i used to run but i haven't run in many years now.1 it wasn't like i liked it either: originally i did it out of doctor's orders (for more exercise), then it became a social thing as i started running with coworkers, and even after i left those companies, i still kept it up for a few years. at my peak, i used to run 3 times a week - monday, wednesday, friday. my route took a 3-mile loop around the charles river and back. but now i'm getting back into running. mostly for the exercise, and to lose some weight. i'm pretty active during the summer already with gardening and biking, but if i also add running, i can definitely see myself trimming down to fighting weight again.

i was kind of nervous, haven't not run for almost 2 decades. i fished out my old sneakers from the closet a few weeks ago, and they were so old they were moldy. so i bought a pair of new running shoes (nike). little bits and pieces of running memories came back to me. like running in the mornings, when the weather is cooler. i planned on leaving around 10am, but i didn't wake up until almost 10am (having gone to sleep late last night around 4am). so i was shooting for 10:30am instead.

2 years ago i bought a flipbelt, so this running idea was something i've been thinking about a lot, not just this year. i couldn't imagine not running without my smart phone, but how do you carry it? hold it in your hand? i've also seen runners with those arm straps for their phone. but i ran across the flipbelt many years ago, seemed like a cool idea: essentially a belt that's a circular pocket, for things like cards and keys and even a phone. it's kind of like a fanny pack 2.0. i've never worn it so was excited to finally put it to use. key and id were simple enough, but how i fit a full size phone into the belt? fortunately it's made from stretchy spandex material and i could tuck my phone into one of the pocket holes. i could either then wear the phone on my front like a big belt buckle, but i opted to wear it in the back. flipbelts are a little pricey for what it is, and i paid $21 for mine, but they're currently selling for $32.

i wore my favorite running shorts, which i managed to find even though i haven't worn it in ages. apparently they're designed so you don't need to wear underwear underneath, like swimming trunks. i wore the flipbelt on top of that, but with my t-shirt i can basically cover up the belt so nobody knows i'm wearing it.

the next thing i had to figure out was how to listen to music with my wireless earbuds. i have the mostat io9 earbuds. syncing them to my pixel phone was pretty painless. but i had to go online and find the control instructions: one tap on the earbud to stop or play, long press for fast-forward or reverse, double tap to increase/decrease volume, one tap to answer incoming calls, long tap to reject call.

then there was the question of music app. i don't listen to music when i'm walking, so i never had the opportunity to use a music app. i don't have enough space on my phone to store mp3's - which is how i'd normally listen to music - but now there's all sorts of music streaming platforms. i tried youtube music, which seemed good enough, but there was one problem: the free version doesn't do background streaming, so as soon as i close my phone, the app stops playing. that's sort of a deal breaker. i them remembered i also installed spotify on my phone at one point and tried that. that worked a lot better. i picked a streaming 80's music channel.

i then had to connect my mi band fitness app. for some reason when i connected the bluetooth earbuds, the fitness tracker wouldn't sycn anymore. i had to reboot my phone, sync the fitness tracker first, before connecting the earbuds.

so after solving all these technical problems, i ended up not leaving the house until 11:15am.

so what happens when you don't run for almost 20 years and try to pick it back up? i thought i was in okay shape with all the biking i do, but bike exercising is completely different from running exercising. i managed to run about 2 blocks before i had to slow down to a walk. i'm not used to running! my running stamina is essentially nothing. plus i realized i forgot to stretch beforehand, so i was just doing everything wrong. it was also warm, and you heat up a lot quicker running compared to biking, and i was already panting and gasping for air. fortunately there weren't too many people around, so i didn't have many witnesses to my running shame.

i decided to walk it, see how i felt, then start running again. entering the harvard square area, i ran for 3 blocks before petering out again. at least i had my music. but for some reason it wouldn't allow me to skip to the next song or previous song. later i found out that the free version of spotify doesn't allow previous song skipping, and only allow 6 next song skips in an hour. i was also concerned that it'd be dangerous wearing the noise cancelling earbuds, that i wouldn't be able to hear ambient noises like oncoming cars. those fears are completely unfounded i'm happy to report, i can still hear outside sounds, and i can also see everything, so there's no danger that i get hit by a car because i was distracted by the music.

once i got to the river, i started running again. every time i ran i managed to run just a bit longer than before then slowing to a walk again. i got to the jfk street bridge and walked across that, before picking up the running once more. i did that all the way around the charles river - running, walking, etc. - until i got back to my original point (ash street) and walked the rest of the way home. in total i think only ran 20-30% of the time, the rest was walking. it totally messed up the fitness tracker, which thought i ran 5 miles based on long it was taking.

one thing i noticed is with the phone tucked away on my back in the flipbelt, i could feel it thumping against my body with every pace. i think it's a trade-off, and overtime i'll learn to live with it. if i had an arm band phone holder, it might alleviate the thumping sensation, but then i'd have to deal with a weight pressed against my arm. there are no perfect solution, not until they can built a phone that weighs nothing. but it's definitely a problem i didn't have back when i just used a tiny mp3 player and didn't carry a phone of any kind when i went running.

