Sunday, March 1, 2015

5 miles on ice



             This was the MOST icy run I have ever had and I had a blast!!!! The sidewalks were long stretches of ice sheets. Rain came down and felt amazing against my skin but also kept adding layers and layers of ice to everything, leaves, barks, grass, sidewalk. I started off wearing a warm hat but took it off after mile 1 and the rain felt totally refreshing, just what I have been needing all day! On this day I decided it might be wise to wear my Yaktrax, one of those seemingly totally useless purchases all runners make when they first start running. In fact, I have worn the Yaktrax only once last year, and back then, I felt it was totally useless for the amount of snow that had fallen and never once thought about it until this day. On THIS day, I could not have made it 10 feet without it. 

            One amusing aspect of running with the Yaktrax was that people all around were walking as if they just woke up and had a severe leg injury....at least, that is how I walk when I have an injury. I could not believe how reliable these things were. At first, I was a bit apprehensive and could not totally relax into each step thinking I might still slide, or slip or fall, bit no, I did not slip once! I started to feel more confident as mile 1 came to an end and from then on it felt great. It get EVEN better knowing at the end of my run that I did not see one other soul out there running in the entire hour and 20 minutes I was out there. On most days like this I will see one, maybe two people out facing the elements, but not today.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

First visit to a nutritionist


              I did not think it would be so hard to visit a nutritionist. I think the hardest part was simply knowing that I needed help. It's always been so hard for me to even acknowledge that I need help. I have grown up with independently reading self-help books, always wisely choosing my path based on solid, on-my-own research. But this time I had no more solutions. I had gained weight and listening to too much advice from blogs to podcasts have gotten me confused. It went well. A few times I felt myself getting emotional and I had to catch myself from crying in the presence of this perfect stranger. Back in the car after the visit I had o explore why so emotional? why was this so tough? that was it, the lack of control I felt going in was not a typical place for me to be. Being on the receiving end of HELP was not comfortable...the whole thing felt awkward. The advice I walked away with on the first visit was three easy but at the same time, monumental tasks:

1. Plan your meals and snacks and 
2. Write down everything you eat
oooooh, and see you back in 1 month....

yes, nothing new....nothing I did not already know....nothing earth-shattering. But the last part...the 'meet you back in a month' part was the big catch....

....ACCOUNTABILITY was the fire I needed under my ass to get me moving the right direction. 

Below is my week's plan.....and below that my shopping list for today....lucky for me, today is a snow day at the school distrcit I work at, so, I will be out shopping for a new crockpot, tupperware at Bed Bath and Beyond and at the local grocer some healthier food options. 



Monday, February 23, 2015

Stress reducing run

                 Friday was hell day. Well, not so much. It was just one of those days that you had to get emotionally ready for days before. I had to get up early that day and drive to my mechanic's 45 minutes away and get some work done on my car. I had no idea how long they'd take or how expensive they'd be, so that alone is enough to stress anyone out. Immediately after I had to go to the DC inspection station and get my car inspected for the year and immediately after THAT I had to run over my daughter's class and help create their art project for their yearly auction project. So you see, this was a big day. Not one thing was allowed to take too long, or the rest of the day would be ruined. The most stressful part was waiting at the inspection station with 45 minutes to spare and wondering if I'd get to my daughter's class on time AND wanting to use the bathroom for the past hour as I sat in my car waiting. When I finally got home that day after all the activities, I was absolutely and positively spent. Every bone in my body hurt and my bed never looked better. I took a small nap, took a hot bath and ate some food. I knew I had to get some energy back in me in order to be able to do my night run. This was not an "I have to" kind if run, or an "I must" kind of run. This was a run I NEEDED to do for my sanity, to save my very soul!! As the evening progressed my hubby and my kids began to bug me more and more, so this was a sure cue I needed a mental break. About this time I also knew not to believe my thoughts about how just horribly messy my apartment was, or the thoughts about 'how come my 2 kids are constantly fighting?"....as I started slipping into fighting-the-small-stuff territory I knew it was time to fix things myself. This was a slow run, but it was mine. I was so happy the entire run. The cold air felt liberating and fresh and clean and every accepting. I drifted from one thought to the next without a care in the world. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Time off due to injury

              I am taking some time away from running. This is a first since I started running 2 and half years ago. It's a week long rest, that's what I decided. A week of 'just' going to the gym and letting my feet rest and heal a bit, while my heart still gets a good workout. No need to tell you all, it's not the same obviously. The feeling of pure triumph I feel after running is missing. I could walk out of that gym every day dripping wet and exhausted and I still will not feel 'triumphant' as I would running 5 miles. 

