“Positive” Splits

In running, the term “negative splits” refers to running each mile (or whatever measurement your “split” is, i.e. 400m) faster than the previous mile. It isn’t necessarily a “good” or  “bad” thing to do this – it’s just one workout method.

Lately, however, I haven’t felt very “positive” about my splits – I start out great, at a pace I am more used to running, especially now that it is fall, and then apparently I just can’t keep it up.

These are screenshots of the splits from some of my 3-5 mile runs over the last 2 weeks. As you can see, I start out great, sometimes running less than 9:00/mile for the first mile…and then I apparently just can’t keep up the pace. I just get slower and slower and slower (or, I go fast then slow then fast then slow). I know that I’m not really THAT slow, but in comparison to my running abilities at this time last year, it is difficult to see that going out at an 8:45/mile pace is “too fast” – I’ve run entire half marathons at a faster pace!!!

I’m really trying to figure out why it is that I am struggling so much with running lately. I’ve been working out 5 days a week, even making sure to get 12,000 steps on rest days. I haven’t lost weight but I also haven’t gained weight, so I think I am eating an appropriate amount. The only thing I can really think of is that I am running after work, and am therefore worn out by the time I go running. I *might* be switching to morning runs for the fall/winter, though, so we will have to see if that helps.

In an attempt to stay positive despite my apparently declining running abilities, here are a some positive things that have happened over the last week:

  • Yesterday, Kris and I went to bike around Gettysburg. We went at the beginning of the summer, and at that time, we had to stop and walk up several hills and completely skipped little round top (it is a very hilly route compared to anything else we ride). Yesterday, we rode up not just little round top, but also big round top (one right after the other). I am happy to report that we walked up none of the hills, in fact!

Side note: The fitbit thinks hills are stairs. It thinks I climbed over 80 flights of stairs yesterday, and that I climbed 25 of them in 15 minutes.

  • PUMPKIN!! It’s everywhere. I am so happy. I might have bought both pumpkin M&M’s and pumpkin bagels today.
  • Pants! I found some pants! That fit over my thighs! I got a pair of skinny ankle length dress pants at JCP, and a pair of normal pants on clearance at Banana Republic. Now I won’t freeze (as much). Still haven’t found fleece lined tights, though…

Bike Commuting Updates!

Sorry for the lack of posting… I’ve been pretty busy with my classes, traveling, and the stress of having TWO (internal) job interviews next week. Eek!

On Monday morning, I woke to find that my regular commuter bike (my Specialized Vita that I bought last summer) had a flat tire. And not just flat – completely flat! I had to be at work in 20 minutes, and the bike also needs a light battery and the brakes replaced, so I decided to instead throw my things in a backpack and commute on the old Peugot I just bought and got fixed up.

Well, I ended up commuting on the Peugot all week. And then today I went and bought a rack and tail light for it. I think I’m going to change to using it as my regular commuter and stick with using my commuter bike as my bike for things like rail trails. Ironically, I bought them originally for the exact opposite purposes. The Peugot was, after all, bought so that I could keep up with my husband on the trails, but he now concedes a hybrid would probably be better for him for such rides and he will probably get one in the spring. That is if I don’t convince him we need to sell off the bikes we own and buy cross bikes by then :p

Overall, the stuff I bought for the Peugot is pretty cool!

I ended up getting a very nice Blackburn rack. It is about 1000% nicer than the crappy rack I bought online for like, $20 last summer. That rack will still work well for carrying things while on short rides, but this one is super light, super durable, and will be much more sturdy for carrying all my shit to work (especially if I get one of these jobs I’m interviewing for and have to add a friggin laptop to my ever increasing stuff…do you think anyone would notice if I just started keeping a dresser in my cube?). Too bad it didn’t come with a vintage Blackburn rack like Kris’s did when I bought it off craigslist – that thing is worth like at least half of what I paid for the bike, and is still going strong after probably 30 years on the back of that bike!

Side note: that rack was a huge pain to install. I must have terrible luck with rack installation. Last year, when installing a rack on my Specialized Vita, I realized the pieces that attach to the seat stays weren’t long enough to reach the actual seat stays, and had to attach the rack to the seat post. This time, I had to manuever around a reflector that these French bike manufacturers somehow decided you cannot remove, as they integrated it into the brakes! Just look at this!!!!

I’m feeling incredibly grumpy about this, if you can’t tell.

THEN, on top of the reflector thing, I had a terrible time actually tightening the bolts that hold the rack on. One of them is still only like 80% tightened (the rack is still pretty stable, but I will need to fix it). The problem is that you cannot hand tighten the nuts to the bolts, so you have to use an adjustable wrench or something, and the only one I have is truly too large to put into the area between the seat stays (fyi, the seat stays are where the rack is attached by those little black clips). Also, the thing I used to attach the rack to the seat stays had to be held together with pliers to get the bolt to go through! At this point, I wish I would have paid for installation at the store, because I didn’t get a chance to fix flats on the other two bikes or install my light on this one, but the store was closing by the time I checked out. Also, I guess in retrospect the bike wasn’t with me. But still.

At least Misty “helped” by stealing a piece and kicking it all around the dining room.

