Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Little Old Lady on My Morning Run

It's been awhile since I've written... I know. You may have thought my blog was long abandoned for Twitter. That wouldn't have been a poor assumption. Little blurbs of 140 characters each has been oddly a better fit for me recently. Though brevity has never been my strong point - if you've ever heard me try to tell a story, you're probably nodding - I guess I just haven't had a lot I've felt like sharing recently. And by "recently" I mean "in months."

I've always written this blog as more of a journal for myself than anything else. I don't really caring who else, if anyone, reads it. I like to chronicle interesting things that happen or random thoughts about random things when I can formulate them into substantial enough of a bundle to make sense. My thinking has been kind of scattered recently. I mean, I think it's been scattered my whole life... I've never been a very linear thinker... but recently it's been really all over the place. I guess because, honestly, from day to day, I don't know what I'm really doing or where I'm going in life. Overall I'm happy, but I often feel like I'm just sort of floating, along for the ride. I'm thinking this feeling will eventually pass. One day I'll settle and figure things out and "get a future." Someday. Until then...

The reason I'm writing tonight is because I've almost finished reading Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. This book has taken me forever to read because 1) I read more digitally nowadays -- blogs, news sites... I love the feeling of hardcopy and it's very unlikely that I'll ever own a Kindle or similar, but that's just how it's worked out. and 2) Like all the Murakami books I've read, it's nice to savor. Read a little bit at a time. Put it down. Think about it. Savor it. Like dark chocolate.

Anyway, this post is going to be short because it's after midnight and I'm planning to get up and run in about 5 hours. I may write a longer review of Murakami's book later, but I wanted to jot this down for posterity before I hit the hay:

Murakami's book hit close to home. I've never really considered myself a runner, despite successfully finishing my first 10-mile road race this past weekend (!). Nope, not a runner. Someone who runs occasionally? Yes. A runner? Not really. I'm not really sure what makes someone a "real" runner... but I'm not it. Maybe runners are competitive? Am I competitive? Sure, with some things. But not with running. I've never and will probably never be a superstar runner. I don't need to win age group awards or run Western States. I'm happy enough just getting out there on the pavement for awhile. It's time alone, time to think. Like, Murakami, I don't really know what I think about when I run. It's kind of like dreaming... if someone asked me right in the moment, I may be able to tell them, but after the fact, who knows? Like dreams that are lost forever the minute you wake up, a lot of things get left on the road. Problems, troubles, stresses, frustrations... A lot of them just get left out there after a run, like leaves and footprints... and that's a good thing. I'd like to think I've left a few ideas for the next great novel and inventions that would have made me millions out there as well, which isn't such an awesome thing, but, hey, it happens.

Wow, I'm getting really tired. Where was a going with this? Oh, I wanted to talk about my morning run. I may have talked about why morning runs are special in a previous post, but I'm not sure and am too tired/lazy to look right now. Seriously, I'm fading fast and need to turn the lights off... If I have never talked about the special-ness of pre-dawn runs, I may eventually, but not now. Now, I want to mention my morning run "friend." Every time I run my "regular loop" (as opposed to the "DC loop" I sometimes run) in the early mornings before work, I see this woman. I used to see her five days a week when I was running that often, before I got my stress fracture. Now that I only run in the morning on two week days -- usually Tuesdays and Thursdays, I only see her then. This little old lady must go for a walk every day. I always see her walking in the opposite direction I'm running, on the same side of the road, when I'm about 3.5 miles in, shooting downhill on Wisconsin Avenue. She's usually between the entrance to Somerset and Saks Jandel on the right, just before I get to a small hill that goes over a little stream and is just long enough for me to hope the next walk light is red so I can stop for a second and catch my breath. I can almost pace with her. If I see her higher up the road, I know I'm going fast or running late... usually the latter. If I see her lower, I know I'm going slower or left the house a bit early... in this case, usually the former. If I don't see her at all, I worry. She's pretty old and always walks by herself. I worry that, if I don't see her, something's happened to her. I pay extra attention on my next run, looking out for her, making sure she's okay, still walking. I've been running by her for over a year now and I think she recognizes me. Sometimes she'll wave, other times she'll just smile a bit. I think it depends on the weather. I get more of a wave when it's warmer.

Anyway, it's weird. I've never spoken a word to this woman with the exception of maybe a "good morning" here and there, though I feel like I've gotten to know her during my runs. I could say the same for the business man at the bus stop, or the cyclist shooting down Connecticut Avenue towards D.C., or the slender female runner I always pass going the opposite direction on Bradley Lane.

