Martini Fridays: A Double Shot

So last Thursday, as I headed to see Wait Wait Don't Tell Me live at Red Rocks, I had a nagging feeling I was forgetting something. Tickets? Got 'em. My friend Jo? Yep, she's there. My disappointment that I didn't get to run with Peter Sagal? Carrying that too.

Turns out, I forgot to load the first 13.FUN episode of Martini Fridays. Duh. I emailed Adrienne after the mistake was brought to my attention to tell her that she didn't need to do one for today, but like the true BAMR she is, she wrote two posts. Lucky us: we get a double shot today. Thanks, Adrienne!

Shot One

No clams today. Just in case you were wondering.
No clams today. Just in case you were wondering.

I’m certain that you all have been on the edges of your proverbial seats and unable to focus on anything other than which 13.FUN training plan I picked. Or, perhaps you found something much better to do, like sort through all of your running tops and arranging them by tendency to stink.

Given my demonstrated tendency to reach just a little bit further than I think I can grasp —for proof, see the series of blog posts about the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, which was twice as long as my longest long run—it should be no surprise that I signed up for the “race” option. I’d like to say that this choice was due to deep thought and careful planing on my part. But if I said that, I’d be lying. Mostly, I decided to trust my gut, which said, “eh. what the hell.”

But I’m also a known bet-hedger. Not only did I sign up for the Strava “race” group, I joined the Strava “run” group as well, as someone in the comments on my last post suggested. If the whole thing goes pear shaped, I can always bail on plan A and happily embrace plan B. I am nothing if not flexible. Well, mentally flexible; physically is another issue.

The midpoint of Saturday’s long (bad) run was a local cemetery. You see a big fish, too, right?
The midpoint of Saturday’s long (bad) run was a local cemetery. You see a big fish, too, right?

Because of a trip to the U.K. I’ll be taking in August -- yes, I’m very excited but still need to write the dang paper for the conference -- I decided to start the program one week earlier than I needed to for the October 19 Empire State Half Marathon . While I’m certain I’ll run while abroad, I’m equally certain that they won’t be long, quality runs. (And if you know of any great running trails/clubs in London or Cambridge, holler.)

I can report that Week 1 went well enough that I haven’t yet started to doubt my “race” decision. The trickiest bit came on day 2, when I had to figure out what a tempo run is. According to page 213 of our hymnal, tempo pace is 75-85 percent of you max effort.  My max effort in an interval is about 8:30 minute miles, which I can only maintain for 90 seconds before feeling like my lungs might just burst out of my chest, Alien style. My tempo pace should be between 10:30 and 11, if I’m doing the math right, which is never a given.


For the middle mile of a three mile run, I kept to a 10:45 pace. It was easier than I’d thought it would be but wasn’t actually easy-easy. That pace is a challenge; not like a “I’m going to die” challenge, just a “hard to maintain if I stop paying attention” challenge. I’m actually looking forward to the next tempo run. This might also be a sign that I’ve lost my mind.

My Saturday long run—6 miles—was without any doubt the worst run I’ve hard in quite some time. The awfulness struck out of the blue. I can pretty comfortably run six miles and expected this one to be more of the same. The running fates laughed.

My first mistake was planning to run after lunch, which is not my preferred time to run. I had a bagel at 11 or so, thinking that a big hit of carbs would a) be easily digested by 1:30 and b) fuel for the run. While that might work for others, that big bolus of bread weighed me down and kept feeling like it might come back up.

But I could have worked with that if it weren’t so flipping humid here right now. While the air temp was hovering around the high 70s, the air was so wet you could chew it. A sensible runner would have waited until dusk. I can see that now.

Short version of the epic terribleness of that six miles is that I got it done. And I know that even bad runs teache you important lessons. The lesson I take from that one is to not be a complete dipwad who runs in the middle of a muggy June afternoon.

In other news, the mystery of my favorite socks has been solved. They are Mizuno Women’s Musha Sock (style number 490152). I wound up emailing the company, as, again, someone suggested in the comments on my last post (and which I never would have thought to do if left to my own devices). The good news is that I can name what I love. The bad news—and you might have anticipated this—is that they no longer make them.

And done. (And you can totally tell that I had my upper lip waxed the day before. TMI?)
And done. (And you can totally tell that I had my upper lip waxed the day before. TMI?)

I might have gnashed my teeth and wailed a smidge when I opened the email. While the rep suggested some models that are close, I know in my heart of hearts that they just won’t be the same. It’s like suggesting that some guy who is about the same size and shape as my beloved spouse will work out fine because he’s “close enough.”

