Tag Archives: exercise

Walking, running and catching Pidgeys in the park

11 Sep

I think I’ve been walking too much lately. And that’s really saying something because I walk a lot on a regular basis. I made it my goal this year to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. So far the only 2 days I haven’t met that goal were the days I lost while traveling to China, which involved waking up at 5am, sitting on a plane for 14 hours, then all of a sudden realizing it’s dinner time the next day and almost two entire days of my life were gone. Shower thought I had while jetlagged last month: if you moved to China from the U.S. and for whatever reason never went back to the U.S. to visit, you would lose 12 hours of your life (from the time change, not the plane ride. Though the plane ride could be seen as a waste of life too). Although on the flip side, if a Chinese person moved to America they’d be adding 12 hours to their life (13 if it wasn’t daylight savings time).

I was talking about walking, wasn’t I? Earlier this year I was averaging about 15,000 steps a day, but lately I’ve been doing 19,000 or 20,000. It’s a combination of half marathon training, Pokemon Go hunting, and just general weekend nice weather post-lunch strolling. I keep telling myself to take it easy so I can be at my best for my long runs, but there are a plethora of Pidgeys to be caught! (Another side note: I often find myself singing “Catching Pidgeys, catching Pidgeys in the park” to the tune of Spunge’s song Kicking Pigeons.  If I were better at singing, songwriting and Youtubing I could probably be making bank off this spoof song)

This half marathon has really snuck up on me! It hasn’t fully hit me that it’s a week from now. I did a 9-mile long run last week, my longest run to date, which was filled with excitement when I hit Constitution Hill and was told by a police officer to run through Green Park because there was an active crime scene ahead. When I came upon Buckingham Palace I saw an air ambulance helicopter!

buckingham palace helicopter.png

I can’t imagine the tourist hubbub when that landed. People were speculating about the health of the royals (obviously not remembering that the queen isn’t there in the summer, which is why the state rooms are open to tourists). It turns out there was a collision between a taxi and cyclist on Constitution Hill and the cyclist was being treated for life-threatening injuries. I don’t think they took him away in the helicopter though because it was still there when I circled back 30 minutes later. My 9 miles were relatively slow thanks to the hubbub and resulting “buckingham palace helicopter” googling (and OK, I may have also played a bit of Pokemon), but I did it! And I wasn’t too sore the next day either — I think I walked 18,000 steps. Today was supposed to be my last long run before the race, but I’m probably one of the few runners who doesn’t do her long runs on the weekend, so it’s 10 miles tomorrow. Then it’s grocery shopping and complaining about the heat on Tuesday (seriously, how is the high for Tuesday 88 F/ 31 C, it’s September, London!) and generally taking it easy until Sunday, September 18 (which in all likelihood means walking too much trying to hatch Pokemon eggs). Wish me luck!


Summer is the worst

7 Jun

Have I mentioned that I hate summer? Specifically running in the summer? I found this handy chart that explains how heat affects your running goals:

running temperatures.png

When I set out today at 1pm it was 79 degrees (26C), which according to the chart is “extremely oppressive” and I probably should have skipped the run. But instead I decided to just lower my mileage. Instead of my normal Tuesday long run, I’d do a “short” long run of 6 miles. I stopped in my usual spot to stretch and get my audio book started before I set off. I’ve been listening to audio books on my long runs to help me pass the time and power through. Right now I’m listening to Game Change, which is all about the 2008 US presidential election. I was looking forward to today’s listen because I had finally gotten to the Palin chapters. But when I opened up iBooks, Game Change was gone. So were all my other audio books. I hadn’t updated my operating system or synced my phone, so I couldn’t figure out why they disappeared when they were there yesterday. I clicked on a bunch of tabs and finally opened up the music app, thinking maybe they somehow got moved. That’s when I realized all my music was missing too! Apparently all my audio files on my phone can just magically disappear without touching anything.
not even mad amazingSo it was not a good start to my run. Luckily I had just reactivated my Spotify Premium subscription this morning, so I listened to Tegan and Sara’s new album as I plodded along. The heat and humidity were oppressive though, and my “I’ll just do 6 miles” turned into “I will be lucky it I can do 4 and not die.” 4 is still better than none though!

And I know what you’re thinking — why don’t you just run earlier? That’s the obvious solution. Except it’s not easy. I like running, but I like sleeping even more, and I’m pretty sure getting a good night’s sleep is the healthiest thing you can do for your body. I could run first thing after I wake up like a lot of people do, but I don’t like running on an empty stomach. I’ve got a good system going that involves waking up, eating my overnight oats, working for a few hours, and then running. Why you gotta try to mess it all up, summer weather?

