Taking a cue from Megan (and because I’m still in publish-my-research-yesterday mode), I’m boring you all with more details about my running experiences with a questionnaire that delves deeply into the personal and leaves no metaphorical stone unturned…or something.
1. Best run ever
It’s hard to say; every PR (particularly in the half-marathon and 10k distances, my two favorites), for some amount of time, is my “best run”. Really solid track workouts or tempo runs will even fall under this category for a bit.
If I had to pick one, I’d say the 2012 Just a Short Run. I was still getting over a plague I’d brought back from visiting my sister in Morocco, and I was right in the middle of my half-marathon training for Pittsburgh in early May, about 5 weeks out. My goal for the Pittsburgh half was sub-1:45; for this race, I was just hoping to finally get under 1:50 for the first time.
I not only killed 1:50, I came in over a full minute under 1:45, burning the 13th and final mile at a killer 7:18 pace. I’ve had better overall performances since, but never such an unexpected and smashing victory.
2. Three words to describe my running
It’s difficult to hide my disdain for questions like this (“if you were a fruit, which fruit would you be and why”), so I’ll just say:
Run. For. Food.
3. My go-to running outfit
The tech shirt The Lady and I received for running 2011’s Energizer Night Race is head and shoulders above any other finisher’s shirt I’ve received. I wear it when I want to absolutely haul ass, so I usually save it for races for which I’m intending to demolish a standing PR.
I also like the longer black Underarmor compression shorts underneath classic running shorts. Give me some sunglasses and I’m ready for anything.
4. Quirky habit while running
I don’t really know what qualifies as “quirky”; we runners are intrinsically a quirky bunch of individuals. But I can’t think of anything that I do which others don’t, or that is something otherwise unique that I’ve decided to do. I’d consider myself about as strange as the next runner.
5. Morning, midday, or evening
I feel amazing during evening runs, but schedule-wise it’s so much easier to do my runs in the mornings. As a graduate student, if I have any spare time in the evenings, I like to spend it turning into a blob on the couch or even catching up on sleep. Plus it’s a bit of a psychological boost in the mornings to arrive at my office at 9am having already logged mileage.
6. When I won’t run outside
If it’s absolutely torrential rainfall, I’ll find a way to reschedule. Even if it’s just waiting until the rain eases up a bit. Otherwise, I’ve run in blizzards, on ice, through the Moroccan desert, and in drizzling rain.
7. Worst injury and how I got over it
My worst running-related (an important distinction!) injury was early 2011: a new set of shoes very quickly resulted in pretty painful shin splints, the first I’d ever had. I was more or less sidelined from running for a couple months. I started up again later in the year, training for the 2011 Air Force Half and doing exceptionally well, but the shin splints came back late 2011 and early 2012.
So I started physical therapy (twice a week) with the awesome folks at the UPMC Sports Medical Center, and in two months I was at the top of my game (as evidenced by this race, literally the day after my final appointment).
The worst injury I’ve ever had would probably be a tie between three.
- When I was 10, I was playing little league baseball. In the process of stealing 2nd base, I slid to avoid the tag and somehow got my foot caught underneath me. Something in it snapped, it swelled up like a balloon, and I couldn’t walk on it for 48 hours. Took about 1-2 weeks to heal completely.
- I played football in high school. In my senior year, barely 10 minutes into the final regular season game against our local Catholic high school rival, I was going for a QB sack. Unbeknownst to me, so was our nose guard, perfectly hidden on the opposite side of the QB. The QB took one step back at the last second, and my teammate and I collided. I came up with a concussion and was immediately sent home.
- As a freshman in college, I was playing basketball with some inner city kids. I went up for a rebound and came down on the side of my foot. It immediately swelled to the point where I couldn’t even put a shoe on, and the Student Health Center put me in a bionic boot with crutches for the next week.
8. When I felt the most badass as a runner
Easily the long run I ran with The Lady on the morning of the Olympic women’s marathon. We wanted to watch the race, but it began around 8:30am, right smack in the middle of our usual long-run time period (roughly 7-10am on Sunday mornings). We couldn’t push it back later because of my church schedule…
So we went the other direction: start the run at 4:30am!
There was literally not a ray of sunlight until nearly halfway through the 14-mile run. It was pitch-black until then. Ridiculously badass.
9. My next race
The 2012 Philadelphia Marathon. Oh snap.
10. Potential 2013 running goals
- The elusive sub-20 5k. It’s been sitting at #45 since Feb 2011, and I’m closer than I’ve ever been right now. My Great Race 10k from last month was also 5k PR, right around 21.5 minutes. Very close!
- Sub-40 10k. Twice the distance, twice the time. Let’s do it.
- Sub-1:40 half marathon. Air Force 2012 would have been around 1:42, had I not run an extra 0.8 miles. Sub-1:35 would be even better, but we’ll see.
- Sub-2:50 Spring Thaw. Now that I’ve properly trained for it (unlike this past year), I’d love to crush it.
- Marathons? I’m not entirely sure here. Chances are, I’ll want to do another marathon, but it’s entirely possible I’ll have zero interest after doing Philly. If so, I’d love to do something in the range of 3:45.
So yeah. Another running-related post. Basically because my research, lately, feels like this: