If you carefully look all the way to the right, you can see the back of my head and my left shoulder.
Today I ran in the 3 Mile Smile in Cleveland Heights. I managed to control my obsession with round numbers and cross the finish line in 24:59. A new personal best! So far I'm two-for-two in 5Ks in terms of both crossing the finish line and (more importantly) getting the t-shirt.

I got to do that thing where you grab the cup from the water station, take a couple sips, and then dump the remainder over your head. That's my favorite part of the racing. My least favorite part came when I had reached the top of the hill on Cedar between Fairmount and Coventry, my heart pounding, my breathing raspy, and I get passed by some guy pushing a baby stroller. The runner next to me turned to me and said, "Don't you just hate it when that happens?"

I didn't win any prizes, in either the race or the raffle, but I got the t-shirt and the satisfaction. After the race, one of the race sponsors had arranged with the bar hosting the award ceremony to open up the taps with complimentary draft beer. Now that's something I had never suspected I'd need as a runner: a designated driver.
I ran in my first 5K today. I expected, based on past treadmill performances, to finish in thirty to thirty-two minutes, so I surprised myself by finishing at 26:30 -- and it is a tribute to the strength of my slight tendency towards Asperger's that even as exhausted as I was, I sprinted the last fifteen or twenty feet before the finish line so I could end on a round number. They (no Google citation for "they") say to run the first third of a race with your brain, the second with your legs, and the last third with your heart; well, by the time I'd gotten two-thirds done, both my brain and my legs were spongy soft jelly spilling out across the course. They had volunteers manning stopwatches at each mile marker, and based on my times in each third, my heart is a lot further behind both my brain and my legs. It probably didn't help that the course went right by the local Ben & Jerry's.

Still, despite running low on gas in that third mile, I'm very happy with my time. I was, however, still to be disappointed. The organizers of the race were awarding plaques to the top three finishers in each age group, and while there were no males in the 20-24 group, two in the 25-29 group, and just one between thirty-five and thirty-nine, there were, I can attest, at least four in my age group. Which is probably for the best. I figured, just after the second mile marker, that right now I must be in my peak physical condition, or at least one of the more desirable Nielsen demographics, and it's all downhill from there. And had the course in fact been all downhill from that mile marker, I might have finished in 26 minutes!
St. Petersburg: the city that totters along atop its three-inch fuck-me heels. Yes, the former Leningrad dolls itself up in miniskirts and shortshorts and decolletage and thus goes into the category of places I'd like to visit without my mother. Though I suspect it's tough on men here: I walked in front of two women practicing English break-up lines. "Don't put your trip on me," one would lightly accentedly say. "Don't put your trip on me," repeated the other. Then after some staccato Russian, "Drama." "Drama." "Crisis-drama." "Crisis-drama." More Russian. "I don't need this crisis-drama," the first declared. "Good-bye."

Speaking of abject humiliation, [ profile] nzraya is somewhere in this city for another few hours, and it's looking like we're not going to get to rendezvous after all. I suppose I could make an effort to track her down, but as if I need that crisis-drama!
Today, I ran ) for 28 minutes, being in the middle of the eighth week of the Couch-To-5K nine-week plan. Of course, as I've been following the designated times rather than the designated distances, and as I've been "pacing myself," I'm not quite on track for five kilometers next week, as, according to the Gmap Pedometer, I ran only 2.38 miles. All of it, I might add, was uphill. It amazes me, but until I started running I had no idea that I could leave my house and travel a complete circuit through the neighborhood without ever descending. Apparently I live on a moebius strip. Today's more linear route was my attempt to limit the amount of climbing I would have to do: I spent much of it following the watershed of one of the ancient creeks. And yet still my body sends the message: "THIS IS UPHILL" while my brain divides the route into treacherous hills, steep climbs, steady uphill grades, and the occasional short stretch of almost, but not quite, sheer cliff face.

One thing that running has taught me is that my brain, much as I have trusted it over the years, doesn't always have my best interests at heart. Given half an hour of leisure time while my body and I are off jogging, it does nothing but concoct reasons why we should just go back to bed. For example, on Thursday, after about nine minutes of running and the hill out of the creekbed that I'm now sure is, if not K2, then at least K-twenty or twenty-five, my right Achilles' tendon issued a sensation. Not pain, not even discomfort, just a sensation. My body relays this to me as, "Uh, your Achilles' tendon would like you to know that it's here, and, on the whole, it would rather be sitting in a jacuzzi." Well, my brain overhears this, and it starts screaming, "It's going to SNAP and you'll be CRIPPLED and in a WHEELCHAIR and they better find a DOUBLE-WIDE WHEELCHAIR 'cause you'll be FAT ANYWAY so you should GO HOME and read the internet but DON'T POST or COMMENT because NO ONE WANTS TO READ YOU . . . " Meanwhile, my Achilles' tendon has long ago messaged "kthxbye!" and my body is wrapped up in trying to get over what we had previously believed to be a nice rolling lane but which evidence now suggests is a seriously disoriented Himalaya.

So my interest was piqued . . .  )
I don't care what any damn quiz says; I'm "That's one spunky little girl you've raised. I'm gonna eat her."

Actually, the above quiz did contain one interesting self-revelation. After I puzzled over which music genre to pick as my favorite (bluesy eclectic post-psychedelic proto-funk not being on the list), I got to the question "how would YOU describe yourself?" I immediately selected "Powerful, intense, and all around fuckin' awesome." Then I thought about it a little and chose "Not that great. You're not even sure why people hang out with you." Then I switched back. Then I decided that I could be considered, "honest, upbeat, and bright"; some even consider me "romantic, loyal, and loving" or even, just possibly, "strong, determined, and capable."

Of course, it's no surprise that I would contain all these multitudes: I am all around fuckin' awesome! I don't know what you people could possibly get out of reading this.



April 2009

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