Friday, April 30, 2010

why hello, new hampshire!

I'm here!  It's cute!  I can't stop sneezing!

The plane gave me a teeny tiny bag of peanuts and a cookie, and I didn't plan well, so I was STARVING by the time I got to Boston.  I was worried about missing the bus, so I didn't grab anything in the airport.  No food = hungry cranky headachy Katie.  Thank GOODNESS for Julie!  Hurrah!  She took me to La Festa, and it was an amazing kind of delicious.  Garlic knots are my new boyfriend (sorry).

Also, they had several beers I've never see, so the woman at the counter was kind enough to let me try a tiny coffee mug.  How cute is this?

Make mine a quadruple.

Yes, I'll have another, barkeep.

I ended up with something that either had "blackberry" or "blueberry" in the name.  It was yum-tastical.

It's man weekend back at the house.  Yikes.

This guy doesn't miss me even a little.  Okay, maybe a little.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

three things thursday

1. My IT band is not cooperating.  (There are the days of our lives....).  I've been running on it, a little, and I haven't had any pain, but plenty of tightness that I would classify as "uncomfortable."  I've added another hunk of core/hip stuff to my workout, so maybe this extra will make that little difference.  Yesterday's walk/run was okay, but I could tell I was about to move from "tight" to "pain" in my last running set.  And I really don't want to walk/run 3 miles (on a treadmill) for the rest of my life.

2. I'm heading to NH today (airplane gods pending) to visit my girl, and I'm super excited!  This trip was originally planned for the weekend DC got 472 feet of snow, so I'm glad to finally be going.  There was something about Ben & Jerry's mentioned as we were planning.....

3. I've been thinking about buying a bike for a while, and now that a few of my friends have purchased one, I'm REALLY thinking about it (people to ride with = awesome).  I don't know anything about bikes (except that you shouldn't buy just the pedals and seat before the bike, ahem, ex), and I might go the cheap-bike-to-see-if-I-like-it route first.  But I hate wasting money, so maybe I just buy a medium-fancy one that will last a while.  Decisive as usual....

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

mostly wordless wednesday

one of the worst baseball games I've ever seen live last night, but there was beer:
the pizza I made with wheat flour for the first time:
the shoes I'm back in:
and the puppy:
of course, the puppy:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

strong women

Yesterday someone on Dailymile posted an article, something about "myths about weight-lifting."  I LOVE the picture under myth 1.  Do you think that lifting once a week is going to do that to your body?  There'd be a lot more people walking around in strong-man bikinis if it did.  It takes tons of significant effort to look like a body builder!  But it added to the thoughts I've been having over the past month, as I've added a significant amount of lifting into my routine.

Almost without exception, I've done some very light lifting alongside my running.  Even in college, I would hop off the treadmill and hit the major leg muscles, or a few arm exercises with barbells.  I wasn't serious about it, but I included it.  After knee surgery, I added yoga to my running, and I loved how strong my body became from this.  I would leave yoga feeling relaxed and balanced and like I just got my ass handed to me.  And it wasn't a month after I stopped going to yoga that I got hurt - coincidence?  

Right now, as I'm fighting this IT injury, I think I'm probably stronger than I've ever been.  I've been doing probably 90 minutes a day - at least - of lifting, core work, stretching, and other exercises that just use the weight of my own body (squats, for example).  I've never had this much cross-training before.  And I've only been doing it for a month, but I can already see and feel the positive differences in my body.  I can make my quads "pop" out of my legs, which is hilarious!!!  I've lost around 5lbs (maybe more - I'm scared to weight myself after last night's homemade pizza/baked brownie incident).  The few times I've run, I can tell that my hips are stronger and looser, and my pace has been significantly faster with less effort.  The creaky feeling that I would have in my knees after even 2 miles has completely disappeared.  It's also gotten me to do a lot more work on my recovering shoulder than I maybe would have, whining and complaining from the couch about my knee, and I'm hoping it's going to put me back in the pool that much sooner.

Over the winter, I was probably doing some light lifting about once a week, and I can see now that wasn't enough.  This somehow makes this injury a blessing.  I've found a way to be thankful.  Without fighting the IT band problems, I would never have added this to my routine.  Once I'm running more, I will probably back down from the 6-7x a week that it is now, but I will definitely keep it as an important part of my training.  I've had a tendency to be injured a lot, and I'm hoping that with a more balanced approach to running, I will be able to stay on my feet (and off the couch).

Many, many people have been very generous with their advice as far as hip/core work and other IT-related exercises, and I'm always looking for more!  Post your favorites in the comments!

Monday, April 26, 2010

many monday ramblings

In no particular order....

I've done 3 runs since my cortisone shot/week off fiasco. They've all been walk/runs, with my longest stretch of running around 5 minutes, and fastest pace around 9:20.  I haven't had any sharp pinchy OMG WHAT IS THAT pain in my knee, but I can still tell things are a bit tight.  However, I can tell that the strengthening routine I've been doing for the past month is definitely helping - my legs feel a lot stronger than they maybe ever have.  This morning's run felt pretty good, but I'm still scared and taking it way easy.  

Total: 3.1/34:00/avg. pace 10:57

I ran 23 minutes out of 34.  What's funny (to me) is that my first 5K back from foot injury was 33:34, and I ran the whole thing.  Just means my pace is good on the run sections.  

My GWPC bib got a PR yesterday.  It's a sad thing that I wasn't there with it, but such is life.  Saturday I was feeling creaky and twingy and didn't want to risk the IT band pinch of death, so I handed it off to the poet, who got me a post-injury PR.  Easiest PR yet!!

A very good friend of mine from college is visiting for the weekend, so we've been doing a lot of DC-related eating & drinking.  We went to trashy karaoke on Saturday night ("Proud Mary" a surprising crowd pleaser) and services at the National Cathedral Sunday morning, which I've never done.  It's rainy and yuck out today, so I'm not sure what our plan is.  

I'm taking a double course load this semester, and it is  The econ class has a ridiculous amount of weekly reading, and even with my not-full work schedule, it's still pretty tough to keep up.

I probably should've called this post, "mindless monday..."

Friday, April 23, 2010

for most this amazing day

Otherwise known as, the story of my tattoo.

(Go get a vodkatini, this one's long.  Shut up, it's not that early.)

I've wanted to get a tattoo for several years.  When I went to Atlantic City for what was probably the best bachelorette party in the history of ever (all male review? check. 9 girls dressed like streetwalkers? check. awful karaoke? check. penis-shaped jewelry? check. puking for 2 days afterwards? check.), I thought about doing it then.  My girls wouldn't let me, which, in hindsight, I'm really happy about.  I wouldn't want this associated with that.

Fast forward almost a year.  My marriage is falling apart, I got injured two weeks before Shamrock - which I'd been training for all winter - and couldn't run it AND was in a giant clunky boot with crutches, and was working what was basically the worst job I've ever had - maybe that anyone has ever had.  I decided to go to Albuquerque to visit one of my girls.  I have three best girls, and they're all awesome.  My friendship with each of them is different in a way that makes me whole, and there's no way I could've survived my marriage and subsequent divorce without them.  

You know when you meet someone, and within 5 minutes of talking to them, you know you're friends for life?  And sometimes you go three months without talking and then you call her and it's like no time has passed?  That's Brynn.  We met when I was living in Boston, and really only hung out a handful of times, but we're girls for life.  She moved to Albuquerque and I moved back to DC, so I decided to go and visit. 

We'd been casually talking about getting tattoos when we talked about the visit, and when I got there we decided to go for it.  Her mom (how awesome is this?) recommended a place where we wouldn't get the clap/herp/drip/hep, we printed out what we wanted, and went.  I'm so glad this is something we did together.

Now, I believe firmly that people should not get married, procreate, or get tattoos unless they feel very strongly about it.  If I see one more guy at the beach with Homer Simpson pooping on his belly button, I'm going to slap him.  I have beliefs that I won't force on you, and I've done some poetry writing which I also won't force on you, and e.e.cummings is one of my favorite poets.  My favorite piece starts out like this:  

i thank you God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

At this time, everything in my life, everything I could see, could touch, was bad.  The unbearable sadness of my marriage, the frustrated fury at my injury, the cornered rage at my job, the isolation I felt around my happily-married-and-employed friends.  And I decided this was the time.  Because I needed to remember that, despite how painful everything was, I still need to find a way to be thankful for this day, the one I'm living now.  Looking back, I can see the good things that grew out of this time - the relationships that cemented as I leaned on my friends, the swimming I never would have done if I was healthy, the new job I never would have discovered if I wasn't stumbled upon there.  But at that time, I saw nothing but bleak sadness.

