Final Countdown…

I did my last prerace run today. It was one of those days where you wake up ready to run even though you know you’re not running until later. And when later rolls around, you’ve lost all desire to run at all.

Sigh.

I did go, and it was interesting. I was focusing on running with a midfoot strike (even though I’m not sure what I’m doing). I made it about 2 miles before my knee started to feel incredibly weak. Lucky for me, I had reached my destination (farmer’s market). Bubs had a meltdown shortly after he & Hubs met me there, so we didn’t end up buying anything other than heirloom tomatoes (must feed the addiction while I still can) and basil.

After wrestling Bubs back into the car, I ran home. The midfoot strike made a huge difference in my pace. I didn’t time my first two miles because I had to stop at the ATM and then at the library for some water, but it felt like it flew by, even though it was at least half uphill. My return trip was 19 minutes, including two stop lights. It felt amazing to not feel sluggish. I won’t be keeping that pace up during the half, but it still felt good. I’ve got a bunch of new music to listen to during the race and I’m feeling GOOD about this.

life and death

The wedding is over and it went beautifully. I’ll eventually post pictures, but I didn’t take any so it might be a while. Let’s just hope it’s not bad luck to weep while assembling a wedding cake.

My husband called this morning with some terrible news: one of his coworkers and good friends passed away last night. No one knows any details and being that he was young, it is a huge shock to everyone who knows him.

I don’t know how to tell Bubs. He watched my grandmother pass away last October (not literally), but she was quite old and had a stroke when I was only 3 months pregnant, so he only knew her as bedridden. It’s easy to explain death in relation to a long life. Bubs loved Polo so much. Every time he played soccer or basketball he was either on the same team as Polo, or he was Polo. It was the Mexican national team for soccer and the LA Lakers for basketball for the curious.

He was from California but has lived in Seattle for about 10 years now. He only had one brother up here, and they haven’t been close since the brother got married.

I’m really going to miss calling the store and having him answer the phone. I always loved hearing his voice raise an octave when he recognized me.

It was all I could do to keep it together until everyone left. I’ve known Polo for eight years now and all I want to do is circle the wagons with everyone else up here that knew him. There will be some sort of service up here for him. I’m trying to compose a letter to his mother that a friend will help me translate, but it’s hard. Really. Fucking. Hard.

I’m blogging about this because my first instinct is to go hit the bottle hard. I’m a firm believer that physical pain is easier to tolerate than emotional. Physical pain always ends. Say you happen to drop a pair of loppers on your calf while you are hypothetically attacking the IVY BEAST that is trying to take over your front yard so that the guests of a hypothetical wedding can get to your back yard without needing to have a search and rescue team on standby. You might look at your calf and think, “well that sucker is gonna leave a mark.” Also, you might or might not say a lot of grown up words out loud, possibly a little too loud. You might also thank your lucky stars that the loppers were closed and didn’t cut your leg off. You then get to spend the next four days watching the bruise emerge and grow before it begins its chameleon-like process of healing. The day of the hypothetical wedding, your bruise might be sort of a mauve-ish color, with tiny plum circles at what must be your hair follicles. Quite the attractive hypothetical bruise you’ve got there! You will then look forward to it getting to that phase where it resembles an extremely ripe banana, which your husband would hypothetically point out that if you ate bananas, you wouldn’t get bruises like this in the first place. Then you would explain (again) that potatoes are a better source of potassium and they taste better and are more versatile. But the best thing about potatoes? They are not bananas. Hypothetically speaking, anyway.

Emotional pain has that way of hurting at a physical level at first and then slowly fading away, only to metaphorically punch you in the throat when you least expect it.

So you find yourself sitting at the computer, typing away, not really sure if you are making any sense to anyone wishing there was something you could do to make it all just go away. Wishing that your Bubs wasn’t having an overnight so you could crawl in his bed with him and snuggle him like a baby. Wishing that you didn’t have to attend a funeral for one of your husband’s friends at least once a year, even more so when the person was also a friend of yours. Wishing you didn’t have to compose that type of letter to anyone’s mother, ever. Wishing, wishing, wishing.

