Browse Category: Running/Fitness

Morons in Love

Morons in Love
Morons in Love

At some point early on Sunday morning while I was running my Tammany Loops (See my post: “Early Morning Tammany Loops”.), during my second loop to be exact, some knucklehead spray painted the above endearment along the red dot trail. Some time between 7:15 and 8:30 AM the deed was done.

I remember what it was like being young and crazy about a girl, “in love,” as they say. I remember writing a girl’s name all over my desk in 6th grade. Come to think of it, I wrote a different girl’s name all over a desk a few years later.

Then I remember an act of vandalism I inflicted upon the unused factory across the street from our house when I was 15. I spray painted letters on one of the doors. They were letters of true love. They were not for a girl. They were for a band.

LED
ZEP

My old neighbor, Mr. Bennett, thought for sure it was someone with the initials “LED” in love with someone else with the initials “ZEP.” He was about 500 years-old, drove a big old station wagon, had a wife who was OCD about washing her hands constantly, and he had a plot of land a few miles down Route 31 where he grew an abundance of vegetables. He was kind enough to give our family plenty of tomatoes and zucchini. I’ll never forget the day he pointed over toward the factory and said to me, “Look at that, Sammy. Must be somebody in love.” I thought, You moron, it’s a band! The best band in the world! Thinking about it now, he probably wasn’t as senile as I took him to be and probably saw me painting the damn door the day before, like a knucklehead.

My family had a Ford Torino in those days. When my stepfather was at work and my mom was occupied with my baby sister, I would take the keys and drive that car, a pukey tan colored boat, up our gravel driveway onto the street, down the Bennett’s driveway and around their house, over and over like it was the Indy 500. Mr. Bennett got a kick out of it. He also seemed to think I was as innocent as a Boy Scout. He never knew that I cut a corner too close and took a chunk of cement off his house with that Torino. (My stepfather took a chunk out of my hide that day though!) Mr. Bennett also did not know how I and my best friend, who turned me on to “LED ZEP” in the first place, used to throw the rocks from the gravel driveway to bust out the windows of that old factory. Sometimes we used our Wrist Rocket slingshots.

But I digress in telling you about what a moron I was as a teenager. All I intended to do with this post was say that there is really no excuse for graffiti in the woods. What is the point?? Or is “MB 03 05 A…(What is that? A backward D?)” a new band I don’t know about? Either way, you got the first letter right: M. For moron. Because if you think the hikers and runners will pause to appreciate your sign of deep and true love, you, my friend, are a moron.

Early Morning Tammany Loops

A Tammany Loop is a course that follows the red dot and blue blaze trails on Mt. Tammany on the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap. It’s approximately 3.3 miles long and has an elevation gain of about 1,100 feet. It’s a good work out.

Yesterday morning I was able to get an ultra-early start on hiking/running the loop. I was on the trails by 5:45 AM. The baby woke up at 3:45. I fed him and couldn’t get back to sleep, eager to get to the mountain, I guess. I was in the car before the sun came up.

I completed the loop 3 times (up red, down blue). Even though it took me 4 hours to do those 3 loops, I was happy with my effort. It’s been a year since I was last able to do 3 Tammany Loops in a row, which is the most I’ve done so far. I’m a little slower than last year thanks to my compromised ankle. But I’m happy to be back to covering that amount of distance and elevation. Speed will come later. My ankle still needs more healing. (During the third loop it let me know it wasn’t happy. It was on fire!)

The temperature and humidity were pleasant in the morning. As you can see below, the temperature started at 62° and rose almost 20° during my run. What’s interesting is that the humidity dropped as the temperature rose. Maybe it’s because the sun burned off the fog. Both the sun and the fog made for nice photos, which are below.

temps


A view of the Gap from I-80 at 5:30 AM
A view of the Gap from I-80 at 5:30 AM


Fog over the Delaware River between Mt. Tammany and Mt. Minsi
Fog over the Delaware River between Mt. Tammany and Mt. Minsi


Fog over the Delaware River and off into the Poconos
Fog over the Delaware River and off into the Poconos


Moon and Belt of Venus over Mt. Minsi in the early morning
Moon and Belt of Venus over Mt. Minsi in the early morning


The morning sun over the terminus of the blue blaze trail on the summit of Mt. Tammany (is that a skull on the trail??)
The morning sun over the terminus of the blue blaze trail on the summit of Mt. Tammany (is that a skull on the trail??)


Gypsy moth caterpillar.  Let's hope there aren't too many of these this year.
Gypsy moth caterpillar. Let’s hope there aren’t too many of these this year.


Mountain laurel
Mountain laurel

Back At It

Look at the size of that fly on my head!  It would have sucked my brains out if I hadn't been wearing a hat!
Look at the size of that fly on my head! It would have sucked my brains out if I hadn’t been wearing a hat!

I got out for a 6-mile run at Mahlon Dickerson Reservation this afternoon. It was a beautiful sunny day. The temperature was 73°. The humidity was low.

I was still mildly fatigued from Wednesday’s migraine (See yesterday’s post: “Voided.”) A migraine is guaranteed to affect me for at least two days and sometimes three. The first day, at least the first 18 hours are the worst. The second day is when I have what I refer to as “migraine hangover.” I’ll have a dull headache, feel fatigued and generally worn out. That’s how I felt yesterday. Today I was feeling almost back to normal (whatever that is). But the fatigue got to me by the halfway point of my run.

