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Thankful Things Thursday: On Good Runs, Grippy Hangers & Gold Medals
I am not thankful for steroid face. Dang it. I’m feeling slightly chipmunky these days. I thought I could get through this round of ‘roids without getting the inevitable “moon face,” but alas, photos taken yesterday reveal a slight, chipmunky change in face shape.
But chipmunks are happy creatures, I assume, and I, too, am a happy creature. The only difference is that chipmunks have to spend all their time singing songs and cleaning up and making dresses and tying bows for that bossy bitch Cinderella, while I get to spend my valuable moments making lists of things I’m thankful for.
I’m thankful I can wake up and run. Remember that Crohn’s flare-up? That was super annoying, and I wasted a lot of time in the bathroom every day. It has been so nice being able to wake up and hit the road lately. I get out the door so much faster when my stomach is calm! It is MAGIC.
Can I talk more about running?
I’ve had some good runs this week. No speedwork, no hardcore hill training — just solid, fun, happy runs.
On Tuesday I quite literally ran into Kelly in Central Park. I was planning to run casually and comfortably, and that’s how I started.
Here are the splits from Tuesday’s run:
Can you guess at which mile I ran into my fast friend Kelly?
If you guessed mile 1 you are wrong.
If you guessed mile 8 you are also wrong.
You suck at this game.
The correct answer is mile 4, roughly. We agreed to “keep it slow,” but then an 8:18 pace happened and I noticed Kelly was talking way more than I was, so we slowed it down a bit and I contributed more than just coughing and smiling and nodding to the conversation.
I took yesterday off from running — see, again, how I’m trying to be smart and doing that whole “listen to your body” thing people preach? — and opted for an easy (translation: worst ever) spin class. It was boring, I loathed the instructor, the music was unmemorable and I was unimpressed.
But then today I got to run again!
My Coach of the Hour — because yes, my current “coach” is whoever responds to my GChats, emails or friendly subway conversations the fastest — suggested I do my planned 10 Thursday Morning Miles (capitalized, because that’s a formal title now…look it up) as a progression run.
“Get faster as you go,” the wise one encouraged.
I started out with a warm-up-ish mile and no real plan. I figured I’d just scoot around Central Park and every two miles I’d try to go “a little faster.” Emily said this workout would be “gratifying.” But two miles in, I was feeling more sluggish than psyched, and I started to talk myself out of the plan.
“I’ll just keep it to marathon goal pace-ish,” the voices in my head said.
“But that wasn’t the plan,” the other, run-loving voices chimed in.
Seriously, my head is a very scary place to be at 5:30 AM. And, frankly, at all other times, too.
As I neared the third mile of the run, I decided to go with the happy runner voices. Faster. Go.
My route around the park was slightly spastic.
I was all over the place, and by “all over the place” I mean I was “everywhere but up in the Harlem Hills and on the west side hills.” Smart, don’t you think?
By mile six I was loving this run. I felt loosened up and I wanted to go faster. So I did. Because that was the plan.
By mile nine I was sufficiently spent, and then I got to cool down. I always end with a cool-down mile and it is always fun. Except not really, because it’s on my way home and I have to stop at a bunch of traffic lights.
So was the workout “gratifying,” like Coach Sweaty promised?
You bet it was.
I felt really strong on this run and it felt good to work hard and push toward a goal. I feel like I’ve been coasting on my runs lately, which is fine, because why not? But every now and then it’s fun to throw in a workout like this and end it on that little runner’s high.
My left shin is a bit achy now, so I’ll be icing throughout the day and definitely not running again tomorrow. Smart Chipmunk Ali is what you should probably start calling me.
I’m thankful for my new apartment and lovely water views. You knew that already, but I couldn’t not include it.
There’s still a lot to be done, but this apartment felt like home right away and I’m very happy there. It’s clean.
I’m thankful for those grippy felt hangers. I always used plastic tubey hangers because they came in really bright colors at The Container Store. I’m a sucker for all things lime green. But it turns out, those things take up a ton of space, and they’re not super handy because clothes just fall right off them.
Since the move, I have spent entirely too much money on new hangers at Bed Bath & Beyond — thank goodness for those 20% off coupons my mom and her friends send me — and they are amazing.
I have more space in my closet and my clothes aren’t constantly falling onto the floor. It’s genius. I wasn’t paid to write all this (dang it). Bed Bath & Beyond should probably sponsor me for something though. I could run races while carrying hangers and handing out coupons. I don’t know. It’s just an idea…that I’m going to pitch ASAP.
I’m thankful for my tax refund. I think taxes are dumb. I don’t like paying them. But I do like getting a little bit back each year and that makes me temporarily forget about the part of my paycheck I never actually get to see.
I’m thankful it’s that time of year when you can sleep with the windows wide open and get that perfect breeze in lieu of air conditioning or a fan.
I’m thankful I got to hold a gold medal. So yesterday marked 100 days until the London Olympics, which is very exciting. I love the Olympics. Times Square was packed with Olympians just roaming around, wearing their medals like it was no big deal. I happened to be passing through and I touched a medal. And the man wearing it.
This OK-looking man is Ricky Berens, and he is a swimmer. He was just standing there, so we chatted. He was like, “Where are you from?” and I was like, “I live here,” and he was like, “I live in California,” and then I was like, “NO I CAN’T DATE YOU, I LIVE WITH BRIAN AND WE’RE IN LOVE.”
We agreed to just be friends, and then I asked him some really deep questions. I wanted to know if he had his gold medal insured, and he said, “No, I should probably get on that!” Dude, you won it in 2008. Yeah, you should get on it, before I steal it and run away with it.
I also asked him where he keeps the medal, and he said he wraps it up in a bunch of socks.
I would wear it all the time. I cannot think of a single outfit I own that wouldn’t go well with a giant heap of gold.
So that was cool. The Olympics are exciting. And Ricky Berens is a nice man. (Truthfully I was embarrassed I didn’t know more about him or swimming so we could talk about actual relevant things, but we made do with small talk.)
I’m thankful for the abundance of benches in Central Park. I just really like them. I like sitting on them and people watching and I like using them to do tricep dips…while people watching.
I’m thankful for that delicious, recognizable, unmistakable smell of a Subway sandwich shop. Is that the scent of freshly-baked bread tickling my nostrils? You bet it is. I rarely actually eat at Subway, but I do really enjoy the smell of that place when I walk by.
I’m thankful for BodyGlide. Sorry, but true. It’s getting hot out, people. This stuff is great.
I’m thankful I have a kitchen that makes me actually want to cook. The other night I made fish and brussels sprouts.
I even cleaned up afterward. Best roommate ever? Yes. Actually no, because I take all the closets and despise taking out the trash. But other than that, I do my best to be Super Roommate. It’s a welcomed change having space to move around and a sink that can actually hold more than one dirty dish at a time.
I’m thankful I packed my lunch today. I’ve been very diligent about not wasting my money buying fancy Panera sandwiches and, instead, packing my own sandwiches with Tzatziki sauce. Delicious, filling and cheap.
I think that’s a good thankful list for today, right? I’m feeling pretty psyched about life.
ARE YOU? Tell me what you’re feeling grateful for on this very lovely Thursday!