimming as they rolled on, and do a mental back-pat for remembering to wear Sea-Bands and take half a Dramamine before embarking earlier. That all paid off and my stomach was never a factor, at least not from motion sickness. Again I hunkered down and swam through the third mile marker, feeling more tired at this point. My form began to wane considerably.

I think I’d always known that there’d come the time when I was really over it. Here, I reached that point. My back hurt, my arms hurt. But I’d been at this point in training quite a few times and that is when I knew I had to reach down and get beyond that feeling. I kept the left bridge in my same point of vision, dug each stroke deeper and pulled my arms back out higher, and conjured as many thoughts of my children as I could. Of my second son winning a handstand contest at one of his gymnastics meets, of hugging my daughter first thing in the morning and her warm soft cheek as I kissed it, of my older son’s pre-teen sly smile and attempts to play it cool when I tell him something good or fun, and of my third son’s exuberance over every little thing – including the prospect of dinner later that night at Hemingway’s at Kent Island. I thought of the sight of my friends and family waiting for me, and I began to envision walking out of this mess. Finishing. Dones-ville. It is coming, I told myself.

I finally popped my head up and, at the top of a swell, caught the four-mile marker. Yay! But, boo! I was now drifting the *other* way outside. And fast. At this point, I specifically recall I was working entirely out of my head. My body was spent. I was swimming so hard and clearly going nowhere. I saw the exit buoys – the spot at which you are to emerge from the spans and complete the last .4 mile along the exit jetty. I COULD NOT GET THERE. Holy shit. I think I actually said that out loud several times. No, I definitely did. It just wasn’t getting any closer. A kayaker floated next to me saying, helpfully (ugh), “Stay to the right.” Uh, yeah, trying! Time stood completely still and I must have churned more than a whole other mile of stroking my brains out to go maybe 30 feet? Oh man it was demoralizing. When I finally got past the right span I still had to round the front of the jetty and I was close to being thrown onto it by the waves. The gentle hills of rollers and swells had now become nothing short of a freaking washing machine. I felt like a solitary spaghetti noodle in a pot on high boil. It came at me from all sides and even beneath me! I tried breast-stroking at that point but it gave me too much information on my lack of forward progress so I put my face back in and forced my arms to keep digging harder. Hemingway’s was in sight. But not seeming to get any closer.

It was though. And during that complete chaos, I somehow managed to move forward. And just as quickly as the pockets of ice water popped up earlier in the day, my head swam into a space I’d barely allowed myself to dream about for the past year and a half … I was actually *almost done.* I came upon another swimmer who found terra firma and began walking. I wasn’t quite ready for that so I breast-stroked a while longer, taking in the view of the finish balloons and the people ahead of me climbing out onto the sand. I finally stood and began walking too – it was clear I could make faster progress that way, and frankly the thought at that point of putting my face back in the Bay was a non-starter. Thus, I continued. And finally I could see the faces of my people – my brother, hard to miss at well over six feet tall, and the others around him. I waved my arms hoping they’d see me and they did and began waving back.

I did it. I took off my green cap and my goggles, and I let the swell of joy and pride surge and fill up my insides alongside and in a happy marriage with the tired and the pain. The sense of it all rushed over me so quickly, and tears welled big as I climbed out onto the sand, over the timing mat.

IMG_0360

Finisher! (photo from CBMT Creative–and yes, she bought the pics!)

I became a little disoriented, and weirdly not quite sure what to do first – to rush out of the chute or to go to the fence to find my family and my friends. It was like I needed someone to tell me what to do. It was so strange. But then I saw them hurrying over in a small cheering and smiling pack to the fence and I could not get over there into their arms fast enough. Profoundly grateful.

And I may, or may not, have eaten a ham sub on my way to the firetruck shower. Only Billy knows for sure ;)

Running the lake trail: now with more lake!

For the first time in at least five years, the lake is full. Like touching-the-bottom-of-the-dock full. Like running-over-the-spillway full.

Lake levels began dropping in 2008ish, and by 2013 the water was so low all the boat ramps were out of the water. Last summer our boat buoy (which is supposed to float so we can tie the boat where it doesn’t bump into the dock) sat in a sad dry patch of guck ten feet short of the water line.

Clockwise from top left: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Clockwise from top left: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

IMG_1208

2014, 2015

But in May, it started to rain. The same storms that caused horrific flooding in Hays County and brought Lake Travis within ten feet of full (from about 33% of capacity, an increase of more than 35 feet–in a lake that’s more than 64 miles long) brought rains to our much-smaller lake too. An eight foot increase in a 100+ acre lake is less spectacular than Travis’ rise, but it means for the first time in five or six years– almost half of B’s life–not only is it full, nearby creeks are still sending runoff this way. I just keep staring at it like its a mirage. But no, there’s our boat, tied to the buoy next to the dock! And there’s water flowing over the spillway!