             I guess I could have just kept going. I mean, that is what I did last time I had some plantar fasciitis issues with my other foot.  I just ran right through the pain and came out the other end, a few months later, just fine. Since I began running it's been mind over body. But this year I am trying to have a different relationship with my body where the body has equal say over the mind. This year I want to stop making my body do stuff whether it want to or not, and instead I want to try to let my body actually have a say as to whether or not 'we' are ready. What does my body need. My body is screaming, "give me a rest!", all my major muscles have been permanently achy, my feet will not heal, and no amount of rolling, icing, massaging as been successful at getting me back to my happy runs. hence the week 'off'. As much as it pains me to miss out on my feelings of triumph from my post runs, I believe in the long run this approach will be better for my mind and my body

          So far it's been manageable. I let my hubby put the kids down while I run to the gym in my apartment building and work out my heart on those gliding machines for an hour. Most days I don't get wireless reception so I'm left starring at the screen count down (or up) as I try to avoid any and all eye contact the other people working out very very close to me on some other machine. The gym is a tiny gym. Literally about 6 machines in a 13'x13' room. The days I do get reception is a lot more manageable for I can watch a movie and before I know it the hour has passed. 

           Not sure yet how long this break will be. I see people running and I just want to get out there, but I'm immediately reminded by some annoying ache that I am not ready.  The wiser side of me knows I need to wait until my feet feel normal again. Then again, trying to decide it all now is not advisable, seeing as I am likely to change my mind many times over. Would love to know anyone's experience in transitioning back to running after injury.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

How getting sick can help you reset your goals

      It was not tough coming to a decision about my running. From one day to the next I went from one thing to another. It happened Friday, I got sick, not the kind of sick where you actually need medicine for, but the kind of sick where your body just calls it quits and there are no other symptoms but pure fatigue, heavy, achy unrelenting fatigue. My whole body ached, I had a fever, I could not even walk normally; this whole time, all I could think of was my warm, cozy bed and my favorite soft pillow. I took the day off work and slept in. Somewhere during my late breakfast and nightfall I knew that things had to changed in my thinking. That's the thing about big changes, they start, like teeny tiny little seeds, deep in one's innermost thoughts. Never underestimate the power of these tiny ideas...

     In my teens, I remember doing these ridiculous diets. Okay, back then I did not think they were ridiculous at all. I remember doing a vegetable soup diet and an all-fruit diet, and an all-fruit-and-veggie diet. Not surprisingly, they were often extreme enough, weird enough, depriving enough that they'd work. I'd lose a ton of weight....for a few months. Oh how I thought I was the boss of my body then. My iron will has always been good at getting me exactly what I want in life, except when it came to my body. My body would always come right back and demand what it wanted. These diets were very much like walking a tightrope, they required so much attention, so much dedication, and sacrifice that at some point it was bound to fail; Life, by its very nature would always come and blow me back.  

       This 50K was my next "tightrope". I had it set in my mind that despite my busy schedule, despite my many, many other projects, and most importantly, DESPITE an ongoing, pestering, lingering, annoying, not-going-to-go-away-without-rest-kind-of injury I was also going to somehow, someway... make my body train for a 50K and run one THIS Spring. To those who may not know, although a 50K race is only 5 miles more than a marathon, the trainings look quite different. In a 50k training schedule one most often has back-to-back long runs on weekends. For instance, in mid-training, you might have 20 miler Saturday, followed by a 8 or a 10 miler on Sunday. As my body fell apart in pure protest Friday I knew I had done it again, I has once again created a "tightrope" of which I have now fallen off. Once again, I was taking advantage of my iron will to override my body's voice. I had once again shut her up and put her second to my desires.  

