I Got My Driver’s License!

My world just got infinitely bigger because yesterday, at 21 years old, I got my first driver’s license!!  I took driver’s ed in high school but just never wanted to drive and I didn’t want my license.  A couple years ago, I got an adult permit, but never really practiced and it expired without a licensing attempt.  This spring, I got a second permit.  I also bought a car at the same time so I would have something to practice with.  I drove lots of places with Matt as my required Licensed Adult and I finally took my road test yesterday afternoon!!  I passed and immediately went to the Secretary of State to get my license.  I now have a little piece of paper that says I can drive and the license card will arrive in the mail in seven to ten days!

As you can tell, I’m very excited about this.  After going to the Secretary of State, I dropped Matt off at work, drove to my work, and paid to park, just because I wanted to drive there. xD  After work, I picked Matt up from work and drove us to my place so we could walk downtown to celebrate with burgers and beer. 😀  Then I dropped him off at his house and I felt so cool saying, “I just got back from dropping Matt off at his house.”

This morning, I had a 9am meeting before work that Matt was going to drive me to, but since I got my license yesterday, I got to drive to it myself!  And it was so fun!  I never enjoyed driving that much before, but now that I have my license, I feel so FREEEE because I am not limited to places I can walk or bus to.  I was thinking about driving to one of my favorite parks after work today, but it is supposed to rain, so I will probably save that for another day.

When I passed my test, the test administrator gave me a keychain that is a bottle opener, a flashlight, and a tape measure.  Just one more thing to be excited about!

This little guy is on my car keys now.

This little guy is on my car keys now.

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Where I am with Not Running and #adayinthelife

Today on Twitter, I am using the #adayinthelife hashtag to chronicle what my non-running butt does on a Friday like today.  I hope if you are interested you will follow along and maybe even join in!  You can find me at @rachmleg.  I will do a round-up of all the tweets on the blog tomorrow, and if you join in and shoot me a message, I will link-up your #adayinthelife in that post!


 

On Not Running

I haven’t run since two Wednesdays ago, so it has been nine days.  A week ago, I wrote that I was hurt but didn’t care because I didn’t really want to be running anyway and was sick of being a “serious” runner and training for races.  I wrote that I would be much happier only running when I felt like it, possibly a few miles a few times a week and something a bit longer on the weekends occasionally.

There is a local running group on Facebook and Meetup that does several social runs a week.  I really want to participate in those, and this past Tuesday, I had plans to go to their Pub Run.  However, it ended up being 90 degrees and my feet still hurt, so I had to pass.  I also wanted to do a for-fun 5k this coming Sunday, but I doubt my feet are going to feel up to it.  I’m not getting my hopes up too high.

So that’s where I am right now.  My mental “injury” is past and I’m ready to run again, albeit completely differently.  I’m ready to run in a relaxed, social environment with little to no pressure.  Unfortunately, my feet are still giving me problems, so I can’t really say I don’t care anymore.

My feet actually tend to feel really good when I wake up in the mornings, which is confusing!  (The pain is in the back and inside of both my arches.)  Yesterday morning, I had a few extra minutes before work, so I thought I would try running for just ten minutes.  It became a walk around my block because my feet did not feeling good running down my street.

I am enjoying not running, just as much as I would enjoy running.  I’m not depressed about not being able to run, it’s not stressing me out, and I have more time for other things, like finishing my 1000-piece puzzle!

Finished last night!

Finished last night!

So, I’m still happy but would love to not have pain!!

Lesson from the Gardens: Obsession

On Friday at lunchtime, one of my bosses took some of us at work to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens to see an 80-year-old agave in bloom.  It was great “professional development” time.  I’m a web developer.

They had a panel open and Mr. Agave was growing out of the ceiling!

They had a panel open and Mr. Agave was growing out of the ceiling!

The venerable Sausage Tree.

The venerable Sausage Tree.

A surprising number of people in our group (three or four of us) are into gardening and know quite a bit about different kinds of flowers and plants.  They would point out things they owned, things they wanted to own, things they tried to grow, etc.  On the way out, one of my coworkers asked my boss, “So, you are into gardening?”

