Monday, October 28, 2013

The Storm Before The Calm

Good gravy! What a crazy month October has been. I feel like I've had no time to do anything, we've been so busy. I can't believe Halloween is already here this week! 

Fortunately, things should be settling down now, and hopefully I will be getting back to my regular routine.  I've felt out of whack for two weeks now, and it's high time I got my stuff together.  Especially since the holidays are coming and I'm bound to end up busy again before I know it!

Tomorrow I'm going running for the first time in a week - hopefully my legs still remember what to do. It's no wonder I've been so nutty lately - I haven't been running to get the stress out! 

Anyone else feeling overwhelmed this time of year?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Title-free Tuesday

I thought that when I quit training with my coach, I'd feel more free, and running would be more fun.  Looking back, I'm honestly surprised I was that stupid. LOL  I have run less than 3 miles since my race.  9 days, less than 3 miles.  That's not freedom.  That's not fun.  That's....  I don't know what that is.  Laziness? A funk? A directionless cry for help? I have no idea.  But it's certainly not what I'd hoped for, or wanted.

I knew I'd need a few days after the race - though it didn't end up being for the reasons I'd thought.  I'd assumed my legs would need a break - but as slow as my race was, my legs felt completely fine afterwards.  I needed the break mentally.  So I took a few days.  No problem.  But then when I went to run, I just... had no real desire.  A mile in, I was done.  

The same thing happened today.  I ran 1.27 miles, and then just... stopped.  Walked home and sat on my couch like a slug.  Granted, I did do a short portion of my Strong Stride DVD after awhile, but, really.  A total of less than 30 minutes of exercise today.  And that's more than I've done since my race.

Part of me is upset with myself.  Another part of me is completely letting myself off the hook.  Neither part is completely right, and I know that.  But something needs to change.

Of course, it doesn't help that I just stopped my birth control, and my body is all out of whack.  Plus it's fall so it's getting dark earlier and it's darker in the mornings, too.  Add to that how crazy busy our family schedule has been, and it's understandable that I've been slacking on running.

But when I look back on my life before I started running, I know I don't want to - can't - let myself get back there.  So I have to go for a run, even when I think I don't want to.  Because I know it's good for me, mentally as well as physically.  I have to run.

I just need to figure out how to remind myself of that when the kids are at school and the couch is calling.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Trails and Treats

Today I decided to do a short trail run in my local park. It ended up even shorter than I was expecting, since I realized that I don't know where all the non-paved trails are and I didn't want to get lost and blah blah.  But it was pretty and fun, and those are two great qualities in a run!

When I got home I pulled up a map of the park on the interwebs, so next time I head out I will be better prepared! =)

If my run weren't enough fun for today, when I went to get the mail this evening, I was surprised by this little box:

After giggling at the "You Are Not Normal" bit (how did they know??), I opened it up and found two energy bars.

I have never heard of Quest before, nor do I know how I got on their mailing list, but I'm not going to complain! I'm always up for trying alternative sources of fuel. :-)  The Peanut Butter Cups mentioned on the insert look like they might be yummy, but I'm pretty sure I'll be sticking to Reese's for that type of thing. :-)

Have you ever had a QuestBar? Have you tried anything new this week?  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reflections on a Green Mountain

I keep starting this post and deleting it and starting again.  I had a wonderful weekend in Vermont. I got to spend time with some of the most lovely people I know.  I laughed my head off, I ate good food, I cried.

The race did not go as I'd hoped, due to GI issues and a bugger of a side stitch that kept recurring,  but I am so glad I went.  I'd been reading Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn and thinking a lot about my running, and running in general.  On the flight home last night, I was reflecting on the weekend and when I picked up the book again and began to read, I found this passage: 

Perhaps it is to fulfill this primal urge that runners and joggers get up 
every morning and pound the streets in the cities all over the world. 
To feel the stirring of something primeval deep down in the pits of our bellies.
To feel "a little bit wild."   Running is not exactly fun.  Running hurts. 
It takes effort.  Ask any runner why he runs, and he will probably look at you 
with a wry smile and say, "I don't know."  But something keeps us going. 
We may obsess about our PBs and mileage count, but these things alone
are not enough to get us out running.  We could find easier ways to chart and
measure things.  We could become accountants.  No, the times and charts are
merely carrots we dangle in front of our rational mind, our over analytical brain, 
to give it a reason to come along for the ride.  What really drives us is something
else, this need to feel human, to reach below the multitude of layers of roles and 
responsibilities that society has placed on us, down below the company name tags,
and even the father, husband, son labels, to the pure, raw human being underneath. 
At such moments, our rational mind becomes redundant.  We move from thought
to feeling. Except our mind doesn't just stop.  Many runners say that they become
aware of their thoughts when they run.  All day our thoughts churn away, 
turning us this way and that, but this doesn't bother us in the slightest. 
Yet the minute we start moving away from its carefully constructed world of reason, 
into the wild heart of existence, our mind panics.  Our thoughts try to pull us back, 
to slow us down.  But like the marathon monks of Mount Hiei in Japan, 
who complete one thousand ultra marathons in one thousand days in 
search of enlightenment, if we push on, we begin to feel a vague, 
tingling sense of who, or what, we really are. It's a powerful feeling, strong enough 
to have us coming back for more, again and again. 

