Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Basic Rules of the Road

Since sunrise has been getting later and later in the morning, I've found myself running around 7:00 a.m., instead of the 5:30 a.m. of the summer months. And, I've come to the conclusion that early morning drivers are far more considerate of objects (especially humans) in the crosswalk than drivers later in the morning. Take this morning for example, when I was almost hit twice in the same intersection when the little crosswalk man symbol was blazing plain as day.

Offender #1: High school girl. I agree that the ability to turn right at a red light is awesome. I take advantage whenever possible. However, you don't get to turn right on red when there's a runner stepping into the crosswalk. I hope my mad face and "Watch it!" woke you up for the rest of your drive to school.

Offender #2: Mom in too-large SUV with kids in the car (!!!). Yes, green still means go. But, you need to realize that the crosswalk signal is also telling pedestrians moving in the same direction as traffic to go. So, if you're turning right, you gotta hold your horses for five seconds and let me get across before lurching into the intersection. Good driving lessons you're teaching those kids by the way.

It infuriates me when a run turns into a game of Frogger. And, it's not like I'm running blindly into traffic. I wait patiently on the curb to cross when I have the signal. During that time, you'd think they had noticed me standing there, sipping my water, waiting to go. Are we really in that much of a hurry? Is squeezing through the intersection in front of a runner or biker really going to get you to work or school that much more quickly? The correct answer here is "No."

I've definitely become more conscientious of my driving around bicycles and pedestrians of all types since I started running. I give them a wide berth, pause to let them cross in front of me, because I know they appreciate it! Especially when 90% of other drivers really and truly either don't notice them or don't care about their safety...that was a totally scientific percentage made up off the top of my head by the way...

Stay safe out there!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's Official

My official bib number for the Chicago Marathon arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon. I'll be runner 10458. My new luck number! It all seems so much more a reality than it did even a few weeks ago. I'm officially into the first week of taper (not so different from a step back week), so all I can do is hope I'm ready. It makes me nervous just thinking about it. If I feel this excited and scared now, I can only imagine what race morning will feel like!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Yep, I'm Still Alive...

Thought I'd check in so you all didn't think Saturday's 20 miler had been the death of me. Just a few thoughts for you on this Wednesday:

1. I made it through 20 miles, no problem. It wasn't quite as transcendent an experience as the previous week's 18, but I did it, in a decent time, with no injuries. Can't ask for more than that. Why did I do 20 when I was only scheduled for 19? I know at least 10% of running is mental. And, for me, knowing that my longest pre-marathon run was scheduled to be 20, left me wondering how I'd feel about knowing there's 6.2 left when I hit that point on race day. For me, knowing there's 5 or even 4 miles left will seem more doable. See, it's all mental. So, next weekend when I'm supposed to do 20, I'm going to aim for 21-22. Just to make myself feel better. Of course, I'll listen to my body and stop sooner if things feel out of whack.

2. I had a small epiphany around mile 18 on Saturday. My feet hurt, my knees felt like they didn't want to bend any more, my legs felt heavy. The light bulb moment? What no one bothers to tell you (or me, anyway) is that marathon training isn't just about training to be able to cover the distance. It's about learning to deal with discomfort (not "ouch, something's not okay" pain, just the normal "I'm sick of running" fatigue and soreness) and to keep moving.

3. Cooler temps = faster legs? My splits have gone back to normal in the past couple of weeks, even a little faster some days. So, it's either the cooler weather, or my fitness level has made another (unexpected) jump up. Either way, I'll take it! Anyone else in the Midwest loving the advent of fall?

4. B. and I, in a moment of rare spontaneity, booked a couple of last minute tickets and spent Labor Day weekend in Chicago to hang out with one of his college BFFs. It was a whirlwind weekend of fun, friends, and food. It was exactly what I needed to recharge. Plus, in a flash of brilliance, when I signed up for PTO from work on Friday, I also signed up for Tuesday off. So, instead of getting back to the grind yesterday like the rest of the world, I took one more leisurely day to get things back in order around here. Amazing.

5. The day we returned from Chicago, I read a disturbing news story about 5 separate attacks on students at the university near our house. A couple were robbed, and a couple were robbed and sexually assaulted. The attacks had taken place mostly between midnight and 2 a.m., but I often start my long runs just a few hours later while it's still twilight. Luckily, the police caught the guy yesterday. Still, it was a sobering reminder to be vigilant.  I'm pretty paranoid about stuff like that, so I'm hyper-aware of my surroundings. I hope to project a "way more trouble than she's worth" vibe to anyone with bad intentions. B. tried to get me to buy pepper spray. To me, that seems like more trouble than the good it might do. What, would I run with it in my hand? I already carry a hand-held water bottle. If I kept in a belt, that would be ridiculous: "Hold on, sir, while I access my pepper spray...okay, you can resume your attack; I'm ready."  What do you all do? How do you plan for your safety while out on the road?

Have a wonderful short work week!