Saw this quiz at the end of June on Hungry Runner Girl's site, and thought it would be fun to answer. Especially since I haven't had anything to say lately! Things are ticking along, and life as a Master's runner is remarkably similar to life pre-Master's. Going to Pittsburgh tonight for some time with in-laws -- and (more exciting for me) an IRL meet-up with a blogger! (Details to follow.)
1. Would you rather run along a beach path or on a mountain trail?
Tough call for me. Both sound great, but the whole point of the question of course is to choose. I'll pick mountain trail -- the elevation sounds miserable, but it sounds like it would be shaded and wouldn't be hot, so that would be nice.
2. If you could choose the flavor of gatorade at your next race’s aid stations, what would it be?
I'm not sure what this question is asking -- am I to invent a flavor or pick an existing one? For a new flavor, maybe like a cucumber mint? I don't really like cucumbers, but cucumber infused water is refreshing, and the mint would be nice. And that wouldn't be sweet, which I think would be a nice change from all other gatorades. Of existing flavors, the only one I hate is red. My fave is probably orange G2, but the blue is good, so is purple, and yellow is fine.
3. If I gave you a $100 gift card to a running store, what would be the first thing that you would purchase with it?
Shoes. Especially since I JUST bought a brand new watch this week (need to post about that). I should probably buy clothes since my stuff is all old and tired, but I always love fresh shoes.
4. Do you prefer to follow a training plan or wake up and decide then how far and how fast you want to run?
Training plan. Pretty religiously except on my two-three breaks per year (early May, overseas vacation, and Christmas/New Year's). I usually have some "goal race" in October, and something else in April or early May. Even if I'm not running that goal race hard, I'm on a training plan for it. If for some reason I'm not on a training plan, then I'm still following one because I'm running with my buddies and someone is always on a training plan.
5. Would you rather start your run with the uphill and end on the downhill or start your run with the downhill and end with the uphill?
I'd rather start with the uphill. It's hard for me to get going, might as well get the hill out of the way. Plus, I love negative splits (though they often prove elusive for me).
6. When you can’t run, what type of cross-training do you choose to do?
We go to boot camp three days per week, if that counts as cross-training. In terms of solo cross-training, none really, unless I can count Bikram yoga classes? But those aren't solo either. I've been thinking about getting a bike (my current expense wish list is doing an extra mortgage payment, revamping my everyday wardrobe, having cash money for our trip to Europe/Africa NEXT MONTH, getting lasik on my eyes, and buying a bike). I'm also attempting to bump up my savings account with the expectation that I'm going to need to buy a new car soon. So my answer to this question will hopefully be "biking!" if you ask me again in about a year.
7. What is your preference— Out and back, point to point or loop runs?
Point to point is first place, loop is second place, out and back is my least favorite (and, incidentally, what I do most frequently).
8. If you could recommend ANY running related item to a new runner, it would be a:
running buddy. Keeps you accountable, can push you out there, keeps the runs interesting, safety bonus. Is it cheating to pick that since it's not something you buy? In terms of purchases, I'd say good shoes. Spend the money there first.
9. Do you ever see any wild animals while out on your runs?
Not really. On rare occasions, we will see an armadillo. That's probably the wildest and craziest thing. We see rabbits sometimes. There's also the occasional possum or a fox, once a coyote, and often dogs and cats (sometimes that appear to be stray or at least unattended). I've seen some animals like deer and moose while running in other states, but nothing like that locally.
10. Ever gotten lost while out on a run?
Yes. Not often, but it's happened a few times. Locally, if I'm lost, it's usually in the neighborhood by the J (Royal and 75), where I do my weekday training runs with friends from January to April. We tend to spread out more those months, and it's so dark, and we have so many different routes in that area that are so unfamiliar to me, so I get lost there sometimes. And it's a hilly neighborhood, so I get really nervous if I get lost! Anything but extra HILLY miles! I try to be a lot more careful about directions when I'm out of town so that I can find my way back -- so even when I found myself running in scary parts of Camden, NJ, I wouldn't say I was lost -- I knew exactly how to get back to Philly and to my hotel.
11. If you could have one meal waiting and ready for you each time you got home from a run for the next 30 days… what would that meal be?
I'd probably pick a smoothie since I usually run in the morning. Spinach, kale, frozen fruit mix, frozen beets, carrot juice, soy milk, Vega protein powder, chia seeds, and ground flaxseed. It's such a pain to make it when I get back from a run and I'm dripping wet with sweat, so it would be nice to have that waiting. In terms of a meal other than breakfast, I would like a huge salad waiting for me. When I run home from work in the summer, it's so hot that I can't imagine eating anything warm and I'd love to have the perfect salad there waiting.
12. Capris or shorts… what do you run in most often?
Shorts. I have one skirt that I basically refuse to wear (I think I've worn it twice; not looked upon favorably by my friends, and I felt ridiculous). I hate capris since I think it's silly to have a pant leg cut off at the widest part of your lower leg, but at the same time, they're usually more weather appropriate than tights or shorts for a couple months of the year here, so I do grudgingly wear them.