“I used to be.  I tend to do things until they become MY JOB.  I’m taking a break now until it becomes fun again.”

I just yesterday wrote a post about how I am sick of training for races and how I might want a break from running until I can return to the primal fun-ness of it all.  Obviously running will never be my job, just like gardening is not my boss’s job, but the principle applies.  I’m aware I have an obsessive (addictive?) personality and I do tend to get very into things only to do them so much that I get sick of them.

Two years ago, I was incredibly into knitting and crochet.  I haven’t touched my knitting bag in a long time, except to move it.  Admittedly, the summer I was super into yarn crafts was the summer my apartment had bed bugs (they were there before I moved in and I wasn’t told…) and I did most of my work sitting on my bed, so I’m still a little freaked that there could be bugs surviving in there.  The other day, I was actually thinking about how it would be nice to knit something again, but how if I did, I would probably want to get all new things because of the bug potential, which is really too bad because I still have some good unused yarn.

Maybe I actually will hit the knitting shop this weekend and pick up some new yarn.  At least I can still use my old hooks and needles.  Anyway, I digress.

Lately, after working on a puzzle up north two weekends ago, I have been obsessed with puzzles.  I walked around to six different stores downtown last Monday but couldn’t find any, so I picked a few up when I went to the grocery store the next day.  I got a four-pack of 500-piece puzzles and a 1000-piece puzzle.  So far, I have finished one of the smaller ones and have the 1000-piecer about three-quarters of the way finished.  Like I said to Matt the other day, I’ve been doing puzzles so much this last week that soon I’m never going to want to do one again.

Finished about half of this one Tuesday night and the rest on Sunday.

Finished about half of this one Tuesday night and the rest on Sunday (500 pieces).

I took this progress picture on Saturday night. I finished a lot more of it last night. :)

I took this progress picture on Saturday night. I finished a lot more of it last night. 🙂 (1000 pieces)

And yes, in case you were wondering, I AM one of those people who will play a song over and over again until I hate it.  Luckily, that seems to take a very long time for most songs.  There is an album that came out almost a year ago–The Death of Me by Asking Alexandria–that I still listen to all the time and is still a staple in any playlist I make.

Sometimes, people talk about a line between dedication and obsession.  That line might not exist for me for some things, but I’m only obsessed with things as long as they are FUN.  Running by myself is NOT FUN right now, but I’m getting pretty psyched about all the social runs I have plans to go to in the future, and I’m probably going to do a local 5k this weekend FOR FUN.  No pressure for a time, no pressure to race, just having fun and contributing to a good cause.

I Didn’t Listen to My Body and I Don’t Even Care

Hi. My feet hurt. My feet have hurt for the last several weeks and I have kept running on them feeling them get worse and worse and knowing I was running myself into an injury. Yet for some reason, I didn’t care. And honestly, I still don’t care. I haven’t run since Wednesday, which is only five days ago. For the last week and a half of running, I have been seriously considering quitting altogether. While running 12 miles around the lake two weekends ago, I was thinking about how I didn’t even really like running long anymore and how I would be much happier just running however much I feel like whenever I feel like it.

I don’t want to train for things anymore.  Or at the very least, I want a break from training for things.  I don’t want the pressure of a deadline and I don’t want to feel like I have to run through discomfort if I don’t want to.  That doesn’t mean I’m not going to do races for fun if I feel like it.  I have a ten-mile race toward the end of August that I am doing because Matt does it every year and he wanted me to do it with him.  It will be fun.  It also doesn’t mean I’m going to stop running longish.  I like being in shape to drop in on things like running the 8 miles around Mackinac Island if I make a trip up there and feel like running around the island.

But I’m not going to force myself to run when I don’t want to.  I’m sick of that and it makes me sick of running.  I walked to work this morning (two miles) and I was just as happy as if I had run before work.  I’m not going to run through pain just because I think I am “supposed” to be running, which is what I had been doing the last few weeks.  Nooo thank you.

Last week, I made plans to go to a social run tomorrow night, and I really want to go to that, but it happens every week and I’m not going to grit my teeth and run with painful feet just because I’m impatient and want to go to the social run this week instead of next.  I’ll see what tomorrow brings, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t going to bring pain-free feet.