Ok, enough negativity about the rack. Now that it’s installed, I am sure it will be great, and I got other exciting things! I bought a very nice taillight – it is so bright it hurts my eyes, and it is USB rechargeable. Therefore, I never have to worry about the battery dying, as long as I plug it into my computer once a month or so (the run time on a charge is like 100 hours). I am still looking for a headlight, though – the ones at the bike shop didn’t seem much different than the one I already have, but they were like twice the price! Note: nothing else at my bike shop is overpriced. Most things are cheaper (or at least the same price) there than they are on the internet. I was very perplexed.

Also, I got pretty much the best thing ever: a reflective raincoat. I pretty much always shy away from riding in the rain, but there is no excuse now (husband already has reflective raincoat). This was only $25 at TJ Maxx. Side note: I was supposed to be buying slacks, black flats, and a new belt today, and this and a pair of running tights *might* have been the only clothing I bought. This is because I forgot about the belt, didn’t find shoes, and slacks are the worst invention ever. How can pants simultaneously be way too big and way too small?! I thought that by becoming skinny, this problem would disappear, but I swear it has actually become far worse.

Funny enough, I could have used a raincoat this morning. Eight miles in the rain was on my running schedule for today! Luckily it went relatively well – I was able to run without feeling sick to my stomach or at the pace of a turtle for the first time in a long time!

Biking Alone

Kris and I had a fairly relaxing Labor Day weekend – much needed, since we will probably be out of town at least 2, and possibly 3, weekends in September!

Highlights of the weekend: we found a new sushi place (not that there was anything wrong with the old one, just always nice to find additional good ones)… and we finally bought a bike rack for our car! Since I haven’t been blogging much this summer, you readers are probably not aware of how truly awesome this development is. You see, Kris and I had been attempting to shove the two bikes into the back of our SUV; this often led to HUGE arguments about bikes hitting into each other/grease getting on the carpet; bike parts potentially cutting the leather. I had been putting off the purchase though because holy cow a legit bike rack is expensive. The good news: we installed them this morning without any arguments. The bad news: we haven’t actually tried to attach a bicycle to one of these yet. The weird news: if the sunroof cover (not the actual sunroof) is open, we can hear them make a whistling noise while driving.

We had to attach them backwards so they wouldn’t hit the hatch door when it’s open.


We didn’t get a chance to use the rack because Kris and I actually did not get to biking together this weekend. Yesterday, it was oppressively hot and humid; we couldn’t fathom installing the racks, let alone taking the bikes anywhere and riding them. Today, Kris’s arm was hurting when he woke up. He biked downtown with me (where we went mini-golfing!) but decided against doing a longer ride. This meant I had to go by myself!

For some reason, going on longerish rides by myself seems particularly difficult to me – almost like it’s not even an option. I always feel like if Kris can’t bike for some reason, this means that biking is just out for the weekend. A couple of weeks ago, I had done a ride by myself because he was sick, and it felt just as odd. I usually can’t bring myself to go more than 10-12 miles and I feel incredibly nervous the whole time. 

really do not understand this particular issue. I commute all by myself (in the city! a city with no bike lanes!) every day and took rides of 10-12 miles with no issues at all when I lived in Indiana. I even feel guilty about how much faster Kris is at cycling than me that I slow him down when we bike together, so theoretically I should be out working harder so that I can get better at cycling and not hold him back so much and I should be happy to be doing that because it means I am not worrying about whether I am holding him back. For some reason, though, I absolutely dread going out on these solo rides.

Possible reasons:

  • I get lost easily. I know my way to work, and in Lafayette I usually only rode on trails I regularly ran, but driving to a rail trail or going out on the trail that surrounds my city are slightly unfamiliar. This is a somewhat legitimate concern; I missed a turn and took a wrong on my route today, but I had a GPS with me the entire time and immediately realized I was wrong in both instances (i.e. I wasn’t so oblivious that I continued in the wrong direction for miles).
  • Fear of getting in a wreck. I did wreck my bike a few weeks ago, and today I almost got run over by a car due to a careless mistake (Kris went through a light, so I assumed it was still green for me without checking – it wasn’t). There isn’t really anywhere nearby where I can completely avoid roads, and even on a rail-trail I’d have to deal with potholes and debris, but I don’t know why this would make me dread long rides when it doesn’t make me dread my commute (where I regularly have to blindly pass buses).
  • Not being comfortable on my new bike. I think this is part of it – I did recently get my old road bike completely fixed up and have been forcing myself to ride it around more. I’m not 100% comfortable with shifting the gears or going super fast on it yet, but again, this should be something that is easier for me to deal with on solo rides – I always feel a lot of anxiety about not being skilled at riding around Kris, so I should be happy for the opportunity to practice in private. 
  • Boredom. I have never taken a ride more than like, 12 miles, by myself. Additionally, when Kris and I take long rides, it is more for us to do something fun together than for fitness. Maybe I just dread the rides because I have to out alone in the afternoon sun and not talk to anyone for like, an hour. Then again, I do that with running all the time, and I’m not actually usually bored on the bike, so who knows?

Hopefully I figure this out – maybe I should just force myself to go on a solo 20 or 30 mile ride just so that I get over it. Exposure to things that worry me always helps!