So what can you do? You go to bed early so that you can get up and run in the morning. No HRM, no music. Just your feet hitting the street and the sounds of the Believers gathering while the rest of the world slumbers. The soothing sounds of the rest of the world marching forth unheeded, despite what you are experiencing. Because death is inevitably linked with life and if you are lucky enough to go in your sleep, you might not be so lucky as to have all the years you might have wanted.

wake me when September ends

Because I’ve got a half marathon to run! Crazy, right? Because even though this whole blog is about me running, and specifically running a marathon someday,  I don’t trust that I’m ready to do this yet. But enough of that. I’m doing it. It’s not like I’m going to wake up and be able to run a marathon. I’ve tried that, and it isn’t working for me. So my choices are to continue waiting for it to happen to me, or to make it happen. To quote Slug (yes, again): the patience is short, so I guess I’ll just go ahead and do the work myself. Earning something is always more rewarding than a gift. Note to the Running Gods: I won’t complain and will be eternally grateful if you decide to gift me this one. Cross my heart!

Back to the half. It’s the Bellingham Bay half and full marathon. Sunday, September 26th. Bellingham is beautiful, but it’s not a place I’ve spent much time. My most recent ( 5 1/2 years ago) experience was completely negative. Not that it was B-ham’s fault, but the association is strong. I went up to visit some friends for the season première of the O.C., which I had never seen. Still haven’t, actually. Just before the episode started, I got a phone call from a friend telling me she heard a rumor that another friend had passed away. I spent the entire episode trying to call Hubs (who was just ‘some guy’ at that point *wink, wink*) and when I finally got a hold of him, he confirmed the fact. We both miss our Dave D. immensely. Naturally, I blamed B-ham and haven’t been back since. SO. Here’s my chance to forgive a beautiful city, and run my first half! Plus possibly catch up with some old friends from middle school that are getting married this summer and live up there.

I owe thanks to Ed (and Stephanie), for inspiring me to listen to my collection of Nike workout gear, and to Just Do It. So, thanks you two!

In other race news, I’m doing my April race tomorrow. It’s not the doughnut race because I don’t want to go over there. Apparently there is one in my backyard tomorrow so I’m doing it instead. I have no babysitting, so I’m taking Napoleon. They said strollers and dogs are okay, so we’ll take his motorcycle and enjoy ourselves. No time goal this time. If I take walk breaks, so be it. He and I will have a good time. And I will live to run another day. Specifically, on Thursday with my little Buddy! Is it wrong that I’m intimidated by a 10 year-old? The coach said she’s a natural runner. I am most certainly not. Deep breath. I’ll have fun no matter what!

Title borrowed from here. My condolences, Billie Joe.

terrible

Horrible. No good. Very bad run. Actually, it wasn’t so awful, but something is wrong with my knee. Not in the usual aches and pains sort of way. It was about 1.75 miles in this morning and something popped. I didn’t hear it (thanks to Sublime being all x-rated in my eardrums and stuff) but I certainly felt it. I’ve had it wrapped all day and I’m icing it. From my position, I can see three possible causes:

  • Doing side lunges incorrectly
  • I tied my shoes differently today and it didn’t feel right
  • Karmic retribution for ordering a bike helmet yesterday

Logically, the first one is most likely the culprit. I had to go to pee and Jillian wouldn’t let me pause the dvd so I was not paying as much attention to my form as I should have. I’m superstitious so the second and third options are also viable in my mind. I don’t think it had anything to do with the path, but I am obviously no expert. I wasn’t able to get rid of it by stretching or walking. Changing my gate and pace did nothing to help. Just when I was ready to head home the pain vanished. And just when I exhaled my (preëmptive) sigh of relief, it started throbbing again. That continued for the rest of the run. Retrospectively, I should have gone straight home. But I am stubborn with a tendency towards being a hypochondriac. I really wanted to test it (in a gentle way) and see if I could run it out. I need to give myself time to analyze my pain to be able to judge if it’s actually something that is serious. The pain never got worse, so at least there’s that. Not that it tells me anything, really. It’s a little achy but as  soon as I start walking it eases up.

It’s frustrating since the point of me sticking to a training plan was to avoid injuries. This is a new one since the pain has always been on the outside of the joint and now it’s the inside. I’m just going to keep RICE-ing it and avoid medical websites since I’ll end up self-diagnosing something bizarre.  If it doesn’t feel better in the morning, I’ll think of something . I’ll be thinking healing, positive, sane thoughts while choking down a meal with the in-laws. God help me but I’m going to need wine.

But my helmet got here today and it’s beautiful! It’s all aubergine and lovely. Oh, happiness!

it’s all how you look at it

“It’s all how you look at it/ It’s all how you look at it/How you look at it is really up to you”

So sings Sweet Little Monster’s CD (one of those, since we seem to have amassed most of the collection). How fitting, right? I’m not really into strength training but I know the benefits are plentiful. Namely, my arms won’t look so lame and I need to cross train because it’s better for my running.

