Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What I've Been Up To (Part 2)

What I haven't been doing is a lot of running. I struggled to find new routines after the marathon. Some of that was logistical - we changed our commuting schedules based on the kids' school - and I wasn't helped by literally not being able to get into a routine: I was sick a couple of times - not for long, but enough to want to take it easy the rest of the week. We had family visits. There's always something at work, especially in the fall. The holidays were here. And I was really run down after the marathon, just more easily tired, not as fast, not as much endurance.

But I think mostly my malaise came from not knowing anymore what I wanted to do with running. I've been vaguely looking to make changes for a while, but hadn't fully committed to doing so. It's safe to say running has been my number one thing for several years - and I no longer want it to be so. I have other things I'm working on. But then what does that look like in my day, my week? Could I be content with all short runs? Could I be content with not training for anything in particular? With not trying to run faster or longer or both?

I'm glad to say I'm finally feeling back in the groove. I'm running short 2-3 times a week, and once a week I'm running "fast" (but not keeping track of my paces). Then on Saturday mornings I leave the house before the others are up (but later than I do during the work week) and run "long". I am always going to love the feel of going long, and of orienting the rest of my running around that. Those times of just me and my thoughts covering ground feel essential to me. But the distances don't have to be as long as before.

Is this what "normal" running looks like?


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Little Things

And the internal soundtrack on my run today...

Sinead O'Connor "I Am Stretched On Your Grave"

Miranda Lambert "Little Red Wagon"

I could have put on headphones today and I did bring them with me, but it was misty and still dim when I started, and even when the sun came up the air was soft and gray and it was nice to just float along in the quiet of the world.

And now it's time for more cookie baking. Mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodles, to mail to a couple of friends who pledged this summer. Apricot almond glaze cookies, just because I saw the recipe in the Trib and wanted to try it out. And seven layer bars, for a dessert potluck this week. I may pull out a Sinead O'Connor album or two and listen while I bake. G will be my helper today if I can pull him away from his Duplos.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way Round The Park

... And now I can't remember what it was.

It's dark when I leave the house for my runs now, and on weekdays it's still dark when I return, though the sky has begun to lighten. I don't wear headphones at these times, and watch the sky to gauge how far into the park I can go. Can I run all the way in, by the river? (Only on weekends, when  I can leave the house later.) Can I run on the path that goes more or less parallel to the street? (Only if it's not overcast.) Much of time I content myself with staying on the sidewalk next to the park.

I remember now. When I run without headphones sometimes a song gets stuck in my head and that's what I hear for the duration of the run. Over and over, in an endless loop, just the bits of the song that I know. Yesterday: Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You." Except I don't even know the words, really, just bits and pieces of the music. Over and over for half a mile. It's a good thing I like the song.

Only a couple weeks more of shortening days. By the end of January I should be able to run along the river again. In the meantime I'll cross over the bridge and "settle" for the breathtaking view of the early morning sky reflecting off the river, with the dark trees on either side. I slow down and linger to take it all in.

Early morning blessings to you,

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Update on Holiday Baking

Turns out the brownies have been a big hit in our house... which is a shame because I already threw away the recipe. (I had a photocopy from a library book.) Well, I'm sure there's a better one out there, one that I can get out of the pan (and yes, I did let them cool completely first).

The Dude likes a more cake-like brownie and for him I will make his mother's brownie recipe at Christmas, eggs and butter and all. But D and I are fans of the fudgey, gooey brownie type, so I will keep experimenting with different plant-based ones.

Yes, I could get that book out of the library again, but given how poorly they fared getting out of the pan I don't think it's worth the effort. Plus the recipe was oddly fussy. I'll just keep looking for something else.

I had the pleasure of watching The Great Holiday Baking Show on ABC earlier this week. Apparently this is a holiday-themed remake of a British competition. I always want to watch baking competition shows, and when we used to stay at my mother-in-law's and she had cable she and I would watch the Food Network together. But those shows were always too frantic and I would end up doing something else. This show is more quietly paced and less cutthroat - at least so far - and it's only on for four weeks, so I'm looking forward to watching it in its entirety.

The Dude keeps grumbling about it but then reminds himself in the next breath that I don't fuss about him watching TV during various playoff weeks.

Looking forward to the last piece of pumpkin pie tonight,