This is something I need to remember now.  Yes, I'm struggling with injury, and yes, it's been a rough few weeks, but I have so much to be thankful for.  This is a constant reminder.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

three things thursday

1. I found this picture somewhere on the internet yesterday and burst out laughing.  This is basically what my body is doing.

I wish I could remember where I found it & give credit.

2. I was married, and I'm not anymore.  Tomorrow we finish the final paperwork in transferring the house from both our names to just mine.  It feels weird and final in a way that divorce papers just didn't.  My ex is a good person, things just didn't work out for us, and occasionally I feel sad that things turned out the way they did.  We've both moved on with our lives & are doing well, and I know that deciding to end our marriage was the decision that would make us both the happiest.  This kind of sounds like a celebrity statement of divorce, but it's true.  

3. The puppy had his big no-humping operation on Monday, and he's doing fine.  We've been trying to keep him calm and quiet this week, and he's been "helping" me work.  

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

cautious optimism

Cautious optimism.

Those are the words I used to describe my barely-a-run today everywhere I crowed about it.  Not enough to feel out of the woods by any stretch, but enough for me to lift my head out of this blue funk and peep around at the rest of the world.  I did 2 minutes walking/3 minutes running, 5 times.  The walking was all somewhere in the 14:00 pace, the running was all in the 9:40-10:10 pace.  I ran on a treadmill at the gym, trying to avoid both cantered roads around my house and turns on the track.  At no time did I feel any sharp shooting pain.  However, on the last two sets, I did feel the tiny tug that usually precedes the sharp shooting pain, but I didn't stop or slow down.  

Total: 2.1/25:00/avg. pace 11:54

I guess I'll take it, for now.  3 minutes running is not a long time, so I don't think this is a true test of the IT band at this point.  However, this is part of my master-come-back-slowly plan, so that's what I'm doing.  I'm going to spend tomorrow doing my regular lifting/biking gym routine, and I think I'll try this again on Friday.  I think I can feel a pretty serious difference in my hips and legs, based on the super pumped up leg routine of the last 3 weeks, but that might also be from 10 days off running, or all the bike work.  

So far, I've missed 2 Friday night Crystal City 5K's, the Cherry Blossom 10M and the Silver Spring 5K last weekend.  I'm definitely going to skip out on this Friday night's 5K, but if Friday is another solid run/walk on the TM, I may tentatively plan to do this walk/run solution for the GW Parkway 5K on Sunday.  I'm concerned about extending the overall time (I estimate 40 minutes for the 5K, roughly, at this pace), but I suppose I could also decide to walk/run up to 25 minutes, and then walk the rest of the way.  I think getting out of the house and out of my head and around other runners would be good for me, and be a good change from the tedious boredom of the gym.  I miss you, runners of DC.  

I also switched back from the New Balance 760s that I've been running in for the past 8 weeks to the Asics Gel 3000 I ran in before those.  My logic?  Not at all solid, but in the Asics, I didn't have IT problems.  The Asics fired up some peroneal tendonitis in my foot, which is why I switched to the NB - a less serious motion-control shoe - and I like the NB and think that they are just fine, but I needed the mental edge this morning.  I had a brand-new pair of Asics in my closet (bought 3 pairs a year ago when I found them for 40% off and have been lamenting the waste since I switched to the NB), so I pulled them out this morning, laced them up, and went.  Probably just all in my head?  Yes, probably, but I'll take it.  I also wore the same outfit I wore on my last pain-free run.  Again, did it make a difference?  No, not really, but I'll do any kind of juju lucky magic to make this happen.  

Cautious optimism.  There are worse things.

I still choose to fight

Today is day 10 since the last time I ran.  And during that run, I fell apart.  Running 2 minutes on/2 minutes off was too much for my IT band.  2 minutes.  As I limped home, I was pissed.  I can't spend the rest of my life only able to run for 2 minutes.

I've been depressed the last few weeks.  I feel like I'm never going to be a healthy runner for more than a few weeks or months.  The past two years have been filled with one injury after another, and I'm so tired of my body.

