Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Breaking the Routine

My husband, Dan, who has been sidelined for too long with a sore Achilles tendon, has been easing back into running. One of his co-workers introduced him to a phenomenal network of trails behind the laboratory complex where they work, and he's been doing this trail (and telling me about it) twice a week for a couple of months. Today, we decided, was the day for me to come up and run it with him.

Now, I'm a creature of routine. Part of that routine is that I am an early-morning get-it-done-so-nothing-else-interferes runner. On my schedule for today was a one-hour easy run with strides at the end. Normally I'd have that sucker all done and dusted by 7 a.m. But since I was running with Dan on his trail I needed a new plan. It made me a bit nervous, but in the end it all worked out beautifully.

I slept in, not exiting my bed until 7:20 (this part of busting the routine was niiiiiiiiice). I anxiously inspected my kids for any sign of illness (because I was sure that, given I hadn't run yet, one of them would need to stay home and I'd miss running altogether). I took the (perfectly healthy) kids to school and then went to weight training (more on that below). I met some co-workers for lunch. I did a little work (anxious the whole time that my reference desk hours would change and I'd miss running altogether). And then the hour arrived! I called Dan, told him I was on my way, changed in our little locker room and began my run.

The first 30 minutes were me running on my own up to Dan's lab. I decided to run up 9th St., which is a large, long uphill. Then I would run down Baseline, another large, long hill (this time down!) that terminates about 1/4 mile from where I was meeting Dan. These two hills, both up and down, felt amazingly easy. I got to the lab in 23 minutes and jogged in circles waiting for him. I admit, I was feeling cocky.

Soon Dan emerged and we set off up toward the trail.The first hill (which took us by the kids' school) felt easy. But as soon as we hit the dirt fire road, I started to feel that first 30 minutes (and the squats and lunges I'd done earlier in weight training). Soon I had slowed to a shuffle.You'd never know that Dan was the one who had been injured. He was chatting away about the trail, the foliage, the fresh air, his pace steady and confident. That's the kind of runner he is. He seems to be able to come back from the longest lay-offs without having to endure that humiliating huff-and-puff stage that so many of us have to get through to enjoy running again.

Eventually the dirt road veered into a trail and we were going up a little valley below the Mesa Trail, where I'd run on Saturday. Then we climbed an even steeper path to the top of a small mesa. I lagged a good 10 feet behind my sprightly husband. My cockiness had all drained away. Then....the climb was over. We paused at the top to take in the view. And then the fun began!

As we began the fast run back down, I at last was able to notice the red and golden leaves, the blue sky, the silky-cold air on my skin, the smell of sun-warmed pine. We talked and laughed, remembering other runs we'd done together (including the Bay to Breakers Race, which we ran side-by-side in 2004), chatting about how Dan and one of his work friends had run this trail and some others on their way to a brew-pub on Friday. We were on a date--a running date! I looked down at my Garmin at one point and saw that we were doing a 6:59 pace. Isn't downhill a miraculous thing? Isn't it amazing what you can do when you're trying to impress a good-looking guy?

When we finished, he drove me back to work. And now that the run is done I'm SO glad I busted out of the routine and had this wonderful hour with my husband--even if he ran stronger than I!

Quick Mario Lopez Eating and Body Fat Update: Mario, Week 3, went well, despite some extra cheese and chocolate and coffee with real cream consumed over the weekend while Wendy was here. My Tuesday weigh-in was as follows:

Home scale: 128.4 pounds (unchanged from last week); body fat=21.9% (lower than last week!)
Gym scale: 129 pounds even (up from last week, but I'm not super worried about this as I'd had a big breakfast and hadn't run, so I was probably better hydrated than usual)

The best news is that my trainer, Chris, took my body fat measurements with calipers. Several people have told me this is way more accurate than home scales. Chris's reading this morning? 19.7%! Rock on! I lifted weights with extra gusto after that. Thanks to Jill for suggesting I have this done.

One Year of Blogging! Tomorrow (October 19) marks the one-year anniversary of my first post on this blog. I feel I've come a long way and I have so many of you to thank. I have not yet made it to my BQ, but thanks to all of you I am starting to really believe it can be done.

Can We Make It to $600 for the Houston Food Bank? At $526, I'm $74 away from the $600 level at which I have promised to do a giveaway of some tasty and healthful Boulder goodies. Wendy and I visited Celestial Seasonings this weekend and I bought the first item for this huge gift pack. Do you want to be entered to win it? If so, go to my fundraising page and donate! A big THANKS AGAIN to all of you who have already given.


  1. Nothing beats doing something fun like that w/ the hubby :)

  2. that sounds like a wonderful running date!

    my husband does races here and there (he's done 1 marathon) but never trains. for example, for the marathon, he only did about 6 long runs and never did short runs during the weekdays. he finished in 5 hours. we run this 10-miler every year and he never trains for it but always maintains 10 min miles. it's pretty amazing!

  3. Awesome that you got to run with your husband! I love running with Michael. I completely agree with you about breaking the routine ... however, I will tell you that over the past 6 months I have experimented with changing up and add runs to later in the day. It's a little bit of a challenge because I usually have the food from the day on my stomach which is a little weird, and most of the time the runs aren't great. But I think forcing my body to adapt to running anytime, anywhere has made me a stronger runner. Running with you in Houston would be AWESOME! I would love to have the opportunity to pace you and get you that BQ that you are obviously ready for! Unfortunately I already have plans for January. But I would love to do that sometime. Any way I can help out a fellow Show-me-Stater would be great! Have a great rest of the week!

  4. That was so cute! I got my husband to run with me one time last year and it was really fun. I need to try to get him to run with me again. His legs are twice as long as mine so I need to make sure he stays slow though. And congrats on the Mario success and your blog anniversary. So glad I started reading!

  5. a pleasant memory. I hoped to do someday

  6. Hoorah! I am so glad to hear that Dan is running again!

  7. How great to get and run with your husband! And to explore some new trails. sounds like a lovely lunch!

  8. That sounds like a great way to spend time with your husband!

  9. How fantastic! Great run, quality time with spouse, love it!

  10. 19.7% BMI sounds so much more reasonable given your height and weight and the amount you run. Glad you were able to use the calipers. ha.

    Nice way to break up routine too -- what fun.

  11. That sounds so wonderful! My husband doesn't run, but he loves to bike and before kids he would sometimes bike with me while I ran (albeit ahead of me, looping back to rife slowly by my side every few minutes). I miss that and look forward to doing that together again some day.
    Happy blog-iversary!! Im so happy I "met" you and enjoy reading about your journey. I ave no doubt you will get that BQ and we will meet live in Beantown in the not-too-distant future :-)

  12. Happy blogiversary! It's very brave of you to put yourself out there, and to do so without pulling any punches. Looking forward to another year of keeping up with you and yours, if only virtually.

  13. So glad you found your way to a trail!!!!

    Sometimes I think about how crazy my life is when 7:20 is sleeping in.

  14. Sounds fun! I'm so impressed with your weigh in!

  15. Way to go busting out of the routine! That always scares me a little too, but yay for sleeping in. i wish my husband liked running more. He will run with me sometimes but never more than 4 miles.

    Great job with the weigh in the the awesome bodyfat.!