Jan 28, 2010

Thursday: Do you think?

Only recently, I realized that I barely think while running. For most parts of the run my mind goes blank. Do people think much while running?

I had two runs today. A quick two mile run in the afternoon and an evening 9 mile run. Today evening was especially cold -- we're in the 20s -- and I didn't layer up properly for it. So, it was a long cold run and by the end of it my fingers were like frozen fish sticks.

Distance: 9mi    Time: 01:14:02

Jan 26, 2010

Tuesday: Escape to the Fort

Baltimore's great weather streak seems to be ending and it was a cold day today but I was so grateful to be out there running after a rough day at school. Today especially sucked. A paper I had submitted to a conference got rejected and I woke up in the morning reading the rejection email. So after sulking all morning and getting busy in the afternoon, I finally managed to get through this day. There was nothing else I would rather do on such a lousy day other than go for a nice run. There are somethings I can depend on in life to cheer me on, like mom, and running.

The temperature was in the low 30s with a mild breeze and it felt perfect to go for a late night run to the harbor, fort and back. The traffic was thin but I should be careful on these late night runs. Today I was so close to be knocked down by a reckless driver speeding in the opposite direction!

Distance: 14.10mi    Time: 02:01:34

Jan 24, 2010

Sunday: Fort and Canton

I am not a morning person! This is very bad if you've scheduled a morning run with me. I slept through all the alarms I set and woke up like five minutes before I had to leave. I suspect getting to bed at 3am had something to do with it. A panic call to Jay and we decided to run almost 45 mins later. I suck at getting up in the mornings and appreciate Jay for his patience. On marathon days when the race begins early am, I usually end up staying up all night which is bad. I ought to figure out a way to get sleep on-demand without resorting something like melatonin.

Distance: 21.14     Time: 02:49:54

Anyways, the run began nicely once I got started. I met Jay at his place and continued running towards Fort McHenry, five loops around the fort, then to Canton before heading back. My Garmin is missing part of the run and not sure what's going on. The battery seems alright but whenever it loses satellite reception it does not resume after the reception becomes available requiring a manual restart. For instance, in today's run it shows (pic on left) me flying over water, blue line, while I actually retraced my path. After adding this distance correction (1.28 miles), today's run was a little over 21 miles. Post run drink was 1/2 quart buttermilk. Lunch followed shortly. I'm now ready to hit the books.

Jan 23, 2010

Saturday: Raison d'courir

Why do you run? That question feels somewhat pointless like "Why do you eat?" or "Why do you breath?" Okay I am wrong about equating eating and breathing with running. Some people do run for a reason. Working towards a race goal? Running away from being the person you are? Running towards the person you want to be? Trying to forget something? Hoping to remember something? Rest of us run without a reason. Why should everything have a purpose? I often run when I can't think of anything else to do. I often run when I'm stuck in my research and don't know what to do as if I'm telling myself that I'm going somewhere even when I'm stuck.

Today morning I woke up with a complete blank mind as if I was coming out of a coma. I kept lying on the bed, staring at the ceiling, thinking what I should do. Today was my rest day but I was sure of one thing -- if there was one thing that will get me out that bed it would be running. So, I did a tiny run to get my day started.

Jan 22, 2010

Friday: Weatherman is wrong!

Thankfully. After news about snow pellets, rain and what not, today turned out to be another beautiful day. The temperature was at a comfortable 39 degrees with very little wind. I did go running in my shorts & a t-shirt this evening and found people in coats, hoodies etc staring at me as if I were crazy. Did the usual route of going to the harbor, half way to Fort McHenry and back, all the way playing hopscotch over uneven pavements, rigged up sidewalks, and scattered traffic cones. I was feeling good, the weather was awesome and I really had no reason to stop. But I did. After all shouldn't we pass the marshmallows, delay gratification, for success?

Distance: 12:08   Time: 01:38:28

Jan 21, 2010

Thursday: Morning run

Evenings are my favorite time to run but today evening will be held up due to a social commitment. So, I did a short morning run today. Baltimore pavements look worse in the morning! I live in a good neighborhood and I was shocked to find the pavements littered with dog poop in the morning. What's wrong with you people? Pick up after your dogs!

Distance: 5.19 mi      Time: 43:41

Jan 20, 2010

Wednesday: Kissing the pavement

Looks like our short good weather streak is ending. It was chilly today and I had to use two layers (Oh yes, I'm a cold wimp) and the temperature tonight is going back to the 20s. Jay had his "power yoga" class in Canton so I first ran to his place and then we headed over to Canton. On the way I had a very nasty fall but could not assess it at first due the layers. Today's fall was bad but could've been worse. I have deep bruises on my elbows. The bruises on the knee from my last fall is barely healed. I try to be careful while running, I don't run with music and still I've lost my balance several times over uneven pavements and a lot of times it's because of  really sloppy municipality work. It's frustrating as an urban runner but we really can't complain about them, can we? Baltimore roads are full of such pavement traps. Sometimes I dream about landing up with an academic job in a runner friendly place like Colorado.

Distance: 13.05     Time: 01:46:45

Jan 18, 2010

Monday: MLK Day

Distance: 7.64mi   Time: 01:05:00

There is something seriously wrong with my Garmin. On my return route, I kept getting a "Lap Error" message with continuous beeping. Looks like it is not happy when I pause the timer at streetlights. Tomorrow is Edgar Allen Poe's birthday. Happy Birthday Mr. Poe.

Jan 17, 2010

Sunday: Running in the rain

Okay, Ravens got it bad yesterday but my day today turned out splendid. Jay and I did our 20mi run today at the beautiful B&A trail again. The weather was 41 degrees with light rain but that was anticipated and we went prepared. The entire run was smooth and fun except that if you're running early Sunday morning on this trail, don't expect places with water. We drank from a bathroom sink which is fine by me compared to the inconvenience of a fuel belt. Post run we went hunting for burritos and settled at Chevy's where we saw the tortilla machine in action while wolfing down the fajita burrito. Food never tasted so good. We made two quick stops before heading home, first at the road runner store and then at the H Mart where I got this curious looking fruit (pic above) called fuyu. I tried one of these at home and it has an interesting texture and flavor. At first it appeared like eating pumpkin flesh but soon the flavor developed into something distinct and mellow.

Distance: 20.1mi    Time:02:56:55

Jan 15, 2010

Friday: Go Ravens!

Everybody in Baltimore is excited about the Ravens playoff run tomorrow when they will face the Indianapolis Colts. There are signs of it everywhere on the streets and, even not being a major football fan myself, I could not help but notice the city going royal purple -- the Ravens color -- when I went running to the harbor tonight. The Washington monument was lit purple and so were many other buildings downtown. My favorite part of the run along the harbor waterfront had a spectacular view of the Marriott hotel lit up to spell "GO RAVENS". The Power Plant along the harbor, the national aquarium were all purple! A rare treat and I really hope the Ravens repeat last Sunday's performance when they stunned the New England Patriots and fans alike. I had a nice 8 mile run today with a great 47 degree weather. Despite of being a crazy day, and debating whether I should skip today's run, I head out around 10pm. I am so glad I did!

Distance: 8.13mi  Time: 01:05:20

Jan 14, 2010

Thursday: Montebello run

We are blessed with a great weather this week. The temperature outside was in the pleasant 40s with little wind and I was dying to go out for a run. I ran to Jay's house again, then we ran back my place, and did a few loops around Lake Montebello before heading back.

Distance: 12.02mi  Time: 01:41:03

PS: The Garmin worked today. I've no idea what is going on!

Jan 13, 2010

Tuesday: Fort run again

I changed the routine today and ran to Jay's house instead and started from there. We ran to Fort McHenry and back to his place. For some weird reason, I got bad cramps in my stomach when we reached the fort but managed to run back to Jay's house with that. I also got to see Jay's dog today, really cute! So after stopping over for 10 mins and a glass of water, the cramps were gone and I headed back home. Today's total run was around 16.9 miles but I took like a 10 min break in-between. Does it still count as a single run?

Distance: 16.88mi  Time: 02:25:18

The Garmin still seems to be broken. I don't know what to make of it. Hmmpf.

Jan 11, 2010

Monday: Midday break

Weekdays are here to remind us that life is not all about running, unless running is your day job. I did a midday run to ward off the afternoon slump. Weather outside is in the 30s. This was short, sweet, and quick. Drank half quart of chocolate milk after that. Life is good!

Distance: 4.35mi   Time: 33:09

Jan 10, 2010

Sunday: Falls Road Running Store

There is something cute about neighborhood running stores. As a regular runner, you keep visiting them often, get to know them, they get to know you, and offer recommendations. That sure beats the couple of dollars you might save ordering things off the Internet. In San Francisco, my favorite haunt was Fleet Feet in the Marina district and in Baltimore, it's the Falls Road Running Store which is just 5.6 miles from my place. Tucked away from Falls Road with a little sign, the store can be hard to locate if you are visiting there for the first time. But once inside, you'll be pleased with the cozy store, with walls decked with running bibs, and a very very friendly staff.  Since I was out of shot-blocks, today's run was to go to the running store and back. Falls Road is not very runner friendly and I would run on this route only if I have to go to the store. Besides having no or very tiny pavements on Falls Road, running on Lake Ave. can be very scary. This is a hilly, windy road with many sharp turns and heavy traffic that can be an invitation to running disasters. Lake Ave. should definitely be avoided when there is no daylight as it is scantly illuminated. Not having a car (on purpose), I am somewhat willing to take this risk.

Distance: 11.2 mi    Time: 01:35:00

My Garmin 405 seems to be having a problem. It's not recovering from autopause when I start running. Tomorrow, I will try disabling the autopause option. This is very annoying considering the money I spent on it.

Jan 9, 2010

Saturday: Trail run

Jay and I hit the BWI-B&A trail again this morning. After a hectic work week and another late nighter yesterday, I snoozed all three alarms I set for our 6am run and woke up 10 mins before we were supposed to start. After frantic layering up (24 degrees today morning), chewing the leftover shot-blocks I rushed outside 10 mins late with a morning face to find Jay waiting for me. Isn't he awesome? The trail is a bit of a drive from where we live but we finally made it at 6:47 -- not bad considering how close I was to missing this run.

Distance: 16.1 miles  Time: 02:17:00
The BWI-B&A trail is actually two trail paths (BWI trail and the B&A trail) with some interspersed suburban roads. This running route is quickly becoming my favorite place to run in Baltimore. I was happy to miss the traffic that I usually deal with on my weekday runs and run like a pair of rabbits on the snow covered trail (2 inches). Apart from the usual jumpy squirrels, we also spotted a furry red fox today! The trail today was much better with almost no ice than what we found on new year's day.

Another perfect run except the morning rush left me with no time to eat and I ran out of gas around 1/2 mile towards the end of the run. Another small technical glitch was the bezel was unlocked on my Garmin and part of the running route, highlighted by the blue straight line, was not recorded.  Obviously we did not run as the crow flies on the trail, so I'm noting today's distance from our average pace (8:30 min/mi) and the run time on Jay's watch (2:17). Post run food was a bottle of vitamin water, an egg & cheese sandwich, and a coffee at Panera.

Postlude: I discovered this amazing song that Jay played on our way to the trail. Enjoy!

Jan 7, 2010

Thursday: Random run

Yesterday was a crazy day, like today and the rest of this week. So after taking an involuntary rest day yesterday, I was so glad to be on the streets again. Jay & I ran through some random route that actually turned out to be nice. I had to end the run early due to work but happy about getting any run done during this crazy week.

Distance: 11.25   Time: 01:38:50

Jan 5, 2010

Tuesday: Fort run

Ran today to Inner Harbor, Fed. Hill, Fort McHenry, and back. I must remember to avoid the evening rush; got stuck in traffic several times which was bad but the weather was outside much better than yesterday which was good. So, overall a great run!

Distance: 14.18mi  Time: 02:03:19

When I reached close to home, I was debating whether to go further. I really wanted to do another 5 miles and wasn't feeling tired either. But alas work beckons! Don't you wish the holidays were never over?