June 2015

June 2015

The downside to all of this? We haven’t used the house much in recent years, and it’s musty and dusty. I didn’t sleep well and was up at my usual Saturday long run time. So run I did.

The trail (technically it’s a road but it’s just rocky caliche, so “trail” is a more apt term) makes a three-mile loop around the lake neighborhood. I wasn’t sure if the road would be runnable after the rains, but it didn’t look too bad. Or at least no worse than usual. I had to negotiate a spot where incoming water still ran over the road, but it wasn’t deep. The rest of the way around, my biggest obstacles were the larger rocks and grooves deposited by the rushing water.

The first loop went pretty well. I was slow, but that’s the norm for me right now. My legs felt a little sore from Thursday’s five-mile run/walk and Friday’s at home Fitness Blender workout, but I ran the whole way. I saw deer, bunnies, ducks, and two very large, very dead spiders. But mostly I watched where I put my feet since the caliche was pretty uneven all the way around and the tall grass along the edge of the road looked way too snake-friendly. Stuff you don’t notice in a vehicle.

I refilled my water when I got back to the house. My stomach didn’t feel great and I contemplated stopping after one loop, but since it’s Saturday and I’m trying to maintain a five or six mile base distance, I thought bailing at three was lame. Yeah, that was a mistake.

Mile four went okay, and half of mile five was decent. But about the time I reached halfway around the lake, my stomach had become a mess. Running was Not Happening. It was all I could do to remain upright the rest of the way home. Sweaty and gross (and not a little nauseated), I curled up on my bed for a while. No idea how long that was. Ten minutes? Forty minutes? Beats me. Eventually the … distress … eased and I felt well enough to shower. After some breakfast I returned more or less to normal, albeit disappointed that I didn’t manage to run the complete six miles.

But with the boat in the water and food on the grill, I think I can get over it.

After the rain

This weather is confusing me.

Monday evening, we were delayed getting out of National Airport–for some reason our incoming plane was late, and then the whole airport was thrown off by a storm.

IMG_1182

We boarded about 20 minutes late, then were delayed another 20 minutes by the backlog on the tarmac. Fortunately we made up a lot of time and landed only a few minutes late. We got home around 9:30 pm, and with the travel, I missed Monday night’s core class.

Tuesday morning, I didn’t feel like doing anything but sitting down with a cup of coffee. That usually means no morning running–in June, if I don’t get out by 7ish, it’s already too warm to run. And it was later than that when I got up. But after an hour, the sky was overcast and drizzling, and I was more awake and coherent, so I decided to try anyway. And it wasn’t too bad. I ran the four-mile route through the park and around the reservoir trail and really only stopped for water and to cross (out and back) with the light.

Wednesday morning I woke up at 5am for my Fit to Run class. Because Tropical Storm Bill (side note: when did we start naming tropical storms?) threatened Central Texas overnight, Coach Robyn had modified things for an indoor-only workout. Lots of plank-based exercises, work with medicine balls and resistance bands, and she had these red balls that looked like elementary school kickball balls, but when I picked one up I almost dropped it because it was much heavier than I expected. We used those to perform something she called “radish pulls,” which meant putting the ball between my feet, then kicking the ball up to catch it. Yeah, the first time I did that, I fell backwards on my ass. The remaining nine times, however, I managed to catch the ball properly upright. Win!

Sara and I had tentative plans to run after class–it’s one of those things that sounds like a good idea until I’m actually faced with it. Ten minutes into class we looked at each other like, why did we think we’d feel like running after this? We decided to give it a shot anyway–just two miles. It was slow but not painful. I guess my muscles just considered it part of the workout and grudgingly went along with it.

Afterwards, we walked down to the Starbucks and I got my free birthday coffee. I don’t know about y’all but when I get a free one, there’s no other size than Venti, and why not throw in an extra shot too? I’m enjoying our little post-torture tradition (two weeks in a row is a tradition, right?) of sitting outside at 6:30am with a coffee and a friend.

Last week, we tried running five miles Thursday morning (AKA The Day After), and it was not successful. I mean, we completed it but it was miserable. It was hot and my legs were jello from the day before. The only saving grace was the trip through the sprinklers. Because I have a natural hatred for mornings, this week I suggested perhaps we try Thursday evenings instead. So tonight we’re meeting at 7, when the trail should be shady with the sun on its way down.

IMG_1186[1]

But despite its earlier fizzle, TS Bill dropped more rain and flooding on us last night, so I’m not sure if the trail will be passable all the way through from the YMCA to the sports park. I guess we will find out.