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Best. Run. Ever

Untitled I'd like to tell you the best 3.2 miles I've ever run was my 5K PR. I should probably at least say it was the last three hellish miles (plus that nasty point two) of a marathon. But no, it was tonight's run.

"Look, Nick, the MRI shows some early arthritis and your meniscus is funky, but I don't see anything majorly wrong...if you are pain-free, then let's try running and see." That was the call from my doctor at 4:33 PM today.

I've been worried I wouldn't come back. I've been worried I wouldn't still enjoy running. What if I don't still love it and want to do it? What if I can't even run a mile?

Questions answered:

My pace and heart rate were all over the place. But hey, don't call it a comeback, right?

It felt like flying. No, I'm a pilot, I know of flying. It felt even better. It felt like the first stress-free, decompressing, I'll-be-ok moment of the last three months.

Tonight, my knee is still tender. That's ok. I celebrated with loud Springsteen and quinoa for dinner. It'll be a long road back, but it's nice to know the feeling is still there.


Meet Barb

shoppingActually, I don’t know her name. But we’ll call her Barb. She, or rather the waterproof luggage carrier on her car caught my eye when I was walking my dog, Ippa, this morning. It was a shiny new contrast to the rather old, worn-in four door to which it was attached. Barb was asleep in the front seat. Later, when I was on the last stretch of my morning run, I thought about Barb, asleep in her car. I thought I should go the other way because, well, it’s kind of a bummer and I was in the zone. Then I though really? You’re sucking wind and you think that’s hard? She’s sleeping in her car! I decided I’d go see if Barb was awake.

We made eye contact and I slowed to a jog and then stopped. “I’m getting coffee and a bagel,” I announced, “can I get you something too?” She was sheepish a first, and shrugged to indicate an inaudible yes. I asked her if she’d like anything else.

“I’m a vegetarian,” she told me.

“So am I! That’ll make this easy. Give me 10 minutes, I’ll be right back.”

I returned from the local coffee shop with a bagel, side of hummus and some black coffee. “I’m actually vegan, so I don’t put anything in mine, hope that’s ok?”

“Fine by me. I never ate meat, I guess I care for animals too much,” she said. “And I raised my two girls that way too. But I dream about milk. I jokingly say, I’m a milk-aholic..” She was standing in the street in her bare feet, outside of her car-turned-home as I took off to finish the rest of my run.


Running N of 1 studies: Smile More

Running N of 1 studies: Smile More


really, running. I've started trying simple experiments when i run. partly its a way to pass time and partly its a chance to see if small changes work. For instance, i noticed i clench my right arm and wrist more than my left, upon which i wear my watch. so, I switched my watch to my right arm. it helped.

My favorite observation, to date, is the physiological effect of smiling. whether it's a speed workout (fartlek as they say, and how fun is it to say fartlek?) or my weekly LSD (long, slow, distance) run, the end always feels hard. So I've been trying something - smiling. When I feel myself slowing, slinking, crashing, I force a smile. I go for a big cheesy grin. sometimes I even chuckle. Lately the laughing just seems to happen, unforced.

The result is amazing. Its like a bolus of energy. I straighten up, I speed up (data from watch shows it) and my form resets.

Makes me wonder: when else would smiling have a positive effect? probably like all the time, right?


Grove Ave Water Stop

Every runner in Richmond knows the Grove Avenue Water Stop.It's a small, simple, act of kindness: a small cooler of water, a container of cups, a trash can and some dog treats. It even has a Facebook fan page. Grove Ave Water Stop From the Richmond Times Dispatch from November, 2011.

Every morning, Sheri Crowell fills up the Rubbermaid drink cooler with water and ice. It sits on a small, metal table on the edge of the street with a trash can beside it to catch the empties.

a little coaching goes a long way

1 hour with a coach shaved 1 minute per mile off my pace[video width="640" height="360" mp4=""][/video]