Today I'm going to try a short run, and I'm scared.  I'm scared to get back on my feet and find out if I'm healed or not.  I haven't figured out where (street? track? treadmill?) or how long (1 mile? 2 minutes alternating? half mile intervals?) or when (go now?  wait until lunch?  go tonight when the gym will be packed?).  But my IT has felt tight the last few days despite everything I've been doing, and I feel like I've already resigned myself to the depression that will inevitably come with another summer of not running.  This morning, I'm going to stretch and roll and ice, and then before I run I'll stretch and roll and hope that everything is strong and stretched out.  I probably won't do more than 20 minutes.  But, oh man, if I can have those 20 minutes, it'll do so much to drag me out of this dark and lonely place.  

And, as depressed as I've been, as much as this is making me withdraw into myself, I still choose to fight.  Maybe all I do these days is get up and go to the gym and then go back into hiding, but at least I'm doing that.  I'm attacking this injury, and it may not respond and I may end up in surgery anyway, but at least I know I still have enough runner in me left to fight.  Somewhere. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

an open letter to my IT band (flattery will get you everywhere)


You look great.  Did you lose weight?  You're just...glowing.  Strong.  Fabulous.  No, seriously, something is different about you.  Wow, those shoes are fantastic!!  Manolos?  And your necklace, it's gorgeous!

Are there your brothers and sisters?  What, your children?  Not possible.  All 11 of them?  You don't look a day over 17!  No, really, they're all yours?  They're so well-behaved.  Beautiful little angels.  Which one is going to Harvard?  Oh, that's all right, he'll like Stanford better.  

So, where are we on the running, hot stuff?  Mmmm hmmm?  Yeah?  No, your ass looks great.  No, seriously.  You look like a clothes-hanger.  Not everyone can wear white transparent hot pants, but girl, you own it.

Like, I KNOW.  

Like, no WAY.

Seriously?  Like, seriously? think you want to try some running tomorrow?  Maybe just a touch?  

Monday, April 19, 2010

a relaxing weekend & lifting

I spent this weekend doing very little, which I haven't done in a while.

The poet left on Friday for an educational weekend of poker and sticky strippers in Atlantic City, and I promptly motored off to the gym, then to Barnes & Noble to fill out my Stephanie Plum collection.  I spent most of the next two days in bed or on the couch, reading and hanging with the puppy.  I read about 12 books, got to the gym for a few hours every day, and just kind of chilled out.

I'm now into 3 weeks of some pretty serious weight lifting and strengthening, and I think I'm starting to feel a difference.  I can make my rock-hard quad pop out of my leg, which is pretty neato.  I'm much closer to "glutes of steel" than "glutes of doughnuts" than I've been in a while, and while I don't know how you measure the strength of your abductors (open a beer bottle?  nope, that's glutes), I can just tell that mine are pretty rockin.  Before all of this insanity, I would generally get to the gym 1-3x a week, depending on my schedule.  Every time I went I did IT band stuff as maintenance for my older injury (but would do it on both sides), would either lift arms/chest&back/legs, and then would read and spin for a while before leaving.  Right now I can't lift chest/back because of my healing shoulder, and the "arm" stuff I'm doing is essentially PT for said same shoulder.  So a day of the gym looks like this:

IT-related exercises:
4x20 one legged Bosu squats (I can't get as low as that guy)
3x10 theraband hip abductor 
3x10 therband glute (these two shamelessly stolen from this article)
5 rounds of clock lunges on each foot

Leg lifting: 
3x15 hip abductor
3x15 hip adductor
3x15 straight leg calf raise 
3x15 leg extension
3x15 leg curl
3x15 leg press

Shoulder PT:
3x15 bicep curls
3x10 shoulder forward extension
3x10 shoulder sideways swing
3x10 shoulder lift
2x10 both arm swing
2x10 pec fly, no weight
3x10 theraband shoulder pullback

Followed by a bunch of stretching and a few rolls down the foam, then 30-40 minutes on the bike.  The leg lifting piece I do every other day, but the rest is daily.  I also have a theraband at home and do the theraband stuff a few extra times each day, plus I do one-legged squats about 600 times a day.  If anyone has any suggestions on additions to my IT-band-full-attack routine, I'd love to hear it.  I do the side-leaning-stretch and the cross-legs-bend-over-stretch and the half-pidgon stretch, plus the regular leg stretches, plus the leg lifts.

Saw my awesome massage lady this morning, so I'm taking today off.  Tomorrow a round at the gym, and Wednesday I will attempt a run/walk (day 7!).  Keep lots of fingers crossed for me this week.  I'm hoping that all the good Boston karma and emotion flying around will motivate my IT to just chill the eff out and let me run again.  

