Friday, April 25, 2014

Breathing Deep, Holding Back

Ten days ago, my leg started feeling markedly better. As in, I would go periods of the day without noticing it at all.

I tentatively started planning to try running again the following Monday, just an easy mile on the treadmill at the gym.

By that Friday I was feeling so good I couldn't wait any longer. I left work a little early, went to the gym, and got on the treadmill.

The first half mile felt very strange, though not painful. "Is this how my legs are supposed to work?" Everything felt a bit wobbly. I started off slowly, took a 30-second walk break, then started running again, this time for a bit longer.

By the time I got to 3/4 mile I was feeling pretty good and decided to see if I could keep going for a full three miles (since in all this time away I've been very aware that there's this little 5K around the corner...). I also started speeding up on my run segments, just a little bit...

By the time I got to 1.5 miles I was feeling grand and in no need of walk breaks. "I wonder just how fast I can go?" I finished my three miles at the pace I had targeted for this race, three months ago.

No pain.

Sunday I wore heels for Easter and my leg was twingy afterwards. I took Monday off from running, but Tuesday I ran the race course (it's in my neighborhood). Yesterday I went back to the treadmill and ran the workout that had been scheduled for me back when I was actively training for the 5K, a nice little shakeout of 2 x 800m. intervals at faster than race pace. I figured either I could handle it and this would be a nice confidence booster, or it would show me that I had no business trying to run fast at this point.

I finished, having hit my paces, with both speed and endurance to spare. And no pain.

Today I get my race packet...

Tonight I must go to bed early, as I haven't gotten the rest I wanted this week. (Damn cats waking me up early each day, damn "Game of Thrones" keeping me up, not exactly late, but not early either.)

Tomorrow I will stay off my feet as much as possible.

And Sunday?

Sunday I plan to fly.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Surrender, Annie

Earlier this year, Ali at Hit the Ground Running asked what our word for the year was. I knew mine immediately: surrender.

It's actually something I've been meditating on for over a year now, knowing that I am more the person I wish to be exactly to the extent that I can surrender to the here and now, in all aspects of my life.

I find this so hard to write about yet it's the thread that has been running through everything this year and keeping me going...

Surrender to what?

The circumstances of my life. Being mom to two young children. Wife to a wonderful man, who has some considerable stresses in his life right now. Living in a major city. The work that I do. My past. All of these have their considerable joys and satisfactions but also impose their own limitations. I can butt my head up against those limitations, or relax into things as they are.

And, like water, flow towards that which is necessary for me to keep going.

Moments of silence. Of comfort. Of joy. Of longing.

("This longing you express is the return message." Rumi).

And always, of movement.

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But it isn't just about surrendering to, it's a matter also of surrendering up:
  • the idea of being "successful"
  • what I "should" be doing
  • my expectations for myself based on others
And thereby surrendering to myself, to who I really am.

Having children has forced me to spend my time on what I really want to do. Observing this - seeing what choices I make - has opened my eyes to seeing more clearer who I am and who I want to be.

A little bit painful (humbling).

A lot freeing.

The Dude and I had thought we might bear another child and then, last year, closed the door on that idea. I feel, in this 42nd year, as if I might be giving birth to myself.

A late bloomer, I know.

But better late than never.

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Some more Rumi for this Holy Friday (translation by Coleman Barks):

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


With love and peace -
Annie

Friday, April 11, 2014

Things I Think About While Swimming

The pattern of the sunlight on the floor of the pool.

How dirty the floor of the pool really is. Best not to think about that too much.

My form: chest down so my hips rise, reach long but then tuck my arm in close on the downstroke. Keep my head down and my neck relaxed.

People I'm praying for...

...and then others, and then work, and my schedule, and all the random things one thinks about while moving.

Imaginary blog postings that I almost never manage to write.

What the $%*# is this idiot doing, floating in the middle of the medium zone?!

Would it be unspeakably rude to splash water on him?

Ah, better just to swim around. At least there's only four of us in this zone right now.

Back to my form.

Is that a rubber duck on the side of the pool?

Why yes, yes it is. How cool. (And today that duck was joined by a second.)

Wait, what lap am I on?

Back to the sunlight.

At some point I always think about my happiest swimming memory: summer laps in the outdoor Olympic size pool in my Oma's town. The coolth* of the water, the warmth of the sun, occasional breezes, often just me in the pool, back and forth for ages. *This really should be a word.

Oh, coming to the end of lap swim. How many can I still get in?

Last lap: Relax, relax, relax.

And we're done.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Two Steps Forward...

After seeing some real improvement last week I was feeling hopeful that I might be able to run (a very little bit) soon. Maybe even run my 5k at the end of the month, instead of walking it?

Then yesterday came. I did a longer workout at the gym, which in itself didn't seem to be a problem. But then I spent another 5 miles on my feet running around town - visiting a homebound friend, taking Goo to the doctor, random errands. And in particular, dashing for a bus, lots and lots of stairs, dashing for another bus with the stroller... By the end of the day my leg was screaming at me. And it's still unhappy today. Nothing to do but reset that mental countdown.

So it goes. At least we don't have snow!

Grateful for pool and gym memberships -
Annie