Yes. I know. My running sessions are supposed to be closer together. As in 3 times a week. But I'm not beating myself up for it. There are plenty of scary imaginary gangsta thugs to do that for me.
Let me explain: already cautious and slightly suspicious female + overly paranoid and always aware-of-surroundings male + 14 years of togetherness = proneness to paranoid delusions on the part of said female when running in the dark.
Tonight, I did my first "night" run. A co-worker said she recently read some article saying that most people think that it's better to exercise outdoors in the morning, but it's really better at night. Since I did NOT want to get out of bed this morning, I had to try out her theory.
I left about an hour ago. Before I did, I took off my wedding ring. As I did, I suddenly thought "what if someone kidnaps me? And I can't make them believe that someone will be looking for me - namely my husband - because I don't have my wedding ring on?" And then I answered myself "well, just show them the red marks and indentations on that finger, and they'll believe you!" And then the first self said "well, what if they keep me for a really long time and I'm really really sad I didn't just keep my ring on?" And the second one said "oh, believe me, you'd probably just mutilate yourself with your fingernails to keep the marks of the band around that finger - a sort of vigil for your marriage and your husband."
Is that not twisted????
So, I start my run. My shins ache for about the first 30 seconds of running. So, I really focus on my running form, and it goes away. I brought my cell phone with me because it has a stopwatch function. So. . . I have my iPod strapped to my arm, wires hanging, earbuds in my ears, cell in my left hand, water bottle in my right. But at least I don't have to wear a visor. I guess. I feel laden like a beast of burden. And the dinner I ate before running, although not heavy, feels so now.
Despite this, my cell/stopwatch actually helps me keep time pretty well. And provides a little light, too. I never realized how dark my route is. When M and I rollerblade down it, he always brings a flashlight. But that just now occurs to me.
So, as I run, I notice that I can finally breathe. And it seems that the air might be a little clearer. Well, I guess anything's an improvement over the stenchy weedkiller of last time. I quickly notice nighttime hampers my visual cues, which is both good (I can't see how far I still have to go) and bad (I can't see where the street curbs dip).
I also am on high alert for the baddies who would snatch me. I pay attention to slow-moving cars in parking lots, and when a truck turns from a street, goes down half a block and turns into the alley, I purposefully watch the headlights' glow on the trees to make sure it's still moving and not stopping waiting to grab me. Only when I notice the lights bend and turn into a back yard do I look away.
As I run, I also plan and plot what I would do to/hit with/throw at an imagined attacker and as I run by front yards the list includes: bricks, rocks, small dogs, my cell phone, my water bottle. . .
I also feel the tinge of hypochondriacal tendencies mixed in with the paranoid delusions: I smell the blossoms of something that I'm sure I'm allergic too. So much for the air being cleaner at night.
In spite of all these wonderful distractions, or maybe because of them, I keep my intervals much more in line with the program this time, thanks to the stopwatch. I still find the 90 second walking hard to do and want to run again at about 60 seconds, but with a stopwatch I'm able to enforce myself. Besides, I'm sure I'll find running for 90 seconds much harder than walking it. I push myself harder - doing 60 extra seconds at the end instead of walking.
I get home and ask M how long I've been gone. He says 50 minutes. So that means a short warm-up walk, a short cool-off walk (both in my neighborhood) and then about 40 minutes on my route. That's twice the "legal limit" of the program, which calls for 20 minutes.
So. I feel pretty good. Now, if I can just stick to my plan of running on Thursday and Saturday this week, I'll be doing fine.
But, I still have to figure out whether I like mornings or evenings better. Either way, I'll have to look into tips for running in hot weather, since it's over 100º here already!