Monday, August 31, 2015

I'm just going to talk about my dog

Begin week 3:
3 miles

I don't feel like talking about my run.  That's just going to get boring if I do that every time, and this blog is already kind of dull.  At this point, my dog is the best thing in my life.  Meet Oscar.
As I mentioned in my first post, I like to do my cool downs with Oscar.  I get up, feed him, run, and then walk him.  When I come in, he's sitting in his crate, looking at me, at the ready, like this:

Then I let him out (he still has trouble calming down enough to sit and wait while I put on his harness and open the door), and we walk a few blocks, about a half mile.  I don't actually know what the prescribed distance or mode of cool down I'm supposed to do, but this has been working out so far.

When we get back home, I sit on the porch and stretch.  In Oscar world, when I sit on the ground to do butt stretches, it means it's time for snuggles.  It's a pretty common occurrence for him to need as much of his body touching as much of my body as possible, no matter what.

I actually found a description of temperament in bull terriers, which I think Oscar has in him.  It basically describes exactly the way Oscar is: "The Bull Terrier is a fun, comical, people-loving dog.  They are known to be courageous, scrappy, fun-loving, active, clownish, and fearless.  They enjoy being around people, sometimes a little too much, and can prove positively dangerous to people of a delicate nature, not through malicious intent, but rather through their exuberance."  That's basically Oscar to a T.  He's a good buddy.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


I didn't realize at first that my training program wasn't as strict as it seemed.  I had to call my sister once to make sure it wasn't a bad thing for me to do an ab workout or go climbing on a "rest" day.  She said, "no - that's called cross-training!"  Perfect.  My brother even explained that the training programs for things like a half marathon are meant to be a general buildup of distance, so there's one long run every week.  That makes it less of a big deal if you skip a day or something.  In my brother's words, "modifying the plan will not screw you over. It'll just modify the plan."

So I went climbing today, because the local bouldering place had free climbing.  I destroyed my hands in the process, which is what I get for not climbing in months, but that's always been totally worth it when it comes to climbing.  That and ultimate frisbee are my two favorite forms of exercise.  It's weirdly satisfying, actually, to get those horrible wounds on my hands from climbing, because I like to think of it as one step closer to those tough calluses that make every climbing route easier!  I'm actually already making plans to climb and play frisbee as soon as I get settled up in the Northeast.  Just today, I told my bro that I would play on his Fall ultimate team, which gives me the first actual concrete thing waiting for me up there.  Baby steps.

In Which I Get Lost in City Park

End of Week 2:

Yesterday was my first five-mile run...for the training program I'm doing, yes, but also probably ever.  It was pretty great actually; all of my runs in the last two weeks have been absurdly beautiful, because I've got Bayou St. John and the Jefferson Davis Trail AND City Park, all accessible to my house.  That's what I'm the most bummed about leaving behind in New Orleans at this point.  The runs can be miserable because of the heat, although lately, if I get up early enough, I can get back home before it gets too far above 80.  But the scenery on my runs really makes up for all that.  It's glorious.

Anyway, with the added mile from last week, I had to venture into City Park today, instead of stopping just short of it.  I like to end my runs close to home, so I can walk my dog, Oscar, as a cool-down.  Because of this, I just run half the distance I need to go that day and then loop around.  Running on the bayou, that's easy; I just cross the nearest bridge and go back down the other side of the water.  Things weren't so easy once I got to City Park.

Once inside City Park, it's a labyrinth of randomly criss-crossing paths and roads and bridges and water that have no logical pattern whatsoever.  It doesn't help that the park itself has no concrete shape and is slightly angled Eastward.  You think you're running around the edge and then suddenly you're on the other side of some body of water looking at a monument you've never seen before, and you don't know how to get back where you came from.

Perhaps those of you who have better senses of direction than I do don't have this problem, but I find it ridiculous.  Anyway,  I ran around the sculpture garden and NOMA and wasn't at the 2.5mi. mark yet, so I had to keep going before I turned around.  There's nothing more monotonous than running around in circles until you hit your mileage's the same reason running on a track sucks.  I crossed a bridge, found what seemed to be a running trail, and suddenly had no idea where I was.  I just kind of had to keep going until I saw something I recognized.  I hit 2.5mi. and tried to loop around instead of just running back where I'd come from.  Big Mistake.  After several minutes of this disorientation, I finally had to stop and ask some strangers, "does anyone know where the sculpture garden is?"  If I got back there, I could get home.  Of course, it was about 100 feet from where I was, blocked by a building and some trees.

I felt like I'd gone super far into the park because of how long it took me to get out, but when I looked at the map, I realized that I hadn't even scratched the surface.  I'm really glad I won't have to deal with the whole park when it comes to the longer runs a few weeks from now...