I witnessed the raw, stripped down human spirit this weekend.  I was stripped raw somewhere around mile 11, feeling all sorts of things yet nothing specific enough to understand.  I was ill, physically, and wounded emotionally - and after the race, I learned that others had similar (and worse) experiences, as well. 

Yet after we'd all showered and reconvened for lunch, we moved ahead and joked and laughed and planned our next adventures.  

Running is different things to different people.  I'm not sure I've yet discovered what running actually is for me - but I know that it is in me, and I am better for it. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

T Minus How Many??

I was supposed to go for a run this morning.  Instead, I ate a donut.  Ok, fine. I ate two donuts.  And you know what?  I feel damn good about it.

Of course, in the interest of full disclosure, I did eventually go for a run.  Because I'm a good girl, and I (mostly) do what I'm told.  Still.  Mmm....  Donuts.


I've now been staring at that picture of a running donut for 10 minutes without typing anything.  I think we all know what's going on here. I may have mentioned it before.  It's the dreaded MADNESS.  Taper Madness.  It's the week before "the big race," my mileage is cut way back, and I am left twiddling my thumbs trying not to go bat shit crazy before the weekend.  I should be fine.  I've been through this before. I know what to expect.  Right? 

Wrong.  Because this time, there's more crazy. I'm travelling to the race.  I'm meeting people for the first time.  I'm sharing a hotel room with virtual strangers.  Well, actually, they're virtual friends.  As in, in the virtual world, they are my friends.  But they are virtual strangers.  I need a dictionary. Or a thesaurus. Anyway!  (See?  Brain.  Crazy.)  

Plus I actually trained for this race, unlike my previous half.  Which makes me kind of have expectations.  Or hopes, I guess.  And hopes can get dashed.  I don't want to be dashed.  I don't even want to be Mrs. Dashed.  (Have you ever had that stuff?)  

I have 2 more miles to run this week, and then that's it until race day.  That's insane.  Who does that? That can't be right.  La la la la la la la.  Cows. 

Bat Shit Crazy, people.  From the Urban Dictionary: 

1. batshit crazy
A person who is batshit crazy is certifiably nuts. The phrase has origins in the old fashioned term "bats in the belfry." Old churches had a structure at the top called a belfry, which housed the bells. Bats are extremely sensitive to sound and would never inhabit a belfry of an active church where the bell was rung frequently. Occasionally, when a church was abandoned and many years passed without the bell being rung, bats would eventually come and inhabit the belfry. So, when somebody said that an individual had "bats in the belfry" it meant that there was "nothing going on upstairs" (as in that person's brain). To be BATSHIT CRAZY is to take this even a step further. A person who is batshit crazy is so nuts that not only is their belfry full of bats, but so many bats have been there for so long that the belfry is coated in batshit. Hence, the craziest of crazy people are BATSHIT CRAZY.
Dude that guy on the corner wears a tinfoil hat and ripped all the wires out of his house so the government couldn't listen to his thoughts.


Yeah, he's batshit crazy. 

Is it Friday yet? 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 13 Recap

Here we are.  It's RACE WEEK!  Before I freak out over that, let's take a look back at last week. 

GMM Half Marathon Week 13 Training Schedule:
  • Monday - Rest
  • Tuesday - 4 miles speedwork
  • Wednesday - Cross Train/Rest
  • Thursday - 2 miles easy
  • Friday - Cross Train/Rest
  • Saturday - 10 miles
  • Sunday - 2 miles recovery

How it actually went: 

  • Monday - Rest
  • Tuesday - 1.8 miles of painful speedwork (nasty shin pain made me stop)
  • Wednesday - Rest
  • Thursday - 6 miles of painful running but mostly walking (tried to do the 10 miles that day, due to schedule conflicts on Saturday - turns out it was a bad idea!)
  • Friday - Rest 
  • Saturday - 2 miles easy (felt fine!)
  • Sunday - 2 miles not-so-easy (picked it up in the last mile, felt great to move!) 

