Sunday, November 27, 2016

New Goals, new directions

            I feel little inspiration lately to post my runs or write about running, but running has been happening nevertheless. Maybe not the long runs like a few weeks back, but certainly a solid 5K daily to get me feeling positive, today I will even go in to do weights and a 5K run. We all get in a funk occasionally but I'm not quite sure this lingering negative cloud can be categorized as a "funk" yet. Although it's surely hard to feel positive these days, and its lasting longer than usual, I have a deep belief that these broody feelings will dissipate eventually. As you all may know, it all started with running marathon #7 while knowing my grandma was dying in New York and simultaneously feeling sad for my own mother mom having to deal with these emotions alone. I had also driven a total of 20 hours the week of the race to see my grandma both before and after she passed. 

           In the midst of feeing all hopeless and trying very hard to remain somewhat positive and hopeful a wonderful movie comes along and as all great movies that have ever come to change my life it came my way like a well-planned accident from the Universe. It was a movie about the Boston Marathon. It primarily covered the struggles of the victims from the bombing in 2013 and their long path to recovery. I was reminded that I GET to do this daily. I get to run, to sweat, to move, to stretch and get that amazing feeling I get after every run, of a job well done. 

          After watching the movie a very tiny voice inside started churning, and whispering; some very big"what ifs" began coming forward. What if I run the Boston Marathon one day?. What if I can get fast enough by age 50 to actually qualify to run it? I immediately look up the times and 99.9% of me is saying NO WAY! and yelling "come on Miriam, you would have to run 2 minutes a mile faster than you've run when even 30 lbs. lighter and 3 years younger...IM.PO.SI.BLE!!". But if there is ONE thing I have learned from the power of the mind these past few years is that ones reality only allows what one can imagine. If you can imagine it, it's absolutely possible. 

               So here I am at 43, quite overweight (and that is an understatement) and dreaming of running Boston. Yes, I know, totally crazy. But as I let this seed slowly take place in my imagination another part of me is already paving a path for this to really happen. Lose weight, practice speed drills, get stronger, get leaner, get meaner.....blah, blah, blah. And just like that the impossible becomes more possible. If at 30 lbs. lighter (last year's weight) I can run 11 minute miles.....what if I shed off my extra weight slowly. I surely can make 9 minute miles at peak body weight and training before 50. So there, as silly and stupid as this might sound to most normal people,  it's huge, scary and oh so enticing to focus my energy on such a lofty and pricey goal.....

            I know there are no such things as accidents and I know this movie came into my life at JUST the right time. I walked away from seeing it feeling so blessed to have these amazing gifts, the gifts of running, the gift of a body that is strong, healthy and relentless. This movie came into my life at just the right time for I was looking for something to occupy my mind, to take me away from this funk. For the next 4 years of this presidency I plan on working on this very goal, fully, wholeheartedly. 

             Now some logistics. Everything will have to be overhauled from food, ones thoughts, extra activities, even friendships....for only in fine-tuning every large meaningful aspect of ones life can one begin to make room for the big dreams. There will be no time for emotionally draining relationships, no time for wasted work-related drama, no time for foods that weaken, or thoughts that destroy ones positivity. You see, anyone CAN adopt larger than life dreams, but they take up space just like any physical thing might take up space in our home. The room needs to be cleared for the new things that occupy the space to be fully functional. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The outdoors is calling

Tomorrow the outdoors....
I have been working out at the gym so much that I forgot how great it feels to feel the wind in my face and have the cool fall weather dry my sweat as I run. 
Tomorrow, I will bundle up and conquer the dark, cool and quiet morning on my own. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

marathon seven done!!

         I am writing 2 weeks post race about my 7th marathon. Seems like forever ago....four days before the race I had driven to NYC to say goodbye to my grandma who had had a stroke the week before and now here I was back in DC trying to complete a race when my heart was not in it. The first 17 miles went just fine, but right around mile 18, after I had made it past the dreaded bridge, I lost steam and started to get very emotional. The guilt of not being with my mom for these very tough day got to me. I also felt so sad for all my aunts and uncles so tightly holding on to hope that my grandma would eventually pull through and she could go back home. She never made it back home. She died a week later on a Thursday. Since then other tragedies have happened, one of the the election of a bigot to the White House. I cannot even get myself to utter his name, less look at him on TV. I have run a few runs since, a few 3 milers, a few 2 and even a 4 miler. 

         One good thing that came out of this race was a new friend. During the friend I met another struggling runner, a young man, and helping him realize his first marathon helped me tremendously to keep me focused on other things besides my own problems. Two weeks later I used the bib numbers on the photos to find him online. Happens that he was also looking for me and even wrote about me in his own running blog. Overall, very cool turn of events in light of all the gloomy things going on. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Two weeks from marathon

          I am two weeks from MCM and my confidence is shot and my mood is foul. I'm not sure why I feel this way really. Being a practicing buddhist and a runner has taught me to just learn to sit with the emotions as they come, and allow them to come and go naturally without a rush. Therefore, instead of fighting them or trying to get rid of them, for the past few days I've been low and watching these feelings come and go. Most likely my hormones are going crazy, but I can't be , seeing as I have not been to a doctor (nor will I be going). Yet, for someone like me, who is normally super busy with always something going on, one would ever see it or recognize that these things are going on in me. But, this week  HAS been super tough, getting up at 4 or 5am and making myself go running, or going to the gym or even feeling good about my second 20 miler in 8 days, which SHOULD be a no-brainer. I'm not saying I'm not proud of this run. I do feel proud that I was able to finish a second 20 miler in 8 days, something I have not done for my other marathons, ever! But, a large part of me feels somewhat numb overall. Of course, I did a gratuitous 20-miler (19.5 actually) and I should be feeling quite awesome indeed, but nope, I'm struggling to celebrate, or even feel generally good at all. Again, it might be my hormones going crazy. When no real reasons exist for one's negative feelings, it's most likely hormones and I have to simply ignore and/or distrust my thoughts for some time. Nevertheless, knowing the WHY does not necessarily solve it. I have been quite a witch lately. It's not easy for my family to experience me in this mood. 

