Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Random Discoveries & Observations

  1. I think that it is a law of running that as soon as one body part stops hurting, another one will start.
  2. On this past weekend's long run (15 miles, longest since the marathon, boo-yah), running buddy Will offered up a Salted Caramel Flavored Gu to try. As a rule, I do not like Gu, but if the words "salted caramel" are included in any description of a consumable item, I feel compelled to try it. The verdict? Salted Caramel Gu is freaking amazing  and I want to just eat it while sitting at my desk or at my couch. Also, I guess it will be a good fuel option. /shrug
  3. Never thought I would say this, but I actually prefer sweating my butt off during the summer to freezing it off during the winter when it comes to long runs. This morning it was 23 degrees, felt like 15 with the breeze. Despite wearing so many layers of clothing that I felt like the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man, the fronts of my thighs were bright red for two hours post run, I couldn't feel my face, and my gloves are (once again) covered with snot. Awesome, right? 
  4. When it comes to race courses, I've decided that not knowing what's coming is the better way to go. I decided that after  I looked at the elevation chart for the Raleigh Rock 'n Roll Marathon and had a minor panic attack.
  5. To continue on the running in the cold topic, ladies, I highly recommend Athleta's Toasty Buns Short. I purchased a pair out of desperation (my butt goes completely numb during cold runs). Although they don't keep it as toasty as I'd like, they do cut down on the wind and are especially helpful in keeping my hips warm, which helps with the SI issues. The only downside is that you look kind of ridiculous and they remind me a little bit of a diaper. Ah well. Runners are ridiculous by default, so whatever.
  6. One of my favorite places to eavesdrop is the ladies' locker room. You never know what kind of crazy conversations you are going to overhear when you walk into that place.
  7. Unplugging from Facebook has been really good for me and helped drastically with my ADD. Also, not being in constant contact with all of my running buddies means that we more conversations topics to explore during long runs. 
  8. Does anyone have experience with or thoughts on the Portland Rock 'n Roll Half? I have been procrastinating on my registration and would love feed back on the course if anyone has any. It would be about 1 month after my Raleigh marathon and I'm feeling reluctant about tackling a challenging half so soon after that.
  9. I find it quite amusing that last year, the big movement in running shoes was minimalism and now people are running around with what looks like giant pillows strapped to their feet (I'm looking at you, Hoka). Just sayin'.
  10. It's supposed to snow 8-10" overnight tomorrow (Wednesday) night. I need to run 12 miles on Saturday. Have I mentioned that I'm over winter now?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Month of Introspection

I was largely silent in January. This was due to a variety of factors, including a continuing frustrating struggle with my SI joint, back pain and general malaise. Additionally, not only was I not running much (and when I was, it was often by myself), but Husband was gone for almost the entire month traveling for work, so I got used to not being social and spent a lot of time on internal reflection and thought.

Not really what blogs are about.

A lot of things happened in January.

I'm sure you all heard about Meg Menzies (who didn't?). She was a part of my Spring Marathon Training Group and on MTT too, but I did not know her. But her story was inescapable and completely overwhelmed every media outlet (social and otherwise) in Richmond. I'm not interested in saying anything more about it other than it was a tragic, horrible thing.

My personal relationship with running cooled a great deal, in part thanks to the injury and also largely due to the polar vortex and corresponding snow/ice that we dealt with multiple times. Richmond just doesn't do snow. And apparently, I just don't do cold.

I found myself wondering time and time again why I do this thing - running - especially when it apparently causes me so much bodily grief and harm. As a runner with injuries, I feel like what I am doing to my body is pretty much the same as the person who smokes. It's a habit that I enjoy and admit to being addicted to, but it hurts me, yet I keep doing it.

(Obviously I know that running is not as bad for you as smoking. Don't everyone freak out.)

I turned to yoga instead and have been back at least once a week since the beginning of the year. It has been great to rediscover yoga and I am definitely going to be continuing to build my practice into my training schedule as the spring progresses.

Speaking of training schedules, on January 28th, I graduated from PT and was cleared by Steve to run the Raleigh Rock 'n Roll Marathon in April. I have mixed feelings about this. Part of me thinks that I was not ready to be finished with PT. I am still not 100% pain free (will I ever be?) and I like the weekly check in to make sure that everything is still where it needs to be in terms of joints and spinal alignment.

I think that I am glad that I can run the marathon, but I'm not really sure. The fact that my running twin is doing it with me is pretty much the only reason I haven't already "downgraded" to the half marathon. My endurance is abysmal and I feel so far behind in training. My heart just isn't in it right now, though I'm trying very hard to find it. The cold weather, rain, snow, and dark mornings aren't helping matters.

My month of solitude helped me rediscover some parts of myself that had been a bit neglected. I watched many French-language movies (my theory is that if I just watch enough French movies/television, I will suddenly wake up one morning able to speak French). I went to the Symphony multiple times. I went to the awesome Mozart Festival in Carytown. Inspired by that, I got my flute out of the closet and started playing in the evenings. I read three books (The Univited Guests by Sadie Jones, Marrying Mozart by Stephanie Cowell, and Sue Monk Kidd's The Invention of Wings). Running had taken over who I was, and it was nice to remember that I am not only a runner but also a band geek, flute player, and bookworm.

Finally, January was the month that I officially became fed up with social media, culminating in me "quitting" Facebook this past weekend. A whole series of events built up over the past 30 days or so and I finally decided that Facebook's impact on my life is more negative than positive. I removed it from my phone and will only sign in twice a week, mainly to check up on our running group and see when everyone is heading out during the week.

That realization and action left me in a bit of a lurch when it came to my blog. I don't want to quit blogging, but right now I just don't feel like I have a lot to contribute or anything interesting to say. I'm injured, so most of my posts would be whining. I'm training for another marathon, but I've already written copiously about that. My thoughts on recent running-community events are by and large not the same as 99% of other runners and I'm not in the mood to be skewered, so I'm not sharing them publicly.

So, I guess this is my long-winded way to say that I'm still here, but feeling kind of muted at the moment.

I think that January just has a way of doing that to people.