As you can see in the photo, I layered up again for this run. (See my recent post: “Such a Hottie.”) There are 8 days until the Running with the Devil race and weather reports are estimating the temperatures to be close to 90° by then. That is exactly how I thought June was going to play out and exactly what I’ve been preparing for. Today I wore a long-sleeved cotton shirt with a heavy cotton sweatshirt. I didn’t wear sweatpants because there’s too much foliage on which to get snagged. Because the temperature wasn’t too high, the humidity was low, and I was running in the shade of the woods, the layers were not overbearing.

It’s always good to be in the woods, except maybe when you roll your ankle and have to hobble a long distance to get out of the woods. Today was a thoroughly enjoyable day. There is always something different to see each time I’m in the woods. Here are a few photos.

There are at least 13 turtles sunning themselves in this photo.  I wish I could have gotten a closer shot.
There are at least 13 turtles sunning themselves in this photo. I wish I could have gotten a closer shot.
A water lily about to bloom.  Soon this pond will look like a Monet painting.
A water lily about to bloom. Soon this pond will look like a Monet painting.

Here is a photo of something which every time I come around a certain bend in the trail I see in my peripheral vision and think it is a bear sitting there. EVERY TIME! I’ve seen bears numerous times in the woods, but I don’t want to suddenly run up on one when he’s sitting there minding his own business!

NOT a bear.  Phew!
NOT a bear. Phew!

One other thing after the past few lost days: I didn’t gain any weight since last week. For three days this week my eating was out of control. I wrote about all the pizza I consumed, but I didn’t tell you about the apple crumb cake (which I ate while driving and got it all over), the Dunkin Donuts followed by McDonald’s an hour later, the entire box of Devil Dogs, and more. I did better today. I ate much less. I did eat more Ruffles potato chips than I needed. But I’m back on the wagon and back at it. That feels good.

Voided

Well, poopy.
Well, poopy.

Sometimes my best laid plans are made void by the arrival of a migraine. When one comes, I always have high intentions of continuing with my day, fulfilling all the to-dos on my to-do list. But over the course of several hours, my motivation and strength to keep going begin to wane.

My migraines always begin with a visual aura. It starts small, a bright tiny speck in my vision. I always doubt its existence when I first notice it. Maybe it’s just a floater or an afterimage from a bright reflection I saw. But once the tiny speck takes the shape of a few jagged lines and begins to shimmer and vibrate, I know my day has been interrupted in truth.

At that point I take my pills. The aura grows, spreading over 75% or more of my vision. My brain starts to get a little fuzzy. Sometimes my words get mixed up. The bright lights in my eyes are a sign of the circuits in my head shorting out.

The pain starts. I feel like puking. The energy of my body begins to fade as if it’s being drained through the soles of my feet into the hard lifeless earth.

By then I begin to give up on my plans for the day. Running and exercise feel like way too much of an effort. At that point I start to think, Maybe I can go for a walk to at least get a little exercise. But before long I usually forego that idea too. Going places, running errands, meeting up with friends, all become too much to undertake. I give up.

Along the way I usually become ravenously hungry, but not for anything healthy! No! I crave PIZZA! Almost always. Sometimes sweet things too. Then all my striving to lose weight by eating right gets completely derailed. I’ve consumed an entire pizza under such conditions. I’ve eaten numerous cakes and cookies. Is it a need for massive amounts of carbohydrates for which my body must have? Or am I eating for the emotional comfort of junk food? When I am in that condition, the answer to that question never matters.

This was my day yesterday. Plans were cancelled. My day went down the tubes. My vitality was sucked out of me. And I filled the void with:

PIZZA!!!!
PIZZA!!!!

For more thoughts on migraines and to see some of my migraine art check out “Sleep with Migraine, A Still Life” and other posts on my art website, Doodlesam.com.

Such a Hottie

Well layered
Well layered

As I mentioned in this post from May 31, I’ve been working at acclimating to the heat with an eye toward enduring the temperatures during this race in 12 more days. Since the weather has been on the cool side this May in New Jersey, I’ve had to resort to artificial means of producing warm conditions. These means include wearing warm clothes in the house while going about my business, not using air conditioning in the house or car, running and exercising in warm clothing.

Today I went out for a run wearing these layers: a long-sleeved heavy cotton t-shirt under a heavy sweatshirt, sweatpants with compression shorts underneath (and underwear), wool socks (which I always wear while running), and a winter running hat. Yes, I got a few looks from other people who were out walking, running, biking. It was best for me to just avoid eye contact with any of them.

Today was another relatively cool day at 69° and cloudy, but look at that humidity! 80%! (See below.) These were the perfect conditions to bundle up and get my sweat on. However, I was mindful to stay salted and watered. I took two Endurolyte capsules before I started my run. I also brought along my new Amphipod handheld water bottle filled with ice and water.

80% Humidity
80% Humidity
My new favorite water bottle
My new favorite water bottle

I set off down the West Morris Greenway from Horseshoe Lake in Roxbury. I ran at a slow steady pace of about 11 minutes per mile and walked when necessary. My overall pace worked out to be 12:14. I didn’t want to be fast, just hot. I set a timer for 30 minutes. When it went off, I turned around and headed back to where I started. I ran 5 miles in total, taking in an hour’s worth of lush green scenery, as shown in this photo.

Half of this picture consists of reflections.
Half of this picture consists of reflections.

I kept the layers on for another 30 minutes when I got home to allow my body to slowly cool down. After 30 minutes all that wet cotton-wear got cold and felt like a heavy chilly blanket. This hour of running in the humidity while layered-up gave me exactly what I was aiming for. I need to continue these antics through this week (it’s going to be only 56° tomorrow) and into next week when the temperatures here are predicted to rise up to the low 80s. That, I hope, will prepare me for the race.

There's no denying I'm hot.  ;)
There’s no denying I’m hot. 😉