Saturday, September 18, 2010

Outside Running

Summer is hot here in North Carolina. I personally will take a hot summer over a cold winter ANY day. :-D

The warm weather is what makes having a gym membership great. All those 90 -100 degree days is kind of warm to be outside running around. Even at night it would only cool down to the low 80s before rising back up the next day. The ac at the gym and I have become great friends.

Today was a bit different though. With a bunch of errands that needed to be completed and getting the house ready for guests, I didn't get the chance to make it to the gym. Since I am trying really hard to follow the 5k training plan and I knew that with going to a concert on Saturday and hopefully Kayaking on Sunday, it would be hard to get my Saturday run in. I couldn't afford to miss TWO scheduled runs for the week.

So I decided to take my running outdoors, at night, when it finally cooled off (kinda).

I'm a big fan of safety. Several years ago when I tried running for a while, early in the morning I hit a pothole. That mistake caused my left ankle to roll and my right knee to break my fall. Not having my cell phone on me resulted in hopping on my bloody knee (the "good" leg) crying, until I could find someone to help.

I was lucky I didn't break my ankle... not so lucky that it was sprained so bad it might have been better if I had just broken it. So, with my ankle in a cast and my knee bandaged up, I was quite the spectacle on crutches. The triangle scar on my knee provides me with a constant reminder on why it is important to be safe. Might also be why I began to think that running sucked... :-P

Anyway, it was a slap in my face when I realized that the one size fits all reflective vest I bought to wear at night didn't really fit me. Then my $10 bright yellow shirt from target didn't really fit either. Frustrated I threw down the vest and shirt and was about to give up when Dave pulled out a package of glow sticks he bought to be funny. We wrapped a couple around my arms and I was good to go for night jogging. As much as I was glad that Dave had the glow sticks, I can't even explain how unbelievably frustrating that had been. Am I seriously too fat for a one-size fits all vest???? I know that many people would be fired up. Me? I attacked myself and let my low self-esteem win. I was ready to say screw it and climb into bed. Had the glow sticks not been there, it is most likely what I would have done. Honestly though? Looking back, it is my attitude at the situation that bothers me most. I'm glad I was able to snap out of it and focus on my two miles.

The difference between outdoor running and indoor running is great. The only way I can think of explaining my thoughts is to make a list... ;)

1.) I didn't have a machine to tell me how fast I was going. Even though I mapped out the distance before going out, I still wasn't able to see how long I was running or what my pace was, or how many more minutes I had... I know these items exist for outdoor runners, I'm just not that advance yet!

2.) The treadmill is pretty flat and my neighborhood is hilly. I never really realized how hilly it was until I tried to run a 2-mile loop around it.

3.) On a treadmill I am able to program a constant pace. Outside I felt like sometimes I would run faster or slower... not sure how to keep a constant stride on my own.

4.) I'm not able to run a whole two miles yet without walking. When I'm on the treadmill, I go by time or the computerized distance. Outside I used the streetlamps as my guide, or funny signs, or people's mailboxes. I would tell myself, okay... I'm going to run to the next light and then take a quick walking break before running to the next light after that. I actually think this caused me to run more than walk.

5.) I don't have a lighted stopwatch lol. Instead of constantly staring at the time on the treadmill, I clicked start when I left, stop when I finished. Even with the hills I went 2 minutes faster than Wednesday.

6.) I don't have to worry about cars speeding through the gym. :-p Dave and I live on a dead end and our neighborhood is pretty quiet, but idiots fly down the road ignoring the fact that we don't have sidewalks, people like to walk their dogs, kids play, and overweight chocoholics are pretending to be runners!

7.) The gym doesn't have flying bloodsucking bugs chasing after you.

8.) It is much nicer to look at things (even when I was panting too hard to notice the scenery). However, the sweaty guy in front of me is normally amusing to watch at the gym. Then again... I am probably amusing to watch at the gym as well!

9.) I don't have to wait as long to ice my shins since I don't have to drive home after a jog around the neighborhood.

10.) I feel less self conscious about double fist pumping in the dark outside my home than I do in the lighted gym filled with people.

I do like running outside. I just wish that I didn't have to weight until 10:30 at night for it to be cool enough to do it. With fall approaching, I'm looking forward to the 70 degree weather that makes being outdoors mandatory.

As for the fight with the reflection vest and the too tight yellow shirt? They may have won the battle, but the war isn't over yet!

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