Hey runner, got a light?

Seriously?

Today’s run (street): 4.4 miles

I was about halfway through today’s run when I noticed a guy exiting a small neighborhood park, holding a cigarette. I saw him from about thirty feet away, walking towards the street. The man began crossing the road and I wondered if I’d need to run around him. As I got closer he asked, “Got a lighter?” I yelled back, “I run, why would I smoke?” I didn’t hear his response, but I’m sure it wasn’t a compliment regarding my active lifestyle.

There were lots of people out this morning, and almost everyone I encountered on today’s run made me question the intelligence of the average person. Shortly after my exchange with cigarette guy, I saw two women walking side by side on the right side of the road. My neighborhood has no thoroughfares, but a few roads (like this particular one) have steady traffic. I felt I should advise them on the danger of walking with your back to traffic. They acknowledged my point, but I saw them later on the run and they were still tempting fate on the wrong side of the road.

These women weren’t the only people I saw walking with traffic, but I decided to stop playing safety patrol after that. There was a couple walking on the right, who spaced themselves so wide that the man was positioned in the middle of a busy road. He was a big boy, and I just hoped his size would be noticeable to drivers who would brake, thinking he was a Fiat 500.

Between the careless walkers, cyclists without helmets and drivers that ignore stop signs as a matter of course, I’m often frustrated with neighborhood running. That’s why I love running Stillwell, Trailview and Bethpage. Except, of course, for those big hills.

Reality check: back to work and 13.1 training

Today’s run (treadmill): 25 minutes

As I walked through mid-town this morning, I detected the acrid odor of a cigarette. It reminded me that being on vacation had shielded me from that toxic smell for almost two weeks. Well it’s back to work for me today. I’ll miss being on vacation but at least I like work.

The alarm jolted me awake at 3:45 and I debated whether to ease back into work mode by skipping today’s run. With temperatures in the 20’s, it was easy to justify staying indoors. But when you have a treadmill and an elliptical machine, there’s really no excuse not to exercise. I did an easy indoor run for 25 minutes which actually helped both mind and body.

I’m trying to decide an approach to training for the half-marathon in May. Last year I think I misunderstood the amount of base training I would need to meet my expectations for a 13.1 mile race. It was the most difficult run I’ve ever done, but I still felt I that could have done better in terms of finish time. I’m hoping that with a reasonable plan, I can realistically target 2:10. To do that, I’m going to need to do a lot of 10 to 13 mile training runs between now and May.