13. At what mile (or how many minutes) into your run does your body start to feel like it is warming up and ready to go?
Usually about mile two. Definitely at least two miles before track or speed work. Ideally, I like at least 3 miles before starting marathon pace.
14. What do you do with your key when you run?
On weekdays, I put it in a pocket in my shorts (another reason I hate capris, some of my capris don't have pockets, but if it's cold enough for me to wear capris, then it's cold enough for gloves and I just shove it in there). On the weekends, I leave my key in the running store where we start and finish.
15. If you could relive any race that you have done in the past, which one what it be?
Boston, hands-down. It was a PR at the time (and therefore a re-Q), and the crowd support and experience were unparalleled. I had a bunch of friends running as well, which made it even more special. Plus it was our second wedding anniversary and we were flying to Italy the next day.
16. What type of run is your least favorite type of run?
Perhaps the easiest question in this quiz -- progressive tempo! I hate it, I suck at it, I frequently fail, and did I mention that I really hate it? But I still do PT occasionally because I know it makes me stronger. Fortunately, we're rarely asked to do PT in the summer. So now I associate it with dark, cold runs in the neighborhood where I easily get lost, and that makes me hate it even more. After many years of bombing those runs, now, when I see it on the schedule, I try hard to sandbag the first mile in hopes that it will help me to accomplish the goal. It sometimes works, it often doesn't. On the schedule I follow, when there is PT, it's usually a couple miles warm-up, then PT for 3-5 miles, then 1-2 miles cooldown, and each PT mile is supposed to be 15 seconds faster than the previous. The way it usually goes for me is: warm-up, then suddenly run fast, have a solid mile 1, then try to run 15 seconds faster, usually run about 20 seconds faster, then try to speed up another 15 seconds for mile 3, begin feeling like I'm failing, end up with a split matching PT mile 1, then try to speed up more (either back to mile 2 pace, or where mile 3 was supposed to be, or where mile 4 is supposed to be), fail miserably, walk until the split (the end of the PT), then run my cooldown, berating myself the whole time. Miserable!
17. What has been your biggest motivation lately to get out the door to get your run on?
Knowing I'm meeting my friends. If I ran solo, I could see myself snoozing, dawdling or blowing it off completely. While I do have a marathon on the books in just about a month (!!!), the way I'm running now, I'd have to be insane to go for a PR, so it's just going to be a race like any other. So that race doesn't motivate me at all, it's the people waiting for me, the conversation, the companionship, the shared laughs about a bet about how many people we'll see on the bike path and joking that the bet's loser has to feed Bobby his gu like a little bird (Bobby was like, hey, how did I get drawn into all this? I don't want any of you bastards anywhere near my mouth drooling gu!).
18. When you go for a run, do you leave right from your front door or do you drive somewhere to start?
Drive almost 2 miles to start. I run from home occasionally (maybe once a week?), unless you count my commuting miles to/from work, obviously 50% of my commutes leave from home, but those are junk miles, not my quality runs. For quality runs, I'm usually meeting my friends and we all meet at a running store (or at our hill loop starting point), so I drive to get there.
19. When running in daylight: are sunglasses a must or an annoyance?
Usually an annoyance. Almost all my runs start in the dark, so sunglasses are just an unnecessary pain for the first part of the run. I often wish I had them when it gets sunnier, but I actually don't really like wearing them. Sweat drips on them, or they'll fog up if I stop for a light, or they'll bounce around. Plus, now that I'm 40+, I need to really focus on squinting more so those wrinkles around my eyes will really start to pop!
20. When you get tired, what keeps you from quitting?
Depends on the circumstance -- my OCD nature, my friends, or the fact that I'm still miles from my car. On the roads, I can rely on my friends or being far from my car to keep me going. At the track, it's pretty much all up to me. This morning we had 4 mile repeats at the track. First one was great (3 seconds faster than planned), miles 2 & 3 were dead even (and both 7 second faster than mile 1), and then I was ready to be done. I convinced myself to run the first lap of the last repeat. Then I pushed to get the first half of it done and considered taking a break and then doing another 800, but then I figured I'd aim for 1000 meters, then it was just 600 more meters and I just wanted to finish it, even though I knew full well I was slowing down and there was no chance I'd stick my times. I finished number 4 solely due to my OCD nature -- just wanting to check the box on my calendar schedule and fill in my 4 mile repeat times. Mile 4 was 4 seconds slower than goal (so 7 seconds slower than mile 1, and 14 seconds slower than miles 2 and 3). I read my husband my splits and he thought it was great. I kept saying the times weren't the issue, it was the order -- if I'd run time 4, then time 1, then times 2 and 3, it would have been progressive tempo basically, a negative split, a thing of beauty. I'd have been thrilled! But like I said, progressive tempo is hard for me! But either way, all 4 repeats done, all pretty close to goal time. Sticking it out today for the win!
If I read your blog, feel free to answer these yourself, I'm interested in your responses!