I’m trolling ebay, mind, but am aware that my heart (and my soles) will have to move on.


Shot Two

Her Royal Highness Lucy was my co-pilot for this week’s long run.
Her Royal Highness Lucy was my co-pilot for this week’s long run.


Last week, which was my second week of the 13.FUN race plan, my husband and I packed up the kids and the dog and decamped for a friend’s place in southern New Jersey. The cats were left to their own devices for a few days. I’m not even sure they woke up long enough to notice we’d left.

The only runs on the docket were a 3.5 miler with the middle 1.5 at tempo and a 7 mile long run. No problem, I thought as I packed two sets of running tops, shorts, socks, and bras. Miraculously, I also remembered to pack Herr Garmin, his charger cord, and a salted caramel Gu.

For the most part, the tempo run went just fine. I picked a loose route through our friends’ neighborhood that dumped me at a cemetery, where I could pick up the pace without worrying about traffic.

(An aside: you might have noticed that I have a fondness for running in cemeteries. They are usually pretty quiet, which I love, and generally lack fast moving cars. I don’t think the permanent residents mind—some might even enjoy the spectacle of me wheezing past their final destinations—but I will turn around if there is an active graveside service going on. Mourning does not need a sweaty audience.)

What I didn’t fully comprehend until the second half of my first mile of that tempo run is how much more humid that part of New Jersey is compared to central New York. There was sweat dripping off of my earlobes. I don’t know how southern runners manage propelling themselves through cream of chicken soup but I doff my wet visor to you.

Parvin Lake is lovely, if not as well blazed as it could be.
Parvin Lake is lovely, if not as well blazed as it could be.

I wanted something a little more scenic for the long run and started to scour ye olde internets. Parvin State Park looked promising and I planned to go there on Friday. Thursday was for resting and a trip to the Ocean City Boardwalk, where I ate many inadvisable (but really tasty) things, like crab balls, which the 12-year old boy in me and my dining companions snickered over for longer than is seemly.

Friday morning the Hub and I abandoned our children, scooped up the dog, and drove to the park. He took HRH Lucy for a good long walk while I set out on a seven mile loop that I’d carefully plotted on the trail map the night before.

The first six miles went well enough. Crab balls, as it turns out, are not the best fuel for a long run but I felt relatively energetic. It was early enough in the day that the humidity was only about 90 percent—again, I don’t know how you do it—and the trails were still laced with the previous evening’s cobwebs, which I helpfully cleared with my body for any runners coming after me. I only squealed when I ran through the first one. This is a great leap in maturity.

Around mile six, something started to feel wrong. Not physically, mind. I was appropriately tired and thirsty for that point in the run. It was more an emotional unease, like there was something I had failed to notice. I stopped an broke out my phone and found the trail map. Then I swore a little bit.

Near as I can figure, the red, orange and yellow blazes on the trails had all faded to more or less the same yellowredorange-y color after who knows how many years in the sun. Let this be yet another lesson in how the map and the territory are almost never the same.

 Post-trail run ankles. Can you guess how high my socks were?

Post-trail run ankles. Can you guess how high my socks were?

I hemmed. I hawed. I did my best to nail down exactly where I was and gave up. Eventually, all of the warm colored paths led to the green path, which was where I need to be. I just kept running for another mile and hoped for the best.

When Herr Garmin beeped to tell me I’d made it to seven miles, I turned it off and started to walk. I was out of water and over the whole “running through the woods” thing. I was, however, finally on the path I needed, even if I wasn’t sure if I was heading clockwise or counter-clockwise. I just kept walking until there was enough of a clearing to see the swimming area on the other side of the lake and could find my bearings.

Reader, if it hadn’t been for my phone and its ability to pull information out of the sky and put me in contact with my husband, I probably would have panicked more than a bit as I walked an extra mile or so to get back to where I’d started. We forget, sometimes, how wonderful it is to live in the future.

I was so, so, so happy to finally see the spouse and the dog walking towards me. As near miraculous as my iPhone is, it can’t offer me a bottle of water, turn the car AC to super max, and drive me home. Yet, anyway.

 This week’s question, which I ask simply to feel like less of a weirdo: do you run in cemeteries? Why or why not?

26 responses to “Martini Fridays: A Double Shot

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  3. I purposely run through cemeteries when I travel. They are different everywhere you go and I think it is one additional way to learn about the place I’m visiting. I also occasionally run through the one closest to home – where my grandparents are buried. When I do, I always think how proud they would have been to see the runner that I am today.