Friday, April 16, 2010

in the doldrums

When I was little, I loved to read.  I'd read anything I could get my sticky little paws on.  One of my favorite books was "The Phantom Tollbooth."  Milo comes home from school one day and finds a package in his room.  In it is a map and a tollbooth. He drives through and ends up on the road to Expectations.  However, he stops paying attention and ends up in the Doldrums, where there is no color and thinking and laughing are strictly prohibited.

This week, I've been in the Doldrums.  I've been sleeping a lot, and not really eating all that much, and not going out except to the gym, and just been feeling kind of blah and down.  What I'd really like to do is hibernate for a week or two, and wake up to a land where everything is better, where I can run and feel alive again.  I had 2 5K's on the schedule for this weekend.  After the past few weeks, I was hoping to walk tonight's, but doc says it's a no go because of the cortisone.  I'm probably going to end up in the gym, trying to get stronger and more balanced so this jimmy-rigged bargain-basement body can get back on the streets.

I had a long talk with my best girl on Tuesday, and kind of fell apart, and that strangely helped, and seeing my ortho and feeling proactive about attacking this helped, but I just can't get out of this place.  I feel like I'm an intruder in the running community right now, like I have nothing positive to talk about or contribute, so I should just stay quiet.  And this will probably seem silly a week from now, or a month from now, but right now it's all very real.  

Hopefully Tock (below) will rescue me soon and we can head for the Castle in the Air.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

three things thursday

oy oy oy.

1. I wish I could reach back to my post-surgery pre-running self and give her a slap.  Turn down that CB bib, come back slowly, and trust me on this one.  Now, I get that this IT band business probably would've flared up anyway, but still.  TURN BACK, TWO-WEEKS-AGO KATIE!  You're going to be really sad and down in a few weeks from not running if you keep this up.

2. I love my ortho.  I'm probably paying for his backup Ferrari at this point.  His take on the IT band is: I suffered for a long time with the last one with no improvement (over 4 years), ended up having a not-very-common surgery to fix it, and healed and responded really well to the surgery.  That means that it's possible I won't respond well to the massive amounts of PT, ice, massage, stretching, and strengthening I'm doing right now.  If I do, awesome and great and we really hope that's what happens, but if I don't, we're not gonna fuck around for years trying to fix it like last time.  He gave me a cortisone shot in the knee/IT band to try and calm the inflammation and speed up the healing.  He said to wait 4 days (later changed to 4-7, and I am going to BE PATIENT and wait all 7), then try and run, but I can bike and should keep doing all the PT whatnot during that time.  If it still hurts after a few weeks, come back, we'll do probably one more shot and then he'll go in and slice it up.  

Now, for the record, I hate doctors and shots and drugs and unnecessary surgery and all that business.  I don't like taking any kind of drugs for a long time, and I generally would prefer to let my body heal itself than get in the way.  But I've dealt with this injury before, and I know that I am doing EVERYTHING right to heal it, and if it doesn't, I'm not going to drag my feet just because I don't like having surgery.  Right now, my hips are strong, my glutes are strong, my overall fitness level is high, and I'm fighting to heal this thing.  That's the plan.  A dose of his we're-not-gonna-launguish attitude is exactly what I needed to start trying to dig myself out of how sad and blue I've been.

3. As usual, the third thing is the cutest puppy on the planet.  This is the first big snowstorm of the winter.  We had to dig out a place for him to go outside because the snow was much taller than he was.  Happy Thursday, everyone. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

wordless wednesday

I took this picture to show off my awesome new dailymile tee.

I wish I had known it was the last pain-free run I was going to have.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I feel blue

Sorry, no flip snarkiness today.  

Tried another run/walk last night, not a lot of pain in the knee, but the IT band feels like a hot poker down the side of my leg.  And this was after 2 hours of massage release, a roll on the foam, and a bunch of stretching.

I couldn't sleep last night worrying about it.  The last time I had IT band problems (on the other side) I spent 4 years in and out of PT - never, at any point, able to run - before my ortho gave up and surgically released it.  I am not strong enough to spend another 4 years struggling with this injury on the other side.  I'm just not.  

