Friday, June 29, 2012

Mini Update

It's been another weird week, at work, at home, and with the weather. I've been meaning to write about all sorts of things and just haven't been able to sit down and think well enough to do it. So mostly I've been working out instead. I know in theory this should be a recovery week after my big race, and I have cut back on the intensity of my workouts, but I'll be on vacation next week with little time to run (and no chance to swim or go to a gym), so I've been loathe to give up any opportunities this week. Especially since our gym now has an ergometer (rowing machine) - sweet! I love rowing machines and have missed being able to use one. And then to be able to hop from a row right to the treadmill - love it!

I've been making some changes to my eating and doing a lot of reading to support those changes, so that's been something new for me as well. I don't feel like going into any of this right now, especially since I don't want to proselytize for anything, but it has certainly kept my brain busy.

Next week we're off to The Dude's hometown, where we will play in his mom's back yard, go to King's Island, and get on some trails! I'm really looking forward to it. Maybe I'll even get some writing done.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Weird Week

It's been hot. Really hot. I'm in taper and that's always a little crazy-making. I've been working at home (no air conditioning) because of some unexpected work in my office and I hate working at home. The heat makes the baby cranky. The heat makes the boy cranky. The heat makes me cranky. I leave it to The Dude to decide if he's cranky.

But... things are edging back to normal. It's gotten cooler as the week has gone on and it should even be temperate for my race. I went to family yoga last night (first half just parents, second half with kids) and for my intention I had "equilibrium in confusion", and I've been feeling more grounded ever since. Next week I'm back in the office and then to Ohio for a week and the idea of both are making me very happy. And I have a race in three days!

Life is indeed good.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Still Hot, Still Long, Not So Slow

This was the best long run I've had in a long time. I've been thinking a lot about ultrarunning and what I heard at the Scott Jurek event (the book is on order, I can't wait!). Especially since The Dude is more than a little nervous about all of this. I can't help that this is what I want to do, I think I've just spent too many formative years out on trails on in view of mountains, despite my recent sojourn in the land of pavement and flatness.

So I've been taking each long run as if it were preparing me for even more. Not in the sense of "If I gut this out I'll be ready for my next race" (which begs the question of why prepare for an event I don't expect to enjoy), but rather with an idea of "What can I learn from this run that will allow me to do more (because I love it so much)?"

Some of what I focussed on this week:

Planning in walk breaks. In the past I've planned walk breaks in theory, but haven't necessarily followed through with them - only to be bitten in the butt by that at the end of my run. This week I set my watch alarm to go off every 20 minutes, basing my breaks on the time covered rather than the distance, and then spent 60-90 seconds at each break walking briskly before starting up again. I then also based my water and gel consumption around these, making sure to start hydrating/eating before I felt the need for it.

This reminded me of what I first started running and I had the thought, electrifying to me: if I just slow down, I can run forever. And then: I want to do that! Maybe, if I take walk breaks and eat/drink properly - if I replenish myself consistently - I really can run forever.

Running tall, staying light on my feet. And visualizing these things when I got tired and my form started to slump. Worked like magic!

When it got uncomfortably hot/humid/sunny, thinking to myself: The sun is nourishing me. It makes everything grow. I am pulling energy from everything around me. (This could only work because I've had a few weeks to acclimatize myself to the heat and I knew the rest of my planning was protecting me from overheating.)

In the last two miles, when I had the opportunity to run on the grass for brief periods, I used that as a way to energize myself. Instead of slowing down, seeking out the most even path with the thought of "I will protect my feet by running on a softer surface," I thought, "Here is an opportunity to play, to bound, to spring, to be as a child." Happy feet!

I have to say, it all worked. I planned out two loops of five miles each that I knew I would enjoy traversing, and stashed a bottle of water/electrolytes at home in our mail lobby so I could easily access it halfway through and refill my handheld bottle (and get a moment's coolth as well). I made sure to take water in every time I stopped, and timed my gels for every 40 minutes. Put a jazz album on my ipod, and set out slow.

The first 5 miles were so comfortable that I felt totally prepared to take on another 5, maybe even with some zest. When the jazz ended I let it roll on into Miranda Lambert's latest and adjusted my pace to the music, letting myself pick up speed. In hindsight this is the only thing I would have done differently, the tempo changed significantly with each song and I felt I was constantly needing to reset my pace. Perhaps next time for those last miles I'll just turn the music off.

With one mile to go I looked at my watch and saw I had just over ten and a half minutes before my alarm went off again. Can we do it? Yes we can!

I came home feeling grand. The baby, who had been perfectly content while I was gone, started howling as soon as he saw me and realized I wasn't planning on immediately picking him up, so my stretching got scrapped (I paid for that later). But otherwise, a perfect run.

Friday, June 8, 2012

But What Do I Really Really Want (To Do For Work)?

I've done some more thinking on the career front since my last post. The old adage, "be careful what you wish for" is certainly true... since writing that I wanted to work with women or children in a sports-related capacity the opportunity has arisen to apply for a job in exactly that field (and even for an organization that I've wanted to work for). I was very excited at first...

But on reflection I realized that particular job wouldn't be right for me. Not now (with two small children), and perhaps not ever (the type of work). Which made me realize that while I'm clear about what field I want to be in I'm not yet clear about what kind of work I want to be doing in it.

I have some time to consider this. The Dude is also considering career changes and while my job is not quite, well, right, it's certainly tolerable and offers a number of benefits to our family beyond my paycheck and insurance. At the same time, if the universe is gracious enough to answer, then it behooves me to get clear about the question.

Any other musing on this just makes me depressed so that's enough for now! Next up, why I'm not running the marathon this year (even though I want to).*

*Another depressing topic! Better to just tell you how thrilling it was to hear Scott Jurek speak yesterday, and that I got to high-five him during the fun run before the presentation. Swoon!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'll Tell You What I Want, What I Really Really Want

I want to run the Western States 100.

I want to hike the Appalachian Trail (with The Dude).

I want to have a job where I'm working with women or children in a socially responsible health/fitness/sport-related capacity.

Since I started thinking about this post I've had all kinds of arguments going in my head with imaginary opponents. In my head it's somehow self-indulgent and wasteful to focus on the physical. Well, screw that. This is what I want. This is pretty much what I've always wanted, though the exact goals have changed over the years. And even when I was eighty pounds heavier and my only exercise was walking all over town in the middle of the night, in my dreams I was hiking tall mountains and swimming oceans and leaping obstacles in a single bound. And now I'm forty and I've had my kids and it's time to do it.

Goodbye doubts, hello blisters!