Oh, and I finally deleted my running club Google doc.

Up North: Things I Haven’t Done Before

When I was up north last weekend, Matt’s grandpa made a comment about how, every time I go up there, I get to do something I have never done before.  So far, he has been correct.  Last time, it was watching the sunset over Lake Michigan.  This time, I did a few other new things. 🙂

On Friday, Matt and I drove out to Sleeping Bear Dunes, which I had never been to before.  We actually got a little lost because Matt forgot where to turn to get into the park, and we ended up at a 4th of July parade.  It was quite confusing, to say the least.  We ended up driving around for like 20 minutes at 10 miles an hour, trying to avoid people walking in the streets and navigating two-way roads that were narrowed to one lane due to the parade setting up on the side of the road.  We also drove down a “no outlet” road.  We were very confused.

Eventually, Matt called his parents to ask the name of the road we needed, and we found the dunes.  Lake Michigan is about 500 feet down from the top of the dunes and the drop is quite steep.  The dune goes down gradually for maybe 10 yards, and then it basically drops off to what I would estimate as an 80% grade.  I was pretty scared going down, but all you have to do is lean back and dig your heel in first with each step and you won’t fall.  I did okay. 🙂  I was NOT one of those people running and jumping down, though.  I especially didn’t want to land on rocks in my bare feet.

When we got to the bottom, we swam in Lake Michigan for a few minutes, which I’m pretty sure is another first for me.  Then, it was time to climb back up.  That was quite a bit harder.  The first half was pretty easy, but after that, I started getting tired and took more and more breaks.  I climbed up on all fours because it was easier for me, but Matt had absolutely no trouble and marched right back up on just his two feet.  I think it took me 30-40 minutes to get to the top and daaang my calves and forearms were tired.  He asked me if I would do it again and I answered with a resounding NO, but thinking about it now, I think I would like to do it again sometime. 🙂

When we finished, we got my phone out of the car and took a few pictures before going to get much-deserved ice cream cones.

Isn't it beautiful?

Isn’t it beautiful?

IMG_2596 IMG_2599 IMG_2601

 

The other new thing I did that weekend besides meeting a million of Matt’s family members at his family reunion was that I got to drive a jet ski!  Matt took me out on it on Friday morning after the race, which was my first time ever riding a jet ski.  The next day, his sister Elizabeth and I went out on it, and she let me drive it on the way back to the cabin.  More specifically, her grandpa said, “Make sure she drives it on the way back.”  So I drove it. 🙂  It was easier than I thought and I would like to take it out again sometime soon, maybe when we go back up next weekend!

Finally, here are a couple of pictures we took while waiting for the fireworks on Friday night.  I’m still waiting to get the photos from the 5k off Matt’s dad’s camera, but they exist and I will post them once I get them. 🙂

IMG_2607

 

Being goofy.

Being goofy.

Did you do anything fun last weekend or for the 4th of July?

Race Recap: Crystal Lake Firecracker 5k (27:04)

This year, I went up north with Matt to his family’s cabin to celebrate the 4th of July.  Every year, at least some of his family does the Crystal Lake Firecracker 5k.  This year, it was Matt, his dad, and me!

I had not raced a 5k since October and since then it has been an uphill battle to get back in shape after the injuries that plagued me all winter.  My PR is 24:49 from September 2012 and that October 2013 5k was 25:40, if the results that I just looked up are correct.  Going into this past Friday, I knew that I was not in PR shape, it was not a PR course, and I just wanted to have fun while doing the best I could given the day.

I didn’t know the course, but I knew that there were hills in the beginning and a narrowish trail in the second half.  I didn’t have a “goal” going into the race per se, but I had kind of an idea of what I thought I could do.  I knew I wanted to get under 30 minutes and I thought something in the ballpark of 27:50 would be achievable.

I started the race with Matt and his dad.  Matt took off ahead right away, and I kind of went off by myself, as well.  However, after a couple minutes, I regrouped with Matt’s dad and stayed with him the whole rest of the race.  It was nice having someone to talk to, as well as having someone to pace myself with.  I’m not the strongest when it comes to the mental battle of pushing hard, so having someone to keep me going at a good pace was pretty much amazing.