there was also a fear that the earbuds might pop out when i was running. that didn't happen, though it did fall out when i was crossing memorial drive after i stopped running around the river. i think it was just because i was touching it too much, trying to adjust the settings via taps. if they're probably placed in the ears, they should hold for running.

i was looking forward to walk back. something i could do now that i couldn't do before was take photos with my phone. i pulled it out and photographed all the pretty flowers i saw along the way. every time there was a rose i stopped to smell it, and take its photo if it had a nice fragrance.

the entire run took about an hour (in a perfect world, if i could achieve a 7-minute-mile, i'd be back home in just under 30 minutes). instead of going home, i detoured to the community garden (12:20pm) so i could water my plants. gretchen was there, planting some tomatoes and peppers.

i finally returned home by 12:40pm. i weighed myself, i only lost a pound since this morning. i took a shower immediately afterwards. i was hungry, but it was getting late, and i still had a lot of other things i needed to do.

i took the thai basil and nigella seedlings and put them in my saddlebag. i also moved out most of my houseplants except the pileas and the thanksgiving cactus. now that it's warm enough for the umbrella plants and prayer plants to be outside, and they do much better exposed to the elements than they do living indoors anyway. i'll need to do some repotting at some point them, the soil is all dried up and caked in fungus and mold. but that's a project for another day.

i got dressed and rode the motorcycle to my parents' place, where i dropped off the thai basil and did some backyard watering. i managed to empty the rain barrels (which was already pretty empty from the weekend of heavy watering), which is a good thing, because it's going to rain wednesday and thursday, which will quickly refill the barrels. i was in belmont for about an hour, finally leaving by 3pm.

i went to home depot to get some smaller size screws and nuts for the battery project. i measured the ones my father got - 1/4" diameter - and got one size smaller, size 12. i then rode to the cafe, getting there by 3:30pm. i gave the screws and nuts to my father, and planted the nigella seedlings in the 3 cypress vine pots we'd prepared over the weekend. my mother packed me some dinner and i got back to my house by 4pm.

instead of the motorcycle, i rode the bicycle to market basket to get some groceries. there's a sale on romaine lettuce, i'll be making chicken caesar salad this week with the frozen boneless chicken breasts i have in the freezer. i got back from market basket by 4:45pm.

i did a load of laundry. i like to hang dry my clothes in the summertime and today would've been a nice day to do it (dry and windy) but it was too late for that. besides, there's still a lot of pollen in the air, i think my clothes would get caked in pollen if i hung it outside.

i snacked on some smoke gouda and pepperoni in the early evening. around 8:30pm i cut up the 7 lemons i bought from haymarket 2 weekends ago, in order to make lemonade. the ingredients are simple: lemon, sugar, and water. the recipe called for 9 medium lemons to get 1-1/2 cup of lemon juice; using my motorized citrus juicer, i managed to get a cup of juice with just 4 lemons. after juicing them all, i had 1-3/4 cups of lemon juice. my hands hurt afterwards, that citrus acid got into some cracks in my skin. i also made a sugar syrup using 1-3/4 cups of sugar to 1 cup of boiling water. then to everything i need to add 7 cups of water. the math doesn't work out exactly right, and i ended up with more than 2-quart of lemonade, which didn't fit in my 2-quart pitcher. after the sugar syrup cooled, i mixed everything together in a punch bowl, then poured the lemonade mixture into two separate containers.

i've never made fresh lemonade before, but after having done it now, i can honestly say, the only reason why anyone would ever make lemonade is because they have a lemon tree and have an abundance of unused lemons. it's so much easier just to buy lemonade. i haven't tried my homemade lemonade yet, but i can't imagine it tasting any different than store bought lemonade.

i finally reheated the prepared dinner my mother made me by 9pm. she said it's enough for two portions but i just ate everything, given i didn't really eat all day.

so back to running: is it something i think i can do more often? i think once i slowly build up my running endurance, i'll get better at it. my front thigh muscles feel really achy, and i feel a twinge in my right ankle as well. i'll know better tomorrow where else it hurts. my next scheduled run is thursday, and it looks to be raining. i actually don't mind, i can wear my old sneakers, and if it's warm rain, it actually feels pretty nice to run in. my new nike sneakers, i really didn't notice anything special with them. if anything, i think they're too light, like track running shoes; i'd prefer shoes with a thicker bouncier sole. i really like the flipbelt though, that was a smart purchase. i love it so much i'm tempted to wear it even when i'm not running. as for the free version of spotify, as soon as i got home, i downloaded a cracked mod version of spotify premium, full features (forward/backward skipping) and no ads.

1 that's not entirely accurate. when i lived in chongqing in 2013-2014, i did do some running: sometimes on a treadmill in a gym (until they revoked my membership because i bought a coworker's used card), sometimes on a track field. i think i did it mostly out of boredom, just something to do at night after work, and probably also to stay healthy, get some exercise, as i was sitting for most of the time at the field office. i don't remember if i lost any weight, but i must have. i actually really like the treadmill running, really convenient, and i can watch tv on my phone/tablet to pass the time.