Jan 4, 2010

Monday: Work day

The first work day of the year hit me like an atom bomb. I snoozed the alarm, woke up late, panicked, rushed to a meeting an hour late. Yes, I sit in some of those meetings which seem to go on and on. Every time I am in one of these meetings, I wish I was out on the streets running. When I finally got to run this evening, it was cold and windy but I was so glad to be outside! There was work waiting for me at home so I took a conservative route, ran four loops around Lake Montebello and back. My post run dinner was baked sweet potatoes, black eyed peas, and tofu.

Distance: 9.28  Time: 01:19:14

The weather outside was so cold that my fingers were frozen by the time I got back home. This happened despite of wearing two pairs of gloves! How do you keep warm in cold windy days?

Jan 3, 2010

Sunday: The Painted Ladies

Sunday morning marks the official end of vacation period. Life is going to be crazy from tomorrow, especially this first week. But why not enjoy this bliss while it lasts? Although today was my rest day, my feet were tickling and I had to go for a run but I took it easy. The streets were clear, ice free, and safe but today's running weather was far from perfect. The weather outside was 24 degrees but the heavy wind made it feel like 18 degrees. While running today, I happened to pass through Abell and Guilford Avenues and had a new appreciation for the "Painted Ladies" -- beautiful Victorian style homes with colored columns. This place is in North Central Baltimore and is a part of the Charles Village where I live. I ran through this neighborhood towards downtown and back. The Traffic Gods were mostly kind on me and I had to stop only at two street lights. Running back was very interesting. If you haven't run uphill, against 9mph wind in cold, you should. It is fun!

Distance: 5.61mi  Time: 49:43

This Feb, I will be running the New Orleans Madi Gras marathon and all workouts from this week onwards will be focussed on that. My goal for this year at large, is not on tempo but on keeping the mileage high and avoiding injuries. Wish me luck!

Jan 2, 2010

Saturday: Pad Thai Reflex

Today's run was short thanks to the yummy-then-but-regretful-now Pad Thai and peanut sauce I hogged yesterday night at a friend's place. Since it kept me up all night I figured I might as well go for a run.

Distance: 5.11mi   Time: 46:22

Jay joined me at 6am on this windy cold winter day(25 degrees). I started with doubt and was constantly reminded of the peanut sauce I ate yesterday night. Running now, had a mixed feeling -- I was nauseas from the food but also feeling good due to the run -- but had to turn back after a short distance allowing me to cover only 5 miles. I am glad we did, because on the way home I threw up and felt miserable :-(

Did I regret it? The food choice: Yes. The run: No. As someone, who I can't recall, said, "You will only regret the runs you missed and not the runs you did."

PS: After lot of dilly-dallying, I finally registered for the New Orleans Mardi Gras marathon (Feb 28th). Anyone running?

Jan 1, 2010

Friday: New Year Run

Happy New Year! Another brand new year, another brand new day, time to put it all behind and start afresh. This year, like all years, I don't make a resolution but will continue to enjoy running.

I kicked off 2010 by doing a 14 mile trail run with my awesome running buddy Jay at the B&A trail. The Baltimore & Annapolis trail is a paradise for runners in the Baltimore/DC area. Being used to running in the city, waiting at street lights, and dodging buses, today's run was a refreshing start for this new year. It took us around 40 minutes to get there but I was instantly charmed by the place once we started and hit the wooded area. There was lightly packed snow in most places and slick icy roads due yesterday's rain. We only stopped twice briefly -- once to decide which direction to go, and the other to check out a curious bird-like metal sculpture. Otherwise, it was mostly crunch-crunch-crunch on the snow packed roads or holy-shit-I'm-about-to-slip on black ice. On the way back, I actually slipped and jerked my knee. It hurt but I did the remaining 3 miles anyways. I'll leave the rest to Advil and ice.

Distance: 14.06mi     Time: 01:58:42

After the run we stopped at Panera Bread for soup and breakfast sandwich -- perfect finish for a nice run. I have a feeling this year will be just fine!