Pt. 1: Christmas in D.C., or 4.9 Miles of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Busting Fun

But who’s counting?

Actually, not me since I was watch-less as usual, but that’s about what it felt like, and that’s what a little post-run evaluation revealed; just under five miles was about what I expected to see when I finally sat down to map my D.C. run.

Based on past experience, I was technically setting myself up for failure Thursday morning in Washington, D.C. For one, I was coming off of a pretty gnarly sore throat (the third of the season; argh) that presented itself to me on Christmas morning. No, it was not beneath the tree. And no, it did not stop me from checking out the Botanical Gardens (there was a holiday train exhibit!)…

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…taste testing sweets from TLC’s Georgetown Cupcakes (note: go on a rainy day, there was actually no line)…

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…or finding me some glitter.

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And yet another reason, besides the fact that I spent 60 minutes strength training on Wednesday using Noah’s parent’s old weights, arguably an artifact from the nineties (despite being sick, I really felt the need to break a sweat and drive the germs out of my body), is that I simply tend to have sub-par runs in D.C. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Maryland area, since it’s where Noah lived during our first year out of college. Time and again, my leisurely runs have proved to be ineffective and unenjoyable. Like I said, I really don’t know why.

It must have been a Christmas miracle, which is strange since I’m 100% Jewish by birth. But after complaining about my throat for more than 48 hours, I decided that I needed to run — if only for a little while, you know, to shake out the sore throat cobwebs — on Thursday afternoon.

The weather, overcast.

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The air temperature, chilly.

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The condition, windy.

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Not ideal, but not awful either.

Without thinking too much about it, I put on the warmest gear I had packed with me and topped it off with one of Noah’s old fleeces, which I found in the back of his childhood closet. Then, I set off to explore the small wooded area near his house.

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Really, it’s very, very safe.

To avoid any negative vibes right off the bat, I started off nice and slowly, climbing the Everest-like hill at the bottom of the driveway in order to make my way across a lovely little dog park, where a small punt-able chihuahua tried to bite my leg. By the time I hit the road, I was actually kind of feeling it — both my body and the music. My intention at the start of my run had been to keep a moderate pace; what I wound up with was something a bit more ambitious.

I didn’t really have much of a plan or route when I left for Thursday’s run. I figured that I knew the area enough to kind of let myself wander — take each road, trail and turn as they came. If I got lost, I had my iPhone.

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By the time it was over, I had managed to remain on relatively flat surfaces, covering just under five miles of terrain with the incorporation of short bursts of speed every now and then, even if only for 10 to 20 seconds or so. They weren’t speedy or pretty miles, but without glitz or glamor, they got the job done.

Maybe my D.C. negativity has been somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy for all these years; I expect a crappy run, so often, that’s what I get.

With that in mind, I’ve been trying to focus on potentially positive aspects of the experience before I step out the door. On Thursday, they were that 1) there was sunshine poking through the clouds, 2) I was running alone, and therefore had no one to keep up with; slow was totally cool, 3) I was armed with awesome tunes, and 4) I was insanely comfy in Noah’s old fleece from the moment I zipped it up.

Bam, let the good times roll. And roll they did.

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With confidence in tow, the rest of my runs over the course of my time in D.C. were relatively A-OK (although none were as great as that first one). Yet thanks to my uplifted spirits, I decided to get fancy with Friday’s excursion, testing out new routes and crossing new bridges (literally)…

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…in order to log another four or so miles. Hitting both trail and pavement…

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…I found myself panting a bit more than usual, likely because of the inclusion of dirt paths. And so, as recommended by a trail running blogger not more than six months ago, I slowed my pace down, almost embarrassingly so. I didn’t care at all though. Because at the end of the day, for me, it’s not about the speed or the distance. It’s about how I feel while out there. And I’d like to keep it that way.

  • Do you ever feel as though self-fulfilling prophecies dictate the quality of your workouts? Do you try to fight these urges?
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6 thoughts on “Pt. 1: Christmas in D.C., or 4.9 Miles of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Busting Fun

    • Yepp, they live right near the canal. I usually run on either MacArthur Blvd. or down there, somewhere near lock seven. And don’t be crushed! I enjoy the runs because it’s a change of scenery. I think NY has just primed me to enjoy cars nearly hitting you in the face.

  1. I use to force myself to complete specific exercises even though I didnt enjoy them the last time. It always affected the quality of the workout and I never felt rejuvenated or energized. Now I try a different tactic, I ask myself if I dont want to exercise that way what way would I prefer to? Runs turn into hikes, weight lifting turns into a brisk walk with the dog. I never regret what I choose and I always feel great.

    Those pictures you posted of your run make me want to go for a trail run now 🙂

    • I love having the option to mix in a trail run every now and then. Like you said, doing one thing over and over gets tiring – though of course, when the trails are available, I get the urge for pavement.

  2. ok that sign had me laughing so hard, that’s totally the kind of places i end up running! yes I fully believe running is a mental sport and we often get exactly what we expect even if our body could do something more or less

    • I love that sign. It makes me laugh every time. Then I realize I’m running on a straight-away canal and get bored again!

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