               About the run, this was a fairly easy run. Having already done my initial 20-miler I had a lot less pressure for this run. I did run a very easy 17 miles and then I hit the trails where there was gravel. Oh, I don't like gravel at all. My ankles have a really hard time adjusting to the unevenness of it and I ended up walking most of the remaining miles. I did beat myself up over it for the entire 3 miles but was not about to make it up at all, I was spent and I was D.O.N.E. But what a gorgeous fall day it turned out to be Sunday and it was all mine! I did not see even one human being either running or walking until hour 3 of my run. So you see, the streets did belong to me from 5am to almost 8am!

I LOOOOVE seeing funny things on my runs.....looks like someone emptied the entire contents of their oven on the sidewalk.....As much as I hate to see liter and litterers this was quite amusing.....

Sunday, October 9, 2016

20 miles baby!!

        I love rain.....I love running in the rain. Unfortunately, it only rained ever so lightly and ended within the first hour. What was most shocking is that I did not see another walking person or even a runner until about mile 9. 

              I don't think of myself as competitive until a streak of competitiveness sneaks out and takes a hold of me. Then I know I am as competitive as they come, I just pretend not to be. As I approached an intersection an older man and a very young woman entered the path in front of me and were doing a faster pace than me for some time. Every time I'd look up they were further and further forward. In situations like these I always make a mental note to run my own run and not to worry about others' pace. After about 10 minutes I look up and the young woman is walking. The older man is motioning with his hands trying to get her to start back up. She starts back up but by the time she does I am only a few dozen yards behind and quickly pass them both. Wow, this is new to me...passing someone, and more importantly, passing a woman half my age. It did bring a small smile to my face.  

            I saw a fox for the third time in my life. Its gait is a bit like it's confused and at one point it started walking towards me....In a split second I decided the mace would not work, too windy. The whistle would not work, it would wake everyone up where I was running. So instead, I just made crazy motions with my arms and off it went. That was easy.  
            I did find a pair of keys. I picked them up and ran with them, then thought I should drop them at anyone's driveway and surely they'd find the owner. About half a block later I change my mind. Nope, this was an accidental find by me and seeing as I believe very strongly that there are no such things as accidents I felt it my job to find the owner of these keys. I was too lazy to stop and place them in the back of my hydration pack so in my hands they sat for about 7-8 miles. This might be the work of a guardian angel and I am a person they thought would do the job, and not stop until I find the owner, so I will do just that. 

17 miles behind me.....3 to go......I'm going to do this!

 I posted this picture on my Facebook, and only later did I see the big huge pile of salt on my left temple. For the past 4 long runs I have stopped taking any kind of food on my long runs. I was famished by mile 13, but then I forgot all about it and was fine with water and S-caps the whole way. 

 My feet were particularly in pain so I decided to dip them in icy water for 8-10 seconds at a time. It did help quite a bit. What also helped was staying in bed for about 2 hours after the run. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Week 12 done...sort of

                 This was not a run I wanted to do. First, I had been skimping on my runs this week so I was already many miles short of the plan. Then, I had taken 2 Advils the night before to help me with this recurring foot pain that has yet to go away. I totally forgot that Advil keeps me awake, not only that, it makes my heart race. So I was awake from 11pm-4am watching Amazon Prime fall pilots, hating all of them. When I got up (from the couch that is, not from sleep) I started getting ready. I was out the door at 5:05am. It was a 2 hour run in the dark seeing as the sun did not rise until 7:07am and it was cloudy, which made the seem to sun seem to rise even later. I love early morning runs. The streets are all mine, the shadows dance as I shuffle by and I can let my mind wonder wherever it pleases. I have a really strong flashlight which helps to keep me feeling safe. 

Once the sun did rise I got to Zion Drive and I really do not like these gently rolling hills. I tried my best to tackle each one without stopping. 

Because I was running to my son's game 3 miles from my home I needed to use a trail to get there, and in order to cross a main road that does not have pedestrian access. It was an absolutely gorgeous run. 

Again, I saw very few humans on any of these trails. A straggling human here and there, waving good morning and disappearing away behind me. 

I crossed Braddock underneath and it was super muddy. I had to imagine I was walking on melted yummy chocolate to keep me from getting nervous as I walked over the entire length. Reminded my of the North Endurance Challenge or a trail race in which you have to stop and figure out a way to get around this natural obstacle, be it a muddy patch or a stream. 

It was lightly misting when I my son's baseball game. I went to the ports-potty there, changed my bra and top and sat and watched 4.5 hours of baseball. Best day ever. I JUST noticed this now, but I also took a picture of my mini knife that I hang on my hydration pack. 

I have decided that I need to find out the official names for these plants/flowers. They add so much to the scenery of the trail run. As much as I HATE the gravel on my trail runs, I very much like the required special attention necessary to get through a trail, that is nonexistent on pavement.