Archive | June 2014

Driving a stick, part 1

IMG_1432 cropIn high school, I told a friend that I was going to drive a stick to her house. When I got there, she walked out to the driveway fully expecting to see me in a new car. Instead, she looked confused to see me getting out of my automatic. Then I showed her the twig I had carefully placed in the passenger’s seat.

Let me just say that driving an actual stick shift is totally different.

Yesterday, Pete gave me my first driving lesson in his Mini Cooper. I was half terrified, half hoping that I wouldn’t be as bad at it as I thought. … Let’s just say I need more practice. In fact, it only took 7 seconds in the driver’s seat to stall out.

We went to an elementary school parking lot to practice, so thankfully no one was around for our hour-long session. I practiced starting and stopping and shifting gears. Unfortunately, I find starting the hardest. Pete said as long as I don’t go anywhere with hills or anywhere that I have to stop, I should be OK.

Before we started the practice round, I set the ground rule. Yes, just one, and just for Pete: “OK, Pete, you can’t yell at me. … Please.” He was a very patient instructor, but I still felt bad for all the (many) times I made his car make bad sounds.

Finally, after lots of minutes going 5-10 mph in the parking lot, he thought I was at the point where I could handle the open road. … Or figured I wasn’t getting any better so we might as well try it. That was uber scary, even if I was only going a quarter of a mile down the road. I pulled out of the school parking lot and made it to the 4-way stop. I stalled out, but got it going on the second try. Two left turns later, I was in a church parking lot, then turned around to go back to our starting point. Again, I stalled out at the 4-way stop and had to wave the other cars to go ahead of me when it was my turn. “Stop stalling out!” I told the car, but it didn’t listen.

IMG_1430 cropMy second attempt at getting to the church parking lot involved an illegal move. I stalled out just trying to get out of the school parking lot, and while trying to get my mind straight, a girl pulled into the parking lot and got behind me to turn around.

“No, no, no!” I shouted. I felt rushed and panicked. And realized I don’t panic well in the car. When I got to the 4-way stop again, I didn’t exactly stop. OK, I didn’t stop. But I did slow down! I really didn’t want to stop and start again so I technically rolled through the stop sign to make a left turn.

Pete told me just because I’m panicking doesn’t mean I can break the law. 😦

I did find switching gears more fun than getting going. I still get the gears mixed up sometimes, like between 3rd and 5th. They’re so close together! There’s also a lot to think about in the manual. And THREE pedals! Aaaaah. And forget about eating a granola bar in the car on my way to work.

I reminded myself that I didn’t become a regular driver in a day, so it’s going to take some time to get used to a manual. But I’m determined to do it!

Here’s a video of one attempt:




The mile run


This is from my RunKeeper app. This was the second day I ran a mile straight. The entire walk/run took just under 20 mins.

In my last post, I mentioned that the longest distance I’ve run nonstop since starting my 5K training was only half a mile. Since then, I’ve run a mile straight twice! Pete was with me the first time so it was nice to have someone keep me going. … Most people have to do a mile run in school, but I never did so it’s a small milestone.

On the days my running plan says I can rest, I either follow orders or do a different exercise. I was sick a couple days last week but one of those days was a rest day and the second I felt OK enough to walk/jog.

More updates on life coming soon! (Sneak peek: One involves driving a manual for the first time. As suspected, I’m not very good at it.)

Ready to run

running shoes

If you know I’m not a pink person, you’ll know that these are not my shoes. Mine are blue, but I don’t have a picture of them yet.

Back in September, I wrote this blog about running a 5K—and how, after months of saying I was going to follow the Couch to 5K running plan, I decided not to worry about it because I just couldn’t get into it.

Well, folks, women change their minds.

About a month ago, a friend invited me and Pete to do the Electric Run at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s a 5K at night involving glow sticks and rave music. OK, I don’t know about the rave music, but that’s what it looks like. It’s Aug. 23, so it’s good that it’s at night.

A few weeks ago, I started training for it using the RunKeeper app on my phone. It tracks time, distance and so on. My endurance is sad, so I need all the practice I can get. I could walk for hours, but running is a different thing.

Pete and I have since invested in some running shoes since our shoes were old and worn out, and most mornings, I’ve been getting up at 4:30 to walk/run around the neighborhood. If Pete doesn’t go with me, I take one of the dogs. (Zoey has ADD and Anja wants to walk while I run, so it can be challenging.) So far, I think the farthest I’ve run in one stretch is half a mile. And the best time walking/running 3.1 miles is 33 minutes.

My goal for the 5K is to run the entire thing. I signed up for a free running plan on RunKeeper that is supposed to help you do that within 8 weeks.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • If you’re not a runner, your legs might be REALLY sore on the second and third days. So much so that you can’t even take the tiny step onto the sidewalk. Or get into your car without wimpering a little.
  • I’ve found that it helps to switch the side of the street you’re walking or running on. The streets slope up in the middle, so if you’re always on one side, one leg and foot might get more sore than the other.
  • It’s really dark at 4:30 in the morning. It’s also way cooler than 6 p.m. And there aren’t as many cars.

Also, the title of my blog reminds me of this gem of a song from “Runaway Bride”: