Tag Archives: run

Why you shouldn’t text and run

18 Jan

I pride myself on my ability to multitask while on the move. Every day I play Songpop while walking around getting Fitbit steps and am constantly flinging Pokeballs while running. But as I was walking around playing Songpop after dinner tonight, I realized my knees were hurting a little. And then I remembered what happened this morning.

Every driver thinks they can text and drive — until they get into an accident. I thought I could text and run. Until today. I was running along the Thames, having just caught a rare Lapras in Victoria Embankment Gardens, and was heading up to Green Park where another Lapras had spawned. I don’t normally run south on Victoria Embankment, though I obviously knew what direction I was going. So when I got a text from Stephen, I didn’t look up before replying — I could sense there were no people in front of me, just a guy running right behind me. However, I could not see that there was a bridge support column right in my path, and so I ran into it. Literally. At 6 miles an hour.
running into wall.gif

dog wall.gif

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Luckily I hit the lower part of the column pictured below, so I bent at the waist and only my knees crashed into the concrete.
embankment column.png
The whole experience was so completely disorienting and shocking that all I could do was laugh. I’m dying to know what the guy running right behind me was thinking. Probably “Stupid kids and their phones! I bet she was playing Pokemon!” (For the record I was, but not at that instant.) My knees hurt initially, but not enough to make me call it quits and walk home (I had another Lapras to catch, after all!). I’m really lucky I was not seriously injured. There’s a lesson to be learned here — probably “don’t text or play Pokemon while running and always stay aware of your surroundings,” but I’ll just stick with “only text and play Pokemon while running if you’re absolutely sure there are no obstacles ahead.” (Baby steps!)

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Jelly Babies, corgis and running achievements

15 Mar

The very first British candy I ever tried was Jelly Babies. My dad traveled to the UK for work in 2002 and brought me back a host of cool British souvenirs — a die-cast right-hand drive lime green Beetle, a Meat Loaf and Friends CD not available in the US, and Jelly Babies.
jelly babies running fuelI remember thinking how weird and foreign they tasted. Their colors were so dull thanks to the natural coloring and flavoring. And they were covered in this weird white powder (which I later learned is starch, which helps release them from the mold at the factory). Still, my family gobbled them up.

Surprisingly, I haven’t had Jelly Babies since — or at least until today.

When I first got into running I swore to myself I would never run a distance that required me to “fuel” while on the run. I lied. While the length of distance that requires fueling is up for debate (some running pros don’t even fuel during half marathons) and my 5, 6 or 7-mile runs probably don’t require fuel, I wanted to experiment to see how “fueling” would affect me. Most runners use energy gels, which are basically just sugar — expensive sugar. You know what else is basically just sugar? Jelly Babies. According to various UK running blogs and forums, Jelly Babies are quite the popular running fuel. And they’re downright cheap — I got a bag at Aldi for 59p (84 cents).

So I wrapped up 2 Jelly Babies in plastic wrap, stuck them in my pocket, and set off to do 7 miles around Buckingham Palace and St. James Park. I ate the Jelly Babies around mile 4.5 and 5 while stopped at lights. They tasted even more magical than I remembered, but that also could be because I was hungry for anything. It was only when I ate one several hours after I got home that I realized how sickeningly sweet they are. It may have been a little placebo effect, but I was able to dig deeper and really push myself the last 2 miles of my run. A 7-mile run probably doesn’t require fuel, but if it helps a little, I’ll take any excuse to eat candy I can get.

I can’t believe I’ve waited this long in the post to mention it: In St. James Park I saw not one, not two, but THREE CORGIS! THREE! Two of them were together and then I saw another, different one on my way out of the park. As always, I tried to stealthily snap a photo, but this is the kind of photo you get when you don’t stop running:

corgis st james park

I really need to stop being so shy and just talk to the owners, even if I usually am a sweaty mess.

Speaking of being a sweaty mess, I also need to share this running achievement:

march 13 run

On Sunday Stephen and I had our first sub 9-min/mile pace 4-mile run. It was also my first sub-8 min mile. While on most of my runs I’m just happy to stay under 10-min miles, it felt really good to push myself. I wanted to die by the end, but it’s good to know that I’m capable of going faster. As the guy at the running store said almost 3 years ago (!) now, I’m a better runner than I think I am.

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.

Thanksgiving Day Race Recap with pugs and corgis

3 Dec

I did it! After months of sprinting on the track, huffing it up Primrose Hill, and crapping out on 4-mile weekend runs, prompting Stephen to say, “There’s no way you’ll finish that 10K in under an hour,” I did it — I ran the Thanksgiving Day Race in 58 minutes and 49 seconds — a whole minute and 11 seconds faster than my goal.

It was really the perfect race in all aspects — the weather was ideal (50 F instead of the usual 25 F), my playlist was killer, and I saw a pug at the starting line and two corgis along the course. Years ago I declared that a pug sighting automatically improved the quality of my day, so it was a good omen to start the race with one. I also declared that races should have corgis along the way to make me run faster, and there they were — two corgis — on the side of the course cheering us on! However they didn’t make me run faster because I briefly slowed down to take their photo. I decided this race nothing was going to slow me down — I had various mantras I kept repeating in my head, from Shaun T’s “Dig deeper!” and “Never sacrifice form” to¬†Enrico Pollini from Rat Race:

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I also really wanted to prove to myself (and Stephen, who runs with me the most) that I am capable of digging deeper and reaching my goal. But when there is a corgi along the race course you cannot not take a photo. (Pics or it didn’t happen, right?) So I got this blurry pic and took off again:

thanksgiving day race corgis.png

As I ran my family was texting me from the finish line, letting me know a guy won the race in 30:39 (how??) and that the very pug from the starting line was standing near them.

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Not only that, but there was a corgi puppy nearby too!

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I wasn’t able to find my family or the pug and corgi after I finished since I was on a mission to get to the snacks by the stadium, but the thought of the pug and corgi (and OK, my family too) waiting for me helped me to push through on the hills.

I was elated that I finally reached my goal, but now there’s that “what now?”. Each year I shaved about 3 min off my 10K time — do I try for 55 min next year? But this race was so good I’m not sure I want to run it again next year (or if I’ll even be in town). When I brought up my “what now?” conundrum to my runner friend, she replied immediately: “You gotta run a half!” It’s always been in the back of my head that I want to tackle a half marathon before I turn 30. So many runners of varying sizes and abilities have done it — why not me? The London Half is in October, so I’ve got 310 days to decide and prepare. In the meantime I’ve “registered my interest” and have been carboloading as only Americans during the holidays know how.