Dare I say, I’m actually enjoying it? Eep! In the past, I haven’t enjoyed it because it felt like I was so little and still working up a sweat. Well, I was half right. It doesn’t take me as long to work up a sweat when I’m doing weights, but it isn’t nothing. It’s not like my butt is parked on a couch and I’m still working up a sweat. So, fine. Maybe the level I’m at right now is not the level I’d like to be at. Everybody has to start somewhere. Results are not, and should not, be instantaneous. But I’ll be making progress each time I decide to pick up the free weights. And that makes it worth the effort. And frankly, it feels good to have to work for something. It feels honest and clean and pure and like when I meet a goal, it’s actually mine. So, hallelujah for a small mental victory.

push ups: 16

squats: 71

abs: 2 sets

shoulder press: 40

shoulder fly: 40

my old nemesis

I was feeling really sore today when I woke up, but my run had to be earlyish because of scheduling conflicts. We went on a family hike yesterday on a fairly easy 6 mile loop. I say fairly easy because I haven’t actually been on a hike in probably 14 years. I don’t mind walking up a hill or a flight of stairs, but nothing really compares to a mountain. Especially when you are lugging a nearly 40 lb. preschooler on your back because he fell down and he’s already tired because 3.2 miles is a big deal when you’re only 4 feet tall, and 1600 ft elevation climb makes it a really big deal. I was laughing on the way down because he wanted to hold hands so I had to walk slowly and by the time we were nearing the bottom, my legs were trembling with every step. It was a laugh or cry situation. It was a beautiful day and a really nice trail (for being ridiculously narrow). I’m excited to start doing more hikes as recon for future trail running.

Back to today’s run. It was all road today. There is a particular hill I’ve avoided for the last year (walking, running and driving). It’s very steep and more on point, it’s where I blew out my knee last year. I think that subconsciously I’ve been running routes that have avoided this street. Not today. I decided that after a mountain yesterday, this hill was nothing. Not exactly nothing, but not so intimidating. It was just fine going down. I don’t really mind downhills. I intentionally take them slower since the natural inclination is to speed up. I used the flat stretch at the bottom of the hill as mini-recover before turning around to head back up. Oh. My. Goodness. At least the mountain had the decency to have switchbacks! But I made it and I finished the run and I didn’t destroy my knee. I won’t be running up that hill for quite a while, but it’s comforting to know that I made it. And that I could do it again, in the highly unlikely event that I might want to.

One of the challenges I’m in on Nike running cleared out the people who didn’t belong (complicated to explain, yet totally obvious) and I’m now in the top 10! Yay!! One more week of this program before I’m done. I’m going to reward myself with a bunch of new music on iTunes. Okay, it really isn’t new music but it’s stuff that I just haven’t gotten around to purchasing yet. So excited!

motivation, part 2

I think I cursed myself yesterday. My run was fantastic, so naturally I wake up with the plague today. Hopefully it will be short-lived, otherwise my plans for this afternoon will have to be cut short. Otherwise my personal space bubble is in for some massive expansions by 3pm. Oh, surprise scavenger hunt birthday party, the sacrifices I make in your honor. Since I’m planning on coming home from the party and passing out on the couch until the men’s long program starts, I’m posting this now. Maybe it will help me will the plague from my body, too.

6. Forget time. I already do. Sort of. I don’t usually check my time/pace while I’m running since that takes me out of the mental space I’m in. Sometimes I check it right near the end but that usually backfires and makes me feel more desperate as there is usually more time left than what I’m expecting.

7. Sign up for a winter race in a warm place. Personally, that’s totally demotivating but I don’t live in a place that most people would consider to have a real winter.

8. Think fast. The idea here is to go out easy for a certain distance/time, and then turn around and come back at a faster pace. I like the idea and I’ll probably give it a try in the next few weeks.

9. Good to go playlist:Classic Rock

“Don’t Stop Me Now,” Queen  Queen is always a go for me, and one of these days I’ll get my Queen CDs  on  iTunes.
“Break on Through,” The Doors The Doors are also a go-to. Thanks to someone who shall forever remain nameless, I really love them.
“Gimme Shelter,” Rolling Stones I like the Stones, and this one’s fine. I might give it a try.
“Come Together” the Beatles No. Not a huge Beatles fan, and really not into this song.
“What Do You Do for Money Honey,” AC/DC I never got into AC/DC (shh!) but I’ll give it a try.

10. Blaze a new path. It’s time I did this. I’ve been talking about it and now’s the time to cowboy up. Tomorrow is definitely in a new direction. Assuming I haven’t turned into statistical waste in the wake of the plague, that is.