I’m experimenting with my summer running kit and added two new items: a visor and wrist bands. I picked them both up in the golf section of Sports Direct. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I never understood the purpose of wrist bands until about two weeks ago. Sweat bands I get — they keep the sweat off your face, but wrist bands? Do they keep the sweat off your hands? Who gets sweaty wrists? But then I saw someone using them in a workout video and realized you use them to wipe away and absorb sweat from your face. Seems like a better idea than just using a tissue like I’ve been doing. I got the visor to protect my face from the sun. I always wear sunglasses and sunscreen, but lately I’ve been noticing more freckles and wrinkles on my face than I’d like and was hoping the visor would help. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of both my new kit items. The visor helps a little, but it also adds an additional layer to my already overheated head. The wrist bands work OK, but not with the visor as the brim prevents my wrist from reaching my sweaty forehead. They also got a little wonky when I put them in the washing machine even though I let them air dry. Alas.

pug exercise

(When I got home I synced my phone with my computer and all my audio files came back, which is good, but I’m still curious how it happened in the first place and worried that it could happen again. I’m also mad I lost my place in Game Change. I am blaming summer for all of this.)

The Great Walk of London 2016

19 May

Stephen Facetimed me this evening as I was walking in Hyde Park.

“Are you running?” he asked.

“No,” I replied. “I’m walking. I’ve been walking for six hours now.”

And because he knows me, his first question was not “Why?!” but, “Where have you been going to the bathroom?”

The Great Walk of London 2016 happened, my friends. And it was glorious.

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Conversations I have with myself regarding running

10 May


“Alright, time to run!”

“But it’s hot.”

“Of course it’s hot, it’s July!”

“Um, it’s not July, it’s early May. You’ve been thinking about your upcoming trip to the US too much.”

“Wow, yeah it is unseasonably hot for May. But is there anything you can do about it?”

“I can complain!”

“Does that make it less hot?”


“So let’s run!”

….10 minutes into run….

“Dear god it’s hot, can I stop?”

“Will continuing to run cause injury?”


“Are you literally going to die or pass out, or just white-girl-just-found-out-about-Starbucks’-new-S’mores-Frappuccino gonna die?”

“…white girl.”

“Push on. The faster you run, the faster you get home and can shower and eat Japanese food. You love Japanese food!”

“Yeah I haven’t had it in forever!”

“…you just had sushi in the park 2 days ago.”

“Yeah but it wasn’t a bento box. I haven’t had a bento box in forever.”

“You had one last weekend.”

“It’s so hot, can I stop?”

“Are you injured?”

The conversation repeated, but I actually managed a decent run. I accepted that it was going to be hot and I was going to be a sweaty mess and I pushed through. Sunday, however…


….3 minutes into run….

“Sweet baby George why is it so freaking hot out?”

“Because it’s July or May or whatever, remember? British summer will be over soon, as will this run if you keep pushing.”

“I’m so hot, I hate this weather! Why does anyone like this? This is so miserable! Can I stop??”

“Will continuing to run cause injury?”


“That doesn’t answer the question.”

its so damn hot.gif

“I give up, you can walk. Just know that when you stop to walk for whatever reason it makes you sweat more, so good luck with burning sunscreen sweat in your eyes.”

milk was a bad choice.gif

“You’re hopeless. What are you gonna do if it’s above 60 degrees in September when you attempt to run the half?”

awkward will ferrell.gif

will ferrell angry eyes

Tuesday (Today)

“Alright, it’s Tuesday, long run day! You took yesterday off to grocery shop and properly carbo-loaded with fried rice for dinner and peanut butter banana oatmeal for breakfast, let’s do this!”

“Um, it’s raining.”

run might rain.png

“But it’s finally not butt-hot, isn’t this what you wanted? Maybe we don’t need to do a long ‘long run’ — we can just do 5 miles.”

“OK… how about 4 miles though?”

“That’s fine, just get out there!”

“But it’s raining. I don’t want to bring my phone, it’ll get wet.”

“So leave it, have a nice ‘unplugged’ run!”

“But what if I slip in a puddle and need to call for help or an Uber?”

“Just be careful and don’t go that far. How about just 3 miles?”

“How about I just stay in and do an Insanity Max 30 workout. I’ll really push myself, I promise!”

…..12 minutes into 30-minute workout….

“Can I stop?”

panda facepalm.gif

My first real long run

16 Feb

Today I ran 7.3 miles. Seven! That’s almost 12 km. Until today the longest I’d ever run was 10K (6.2 miles). I want to say I did it because I’m following a strict half marathon training plan, but I’m not. If I do sign up for the half it isn’t until September and most training plans are only 10 or 12 weeks. I did it because it was a beautiful sunny day (a balmy 43F/6C degrees), I ate way too much cake and chocolate over the past few days, but mostly because I wanted to see if I could. And I did! Not only that, but I did it well — though my legs were getting a bit tired by the end, part of me wanted to go longer. I even ended up with negative splits! (Translation: I ran the last few miles faster than the first few). It was such a refreshing feeling, especially after my disaster of a run last week.

I think part of what got me going was the new route. I ran through Hyde Park down to Green Park and Buckingham Palace then through St. James Park. The change of scenery was nice, though it seems every other Londoner and tourist was out and about enjoying the weather too, so I had to do a lot of weaving and dodging. I did manage to see the famous St. James Park pelicans, though none of them were eating a pigeon.

st james pelicans.png

Then I stopped to take a photo of Buckingham Palace to prove I was there, but the combination of the glaring sun, my tinted sunglasses and gloved fingers gave me this:

blurry buckingham palace.png

I didn’t even realize it was blurry until I got home. I snapped 5 photos and this was the only halfway decent one.

buckingham palace.png

We’ll see how I feel tomorrow, but right now I feel good. I did fall asleep for 20 minutes while working with my laptop on my lap this afternoon, so I guess I was a bit exhausted, then later on I wanted to eat ALL THE THINGS, but hopefully my hips and legs will not be too sore tomorrow and I can make long runs a regular thing.

Running spitting etiquette

8 Feb

no spitting signOn Sunday Stephen and I were doing our usual morning run. We were stopped at a light when an old British woman approached us and said, “Young lady, do you think we appreciate you spitting on our pavement? Don’t you have a handkerchief you could use?” I just stared back at her. I was expecting her to ask me the time or the location of the nearest bus stop, not to chastise me for spitting.

I will admit spitting is gross. I would never do it while out and about in regular clothes. But when running it’s often one of those gross necessities, like snot rockets. (Oh, if only she had seen me do that…) I quickly muttered “next time,” as if I was seriously going to carry a spit collection cup on my next run, and jogged on. Part of me wishes I had told her to jog on (British for “go away,” used as expression of anger or irritation).

Stephen told me not to let it bother me, and I tried not to, but as we jogged on I couldn’t help but think of cheeky replies, from the downright mean to the practical. Of all the things people do to desecrate the pavement — like throw down cigarette buts and gum and let their dogs leave landmines, at least my spit was washed away by the rain today. That old lady would have a field day in China, where not only is someone spitting every 5 seconds, but it’s accompanied by a wretched deep hacking sound.

A quick google search told me that almost all runners feel the need to spit, and it’s perfectly OK as long as you mind your trajectory and don’t hit another person. That same search also pulled up that spitting used to be seriously monitored and prohibited in Westminster because it spread TB. *The more you know* So maybe crotchety old lady was just concerned about my health and the health of those around her.

…Or she’s just a crotchety old lady who has nothing better to do than nitpick. In that case she can jog on.

Running in Kentucky vs. London

11 May

It seems I only ever visit Kentucky when it’s freeze-your-fingers-off or sweat-your-face-off weather. Neither of which is very conducive to running. It’s been certified butt-hot (mid to upper 80s) in Florence, Kentucky, which has forced me to run first thing in the morning instead of my usual 2 to 3 hours after breakfast. I’ve been back in the U.S. almost two weeks now and I’m still riding the jet lag train. If there is such a thing as good jet lag, it’s GMT to EST. I’ve been going to bed early and waking up early, which works well with my parents’ schedules as well as my work and running. The only time it wasn’t so great was this past weekend when I won free tickets to the comedy club that were only valid at the 10:30 pm show. My constant yawning was not a reflection of the comedian’s material.

When I left London, the weather was perfect, the terrain was flat, and I had one of my fastest runs yet:

London fast run
I’m usually happy if I can maintain a 10 min pace or just under, so sub-9 min was amazing for me (though I did pause it at stoplights).

And then I arrived in Kentucky, where there is heat, humidity and hills. This was my run two days after the one above:

Kentucky slow run
Things really went downhill after that first mile (or uphill I should say). Although I compared the elevation maps of my runs in London and Kentucky and couldn’t find much difference… but reading elevation is not my forte.


London run elevationKentucky:

Kentucky run elevationI think I’m going to do a local 5K on Saturday. I really want to get an official sub-30 min 5K time. I’ve done it many times on my London runs, but this time there will be hills and no stoplight pauses. I’m always encouraged by my Facebook friends’ running posts, photos and times. There are even times when I’m lying in bed and most certainly not running that I think maybe I could run a half marathon one day. Maybe that’s something I should put on my bucket list. And then I run the thought by myself again mid-uphill run, sweat dripping from places I didn’t know could sweat, and I think “maybe you should focus on running 3 miles without dying first.” Baby steps.