Like I said, I really didn’t know the course.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that all the uphills were over by the end of the first mile.  I was also very happy to see 8:46 on my watch at the first mile marker.  After that, it was all flat or downhill.  I love to fly down the downhills, but the main one was on a narrow trail, and unfortunately I got blocked in behind a couple girls running side-by-side.  I wasn’t able to get around them until they stopped to go around some mud.  If I had it my way, I would have flown down and gone right through the mud.  When I think back, that is one of the things I regret about the race, but there is no point in worrying about the “what ifs,” so I’m doing my best to let it go.  I can’t control when I get blocked in!

Matt’s dad had gotten a couple people ahead of me on the trails, but once I was able to get around those girls, I ran back up to him and we stayed together the rest of the race.  I had no idea how close the finish line was once we got out of the trail, but it ended up being closer than I thought, so I didn’t really get to kick.  That’s the second thing I regret about this race.  I didn’t pick it up until I saw the clock, but by that point I only had about 50 meters left to go.  I did almost out-kick a girl who had passed me earlier, though, which made me happy.  She finished about half a step in front of me. 🙂

My finish time was 27:04.  Despite the couple things I wish I had done better (trail and kick), I finished a solid 45+ seconds ahead of my expected time.  I am very happy with that result.  I think I could have run faster (five minutes later I was ready to do it again…), but again, I need to move on from that and dwell on the good things!  I had a fun time and I still ran faster than I thought I could have.

Oh, and I’ve caught 5k Fever again.

HHN1: Thoughts on the First Six Weeks

I realized this morning that last week was the sixth week of my current training plan (catch-up: I’m using Hal Higdon Novice 1 marathon training to build mileage this summer).  The plan is 18 weeks long, which means I am officially a third of the way through it.  I think it would be jinxing things to make any comments about levels of health or success up to this point, but I do want to reflect on the past weeks a little bit.

I stopped doing weekly training recaps after the second week of the plan because I was finding them boring to write.  I already keep a training log for myself, so it’s not like I need weekly blog write-ups to hold myself accountable or to give me something to look back on.  I thought about posting a training recap today, but instead, here are some general take-aways looking back at the first six weeks of the program.

  1. I like having a structured outline of what days I will be running and how far.  I have never followed a training plan before and this takes a lot of the guesswork out of training for me.
  2. I was concerned about how the plan has three consecutive run days each week–Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I’m finding that I can handle it physically, but sometimes I feel burned out by the third day.  The last two weeks, due to other scheduling issues, I have switched Thursday’s run day and Friday’s rest day, which I have liked better.  However, I’m going to keep sticking to the plan as much as possible.
  3. Following this plan has afforded me more consistency with running than I have had all this year.  My reasoning for choosing this plan was that I thought it was my best chance at the moment of rebuilding mileage as safely as possible.  So far, it seems to be helping me do that.  As a result, I have been able to run consistently and am starting to feel like I am slowly but steadily regaining fitness.  It is hard to see changes day-to-day, but as these first six weeks have compounded, I have started feeling more confident in my running.
How I am doing so far. Green means I did it, yellow means I did it with some modifications, red means nope.

How I am doing so far. Green means I did it, yellow means I did it with some modifications, and red means nope. Compare to my Google doc! 😉

On Thursday, I wrote that I would be running a 5k the next day and that I thought 27:XX would be difficult for me to achieve given my current level of fitness.  I will be writing a race recap tomorrow, but just to spoil it a little: I ran 27:04 and regrettably had something left in the tank at the end.  That is evidence to me that I am starting to improve again.  My 5k PR is 24:49, which suddenly doesn’t seem so far away anymore.  I’m doing this plan to build a base to hopefully train for a spring 2015 marathon this winter, but a shiny new 5k PR certainly would not hurt… 😉

All in all, I am happy with this training plan so far.  The exciting newness of it has worn off, but of course I am sticking with it and I 100% plan to see it through to the end.  This Saturday will be the first long run of the plan that is over ten miles, so it feels like I am just now moving into the meat of the program.  Additionally, since I have never run longer than a half marathon, I am quickly approaching brand new territory.  I look forward to seeing how the next weeks of the plan play out.