  4. New Orleans is known for honoring the history of her cemeteries. There’s an annual 5k held in a cemetery nearby, sponsored by the non-profit group Save Our Cemeteries. I would call that proof that running through cemeteries is acceptable and even encouraged.
    I did the 5k for the first time this year and it was really beautiful and respectful. If there was one closer to my regular running routes, I’d do so more often for sure.

  5. I really enjoy reading your candid updates even if I now feel lazy for having done so. Gotta get a move on! 🙂

  6. I run by some old Connecticut (1600-1700) cemetaries all the time, which I love as a history geek.
    There is a more modern one on my long run routes with actual paved paths, but very twisty so have not run in it though I see walkers all the time. As long as there is not a buriel in progress or someone visiting a grave I see no harm.
    Back in the day when death was not a taboo subject people picnicked in cemetaries, and they were actually our first public parks in the U.S.

  7. There is a cemetery about a half mile from my house that is a pretty good size that I run around all the time on the weekends. I love it! There are lots of other runners and walkers too so I think it is fine.

  8. I don’t run in cemeteries, but I run by one on occasion. I also run in humidity. Here in the Mid-Atlantic, it is most humid in the early morning which is when I choose to run. I usually have sweat dripping off of my elbows when I’m done. I don’t like it, but I guess you can say I’ve gotten used to it. After a day of running in 94% humidity (no joke), a day of 75% humidity feels good. 😛

  9. Not only do I not run in cemetaries, I have actually never stepped foot in one. Once in college a raging party was put on in a cemetary and I attended but actually stayed outside the the fence. My family doesn’t do the whole burial thing and I don’t know proper etiquette with the dead so I just don’t go. I do know it’s not proper etiquette to throw a raging party in a cemetary.

  10. Serpentine Running Club in London. They have a website with lots of routes (running around Hyde Park along with the streets to/from Buckingham Palace are my favorite runs!). Hyde Park will be filled with runners/walkers/bikers/strollers, etc., etc.

  11. I like running in cemeteries also. In my city some cemeteries don’t allow joggers, but most do. I run in them for some of the same reasons you do – low traffic – but also the scenery is nice and it allows me to add some distance without getting too terribly far from home. There are 3 gorgeous Catholic cemeteries within 1.5 miles of my house, and I can use them to run 8 – 9 miles. Also, they usually have a water spigot with fresh water that I can use to refill my water bottle, which is a winner.

  12. I’ve never been close enough to a cemetery to run through one, but if I lived closer to where my family is buried I would in a minute! I was raised going to the gravesides frequently and always feel at home and just cloaked in my family there. The fish tho-wow! Lol
    And you are much braver than I because if I had gotten lost and knew it, I’m pretty sure I would have panicked! Great job keeping on!
    I really enjoy your blogs, please keep going!!!! You always make me smile!
    Ps-In the South, we run EARLY, that’s how you try and beat the chicken soup. If you can’t, well, you just run a little slower and try to drink it. 😉

  13. When I lived in IL I was told by a friend NOT to run in cemeteries. She was once scolded by a cemetery employee, because running is not “respectful”.
    I just moved to Pgh last week, though, and our neighborhood has a large cemetery, which I was told that the neighborhood residents use as their local park. So, I had hubby grill his co-workers, and he assured me that running is A-OK. I hit the very hilly cemetery last week, and loved it!! It’s so quiet and pretty! The only downfall is that the roads are pitched, and after 2+ years of running on pitched roads in upstate NY, my body is preferring the sidewalks. So, my plan is to hit the cemetery for hill work and/or to extend a run when I don’t want to deal with traffic. 🙂
    I love the Martini updates!

  14. Yes to cemetery running! A friend turned me on to this over a year ago. She says it reminds her that her workouts will hopefully keep her just a visitor, rather than a resident, to the cemetery longer. It’s an equally creepy and motivating thought.

  15. The only cemetery near here has a hill that’s probably a 90% grade (that is maybe only a SLIGHT exaggeration) so, the short answer is no. But if I lived near a different one I would follow the same rules that you put forth. I actually always loved walking through cemeteries – for the same reasons.

  16. From Dimity’s intro — This week’s podcast of “Wait Wait” had me laughing so hard on my run yesterday, I nearly had to pull over until it passed.

  17. I’ve toyed with running through a cemetery in Montrose, PA but didn’t need the hill workout that day. I have run through, around in a large one in Elmira, NY. For the reasons you listed, I tend to seek these areas out in new running locations.

  18. I love reading your blog so real…I am running the same half in the Fall so this will be great to follow thank you!

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