Total weekly mileage: 11.84

So.  Not exactly a stellar last week of training. Over six miles short, plus Tuesday and Thursdays miles weren't very high value.  Ugh, ugh, ugh.   But! I am happy enough with all of the rest of my training that I'm just going to say Oh Well and move on.  It is what it is and I'm not going to let a few bad runs get me down!  (Plus I already wallowed for a bit - ya'll just didn't get to hear it!) 


And now it's here.  Race Week.  I will run two more short runs this week, then on Friday morning I will get up, say goodbye to my family, and head to the airport.  I am so, so, so excited for this trip . The actual race?  Well, I still haven't thought about that, to be honest.  I have no idea what pace I'm going to run or whether or not I have a time goal.  I haven't decided what fuel I'm bringing, and whether or not I'm going to carry a handheld.  All those things will get decided later this week.  Right now, I'm just going to try to enjoy the "taper madness" that is slowly settling into my brain, and the fact that I am just four days away from meeting some of the best people I have never actually met in person. =) 

Whoo! =)

What are you excited about today? 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Trail-ing Behind

Due to the fact that I have awesomely courageous and talented friends, I'm always hearing about Ultra races and/or trail races and am continually thinking "Man, I wish I could do that!"   A few days ago, a friend mentioned the Stump Jump 50K race in Chattanooga, TN, and I immediately said "I'm in!"   Granted, I would be doing the 11 mile accompanying race, not the actual 50K - and I still need to figure out funds and logistics, but I really want to do the race.  

Of course, after I told my friend I wanted to do it, I immediately realized that I know NOTHING about running on trails, and Tennessee is not exactly flat........ and I don't run on hills.  Hmm.  But! I have 12 months to train for this race, so who says I can't start to run hills?  And explore trails?

So I turned to trusty Google, and found that there are actually quite a few 50M and 50K trail races held in Maryland.  While I'm not up to running in one yet, I can scope out the courses to train on!  Whee!  LOL  

After I get back from Vermont, I will be checking out Jug Bay, an area close to me that I've never even heard of before now that apparently has some cool trails.  They even have a 5K trail race in November......  Surely I can do a 5K trail race, right?  That's baby steps, isn't it? =)  

I'm excited to have something to work towards, even if I'm not 100% sure that I'll be able to do the race in Chattanooga next fall.  Regardless, I have a feeling I'm in for some adventure! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Heat Is On

Um, hi.  Mother Nature? Can I talk to you for a second?  Ok, see, it's OCTOBER.  The leaves are starting to turn, the kids and I just put up all the Halloween decorations........ So why was it EIGHTY FREAKING DEGREES when I went on my run today????

Jeepers.  Bad enough I had shin pain, I really could have done without the heat, too, mmmkay?  


So, in case you haven't gathered, oh, blog reader, today's run pretty much sucked.  I actually walked most of it, lacking both the ability to ignore my shins, and the actual mojo to give a flying fig.  It was just all around dumb.  I've been told that it's "ok" because it's taper-time, and I had a great 12 mile run last weekend, I've done all my training, and therefore my race is going to rock, and blah blah blah.  While all of that may be true, I'd still like to be able to run a few miles without being in pain, but maybe I'm just asking too much. /snark

One good thing about wandering aimlessly down the trail today was that I was able to think.  Not that I don't think when I'm running, but truth be told, thinking is easier when I'm walking.  I'm less likely to trip on something or step on a squirrel.  (Speaking of which, do you have kamikaze squirrels where you are? I swear the ones here dart out in front of you on purpose)  Anyway.  I did some thinking.  Trying to decide what I want to do re: my running after next weekend's race.  

The sad truth is that I have no freaking clue.  But I did come up with a short term plan.  After I take a week (maybe less) off after my race, I'm going to do the following for the remainder of the month, and all of November: 

  • Monday - Rest
  • Tuesday - Short run with no watch
  • Wednesday - actually do some freaking strength training
  • Thursday - Hour long trail run
  • Friday - see Wednesday
  • Saturday - Medium length run with no watch
  • Sunday - Short trail run with no watch plus whatever I did on Wednesday and Friday
I'm hoping that this schedule (which I fully plan on making TOTALLY loosey-goosey with no pressure whatsoever) will allow me to do two things.  #1, Get used to running on trails so that I can actually sign up for some trail races, and #2, Get back to actually enjoying running, which  has been hit or miss lately.  Oh, and #3, I guess, would be to actually get in shape and possibly lose some of this weight I've gained back and maybe improve my running since being a weak ass fatty isn't quite cutting it.   

So.  We'll see.  For now, I'm just keeping my eye on "the prize," as it were.  7 days and a wake up till I'm Boston (and then on to VT) bound!