I've been in self-imposed PT for the past 10 days, and don't see a difference.  As it happens, I have a check-up with my ortho tomorrow for my shoulder, and I'm going to ask him what to do.  He'll probably say keep going with the self-PT, the massage, the foam rolling, the ice, and come back in a couple weeks.  My biggest question is: if my left IT ended up needing to be surgically released, what are the chances my right will end up needing it as well?  I mean, it's connected to the same hips and glutes as the left IT band.  And if those chances are good, then let's just skip to it.  I hate hate HATE having surgery, and this one was a doozy, but I don't have the mental toughness I had the first time around to keep dealing with this injury for years and years.  

I'm going to keep going with the cross training and lifting in the meantime, because I'm sure it's good for me one way or the other, but I hate that, one way or another, it looks like I might be about to sit out yet another summer of running and racing.

Monday, April 12, 2010

injured? shocking

It probably shouldn't be a huge shock to anyone that I'm injured all the time.  Other than running, I just kind of fall down a lot.  This morning, for example, I fell down the (freshly-painted, yesterday) stairs carrying a glass of chocolate soy milk and a bowl of cereal.  When I ride the recumbent bike at the gym, I regularly bang my knees into the handlebars.  I've got about six bruises currently from this.  A few weeks ago, I was cutting my toenails and cut part of my toe off, so it hurt too much to put shoes on for several days.  As I was writing an email about my toenail stupidity to someone, I bit the inside of my cheek really hard and it started to bleed.  

The first time I took my dog for a post-run walk, I decided to call a friend to chat.  As I'm talking, the dog stops to do his business.  I lean over to pick it up with the plastic bag, and the phone falls out of my pocket and smashes into a million pieces on the sidewalk.  In lunging to try and catch it, I trip over something (what? nothing) and land facedown on the the pile of poo.  

And it's not just clumsiness.  I'm the girl that's dropped the towel on the treadmill, managed to step on it with BOTH feet and go flying off the back.  Who gets a bloody nose from a treadmill?  The first time I got back in the pool, I got a charley horse in the middle of a lane so bad that a speedo-guy from the next lane over dragged me back to the side.  It's probably a good thing I don't currently own a bike.  I'd be roadkill.

I'm sure those who know me can chime in with other stories of how I'm a klutz.  But it shouldn't surprise me so much when I get hurt running.  Being alive seems to be pretty tough in itself.

Off to my 2-hour beating, and then to the gym for a possible run/walk.  

Sunday, April 11, 2010

yes, I ran, but that's not the point

So, I ran on Friday.

I came home Friday night and wrote this whole long post about all the cross-training and strengthening I've been doing all week, and about how I ran, and what I did every little minute of it and how awesome I felt and about watching the 5K and seeing the winners come in and the poet and the running buddy kick ass and how it felt to be on the sidelines for all of that.  And I didn't post it because I wasn't really feeling it, and I'm still not.  So.  Short story: I did a walk/run on Friday, things felt okay but still worn out.

I think this break has been good for my head, to kind of reset myself.  When I started training again after a long injury lay-off, I was really careful and scared about every twinge, and then the sun came out and the birds were chirping and I got careless.  I also think I got used to things hurting as I cranked up the milage that I really wasn't ready to handle just yet.  It's partially me wanting to be where I was a year ago and partially feeling competitive as I watch everyone else rack up huge milage this spring.  

But I'm not there.  That's going to be okay for a while.  Maybe I change my focus and instead of training for a long race, I try and PR the crap outta my 5K.  Maybe I really crank up the swimming once I get the okay (hopefully this week).  I've been to the gym 6 days out of the past 7, and that hasn't happened in a few months, and it feels really good.  It's time to listen to my body - to really hunker down and listen - and do what feels good, and stop worrying so much about the numbers.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I could do it, you know

Someone asked on Twitter last night: Why do you run?

Watching the answers go by was a hugely motiving experience.  It's awesome that running is meaningful in different ways to us all.

And then I had this thought.  I could give up, you know.  I'm hurt, I'm angry, I'm depressed, I'm sad, I could just give up on running.  I've been hurt so many times, I could take this as a sign from the universe to just freakin' knock it off.

I could go back to being that 183-lb girl, full of angry discontent, constantly searching but never finding peace.  There are tons of us out there, I'd blend right back in.  It'd be easy.  

I know exactly what my life would be like, because I've been there.  I've given up before.

I'd wake up and have to try on 4 pairs of pants before I can squeeze up the zip.  Walking downstairs makes me breathe hard.  I'd eat my morning breakfast of diet coke and candy bars before driving the 2 miles to work.  

At work, I'd buy breakfast again.  "I just didn't have time this morning," I'd tell my co-workers as we walked down to the caf.  At the register, I wouldn't be able to resist the bag of gummy bears.  They'd be gone by mid-morning, plus some more diet coke, plus another chocolate-covered granola bar.  "Granola is healthy," I soothe myself, "good for me."

At 10am, we break for coffee.  I have tea and a donut - or two - which I eat standing up because I don't fit in the chairs in the caf.  I leave before my co-workers, telling them I have to get back to work, but really it just takes me longer to walk the 200 feet back.

Back in the office, some nubile young thing bounds in the door, brilliant and glowing from a mid-morning run.  "Phew," I say as I wave away the smell of sweat, "don't you know that running is bad for you?"  I'll corner people and explain that I used to be a runner, but it's too hard on the body.  I'll tell them I'm much healthier now.  As I hear the words coming out of my mouth, I don't even believe myself.

At lunch, I eat a salad, but drown it in bacon and dressing and cheese.  I feel guilty about every mouthful, but it doesn't stop me from going back for more.

I'm exhausted by 1:30pm.  I never have enough energy to get through the day.  I have a few more diet cokes, some candy as a pick-me-up.  I take the elevator up one floor for a meeting and am still panting when I arrive.

I have a stressful afternoon, so I stop on the way home to buy a family-size bag of chips and some candy.  "I've earned it," I tell myself, "today was extra rough."

At home I climb into bed and devour everything while reading.  I nod off and end up taking a 2-hour nap.  I'm always tired.

I wake up, hungry for dinner.  I order pizza, Thai, Chinese, or go out for Italian.  I eat every morsel off my plate and still have room for dessert.  

At home, I sit on the couch, panting slightly.  I see a commercial for ice cream, empty half the tub into a bowl, and suck it down.  I climb into bed, wiped out from my day.  I don't sleep well because I wake up often. 

This could be my life.  I could give up.  I could move quietly through life, not making a dent, and the only sounds that the universe would hear from me is the sound of my thighs gently rubbing together as I walk.  There would be nothing in my life that would make me feel alive, vibrant, strong.  I would just be quietly passing the days until death.

I'll probably fight injury my whole life.  My orthopedist says, some people just get injured a lot.  He's gonna put my picture on the poster.  I might never complete that half-marathon I've done 80% of the training for a dozen times.  My PR might be everyone else's recovery pace.  I may never cross the finish line before the guy pushing the triple-stroller with 90-lbs of toddler in it.  But without running, I don't know how to be alive.  I need to run like I need water, like I need sunshine and breathing, I need to push out the pavement and sweat and cuss and cry and be a champion when I cross that finish line, even if I'm last, even if no one can see it but me.  I'm not whole without it, I'm constantly searching for something, something, but I can't find it, and then I get back on the road, and the universe makes sense again.  I need to have something to fight for, to struggle against, to triumph over, I need a reason to believe that I'm worth this life I'm living.

I have an e.e.cummings quote tattoo'd on my back, and it's the best and most important thing I've ever done for myself.  (this story another time)  But there's another quote that I keep telling myself:  "To be nobody-but-yourself, in a world which is doing it's best, night and day, to make you somebody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."

This is why I run.  Because I'll never stop fighting.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

three things thursday

There's really only one thursday thing on my mind.

1. I've decided not to run - anything - at all - on Sunday.  I'll might still go out and cheer on my friends that I know are running, but I'm not going to be lacing up my shoes for this one.  One of my running buddies gave me her CB bib, so I let her know she can give it to someone else.  I'm sure she'll find someone since people are throwing their mommas under the train to run this race.  Pulling out makes my heart kind of heavy, but I think - I know - it's the right decision.  I have a lot of other races planned this spring/summer/fall, and I will miss this one so I don't miss more.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

not really wordless wednesday

This is my dog, his name is Graham.

When he came home to live with us, he was very small.

He slept a lot.

He had never seen snow.

He loved opening presents.

Preparing for life as a supermodel.

This weekend he went to PA with us and spent some time with family.

He makes funny faces.
He can't think straight when you rub his belly.

I can't imagine life without his funny little self.