       This morning, I woke up in much better health and went for a different kind of a run. This was not a training run, but in all its ordinariness (if that's even a word) it ended up being quite extraordinary.  Not one to cross off a 16-week training printout on my fridge, but it sure was a great new run, one of which I feel has helped me turn the page to a new phase in my running. What was different? For one, I smiled more, I closed my eyes for a few seconds several times to better take in the wind in my face, I fully stopped at the red lights and did not feel the need to keep hopping around to "keep up my training", most importantly, the pressure of making a certain mileage requirement was off the table, allowing me to out and back run end even though it was at 4.6 miles...What?  no running around the block to make that an even 5 miles? NOPE!!! 
       Is still plan on running my fall marathons, but knowing I have a few months of pure, unadulterated play time with my running really feels amazing. I know can truly focus on other goals I could not fulfill while training, such as feeding my body better foods, going to see the doctor about my recurring muscle pain in the back of my legs, and of course, simply enjoying those runs. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Now for some quality runnning

                  This new year has brought about some new thoughts about my relationship with running. This past year, I completed four marathons, yet, I finished off the year feeling like all those accomplishments were not enough. I got a bit upset and worried with myself in thinking, "Damn it, Miriam, when will it be enough?". 

               Back when I was single, I dated this man and we'd go out to dinner every single night. Although we were having a blast, soon, my summer babysitting money started to run out at a record speed. I soon realized that the relationship was not sustainable, he could not live without his nightly fancy dinners (where we'd neatly split the bill in half) and I needed to keep my money in the bank; not surprisingly, a breakup soon ensued. In worrying that my love of running might soon also become unsustainable I have decided to focus on improving the quality of my relationship with running this year. Taking a break from piling on the miles, more and more every year, will allow me to focus on other aspects of my running that are more qualitative in nature. Here are some of them....

1. I would like to focus on my diet. I have put on weight since last year and I would like to figure out my diet and perhaps be able to run 2 minutes faster a mile again

2. I would like to just explore what it feels like to just have a run. Not one that is part of a "training run", not wake up and think, "I need to do 6 miles today" and chug along the program like a stressed-out zombie. I want to get back to simply enjoying my runs, where I get to let out some steam, feel amazing, see sunsets....you know, running, without all the enormous stress that training adds to the equation. 

3. Practice thinking of myself as a runner. This might seem pretty simple to most, but, although I have run for 2 years now and have completed many running races and feats I still need to "bring the horse to water"and literally convince myself I am a runner daily....yep, on a daily basis. 

4. Explore and enjoy being a Marathon Maniac. I did 3 marathons in 41 days to quality as a MM damn it!!! and now I need to make this project come full circle and actually run some marathons as a Marathon Maniac and experience the camaraderie everyone has been boasting about. Nope, no need to sign up for that 50K quite yet, just a marathon.....

5. Try running on trails again. Trails are tough for a full-time working woman running alone. I'd need to run in daylight, I'd need to run on weekends.....maybe dedicate one run during my weekends to trails....but, oh, those trail runs are so heavenly. 

6. Stretch, use the foam roller, take hot baths.....It's about time I take some time to do some body maintenance and care....I need to take the time to heal my body after tough runs. So many days I just pass out without attending to those painful spots and they only can get worse when ignored. Yes, and go get that message....

7. Find the right running clothes that fit MY body. I am sure I am not the only person who has a cemetery of non-used running clothes in their home. I keep buying running clothes that are total wardrobe malfunctions and not returning them. I KNOW I will feel so much more amazing once I find the running gear that fits my body. Worth investigating, asking, trying things on AT the store and searching for just the right gear. 

                I sometimes forget that I have a whole lifetime to go further distances and reach new challenges. I sometimes forget that, God willing, I fully plan on being one of those elderly people we all see while running, scurrying along in a tight gait, getting her run in 'til I croak. In taking the time NOW to improve my running qualitatively, I will make next year's push for new heights even stronger.