When I had a stress fracture and couldn't run for a few months, I missed seeing these people. There's a nice camaraderie in those early morning hours. I wonder if they missed me, too, in my absence... Did they notice I wasn't around, running by, a human mile marker? I'd like to think they did because, truthfully, as much as I like running, sometimes there are days I just don't want to get out of bed. I run through every excuse in the book and then some (It's cold; it's dark; I worked out hard yesterday; I'm going to have a long day at work, I should sleep in...) before bribing myself (just get dressed and go stand on the sidewalk... if you still don't want to run, you don't have to...). But the real thing that gets me out of bed? My morning friends... especially that little old lady on Wisconsin. Weirdly, it sometimes makes my day to see her.

12:41 and the morning run is approaching fast. I'm off to bed. Night!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mom's First 5k

My mom texted me tonight to see if I wanted to do a charity 5k, which supports the middle school where she works, with her in a few weeks. Unfortunately, I've already got salon plans that morning, so I had to turn down her offer. However, I'm quite proud of her for doing it. I grew up in a relatively healthy household (no sodas, healthy, home-cooked meals, etc...) but, of course, there's always room for improvement. Recently, my dad's made A LOT of healthy changes; he's hitting the gym for lifting and cardio nearly every day, making healthier food choices (the other day he told me that the family was now addicted to Sabra roasted red pepper hummus -- "We eat it with raw veggies! So much better than chips and dip!") and just being overall excited about it and open to learning more. My mom's dabbled in exercise for years. A couple of times a year, she'll sign up for this or that group class (water aerobics, jazzercise, etc.) and has been practicing gentle (hatha, I think) yoga a couple of times per week for the past six months or so. When she texted me tonight, I couldn't help but think that she was slowly slipping over to "the dark side" (if you can indeed call a healthy lifestyle, erm, dark). The following text exchange made me laugh. I think I pushed her a bit too hard, too fast with the Jeff Galloway comment... [bolded text added for clarification]

SoSarahSays: You should do it with dad :)

Mom: He can't -- in Calif. [for work]

SoSarahSays: Can you do it? Is it a walk/run? Sorry I'm not available!

Mom: I have signed up.

SoSarahSays: Exciting! Your first 5k, right? We are becoming such an active fam!

Mom: Before you get excited - I'm walking.

SoSarahSays: So? I walk sometimes. You're still going the distance.

Mom: Wow. [Looking back, I feel like she meant this sarcastically. I know there are a lot of people who will argue that people who walk 26.2 aren't really "running a marathon," but you can't argue that it's not impressive to walk 26.2. Yeah, this is just a 5k, but you've got to start somewhere, right?!]

SoSarahSays: Everyone walks before they run!! Some people ALWAYS walk and run -- google Jeff Galloway and the Galloway Method [Seriously, do it. I was reading on his blog today about a woman who cut 30 minutes off her marathon time -- from 5:15 to 4:38 -- by utilizing a 30s/30s run/walk ratio. 4:38 isn't Kenyan or even Boston-qualifying, but it's not terrible for the average Joe, and certainly nothing to sneeze at. I haven't run a marathon yet, but when I do, I imagine I'd be happy for 4:38, at least for my first one!]

Mom: Barf.

SoSarahSays: Dad's come over to the dark side... You're next. Muahahaha. You've been toeing the line for years with your exercise classes.

Mom: Towing like a tow truck.

lol. :)

Friday, March 26, 2010


Piggybacking my last post, I also found this picture on my blackberry. I took this photo at Whole Foods in Tenleytown, DC in February, when I was waiting in an aisle-long line to buy quinoa and soy creamer (necessities!) right before the first great snowstorm. I thought lemonade was just lemons, sugar and water? Apparently sometimes grapes, too. I was surprised at the time, but now that I know you can make ORANGE JUICE from lemons (see previous post), nothing surprises me. Lemon... The most versatile fruit?
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Anyone have a recipe for orange juice made from lemons?

Snapped in the produce section at the Giant grocery store in Bethesda, MD on Wednesday, March 24, 2010.

I bought a couple of these potentially-hybrid lemons and can assure you that they taste like regular lemons and don't appear to be a food science, taste modification experiment. Confounding.
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Saturday, February 6, 2010


We're in the middle of Snowpacalypse 2 here in the DC area (to see what I learned during Snowpacalypse 1, go here). I'm already suffering from a bit of cabin fever. It seems to set in quick when you're anticipating it, doesn't it? In a bit, I'm going to eat a hearty coffee and stove top oatmeal breakfast spiked with creatine and go outside to get huge start shoveling. In the mean time, the snow means delays for Metro (and all above-ground stations are closed), but they seem to be taking it in stride:

(click to enlarge)

Monday, January 18, 2010

When you're just too lazy to go inside...

God, I "love" the concept of walk-up windows... They are like drive thrus... For your feet. For the record, they have one of these in Copenhagen (on Stroeget, next to Illum), so I know this isn't just a lazy American thing. Damnit though, seriously, you are eating Burger King, you could probably use the extra .000001 calorie burn walking inside would give you. It adds up, people.
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