Friday, December 26, 2008

Running ramblings

I went for a run today after almost a week of sitting on my keister. I. Did. Not. Like. It. At. All. Who knew that it was possible to feel so badly after a mere week? I felt relatively decent as I set off, but then who doesn't? I even let my mind wander to the ultramarathon accounting I had just read, cockily thinking, "I could do that. I can just run forever." Well, maybe true some other day but not today. It was a definite sign that I *had* to check my watch at a mere 15 minutes out, wondering if it had malfunctioned as it hadn't beeped a distance alert. I was hoping to be at least close to 2 miles at that point (not because I'm that fast but because my internal clock is apparently off and I was just sure I'd been running for almost 20 minutes at that point). I actually almost stumbled then and there. On the plus side, I had chosen to run an out and back lollipop route so I had no choice but to continue plugging along on my chosen path. There were probably several things that contributed to the lousy feeling run (and I'll add a disclaimer and admit that the running portion was not any slower than it has been recently so it just *felt* lousy).

First, my weight has spiralled higher and higher since the marathon. It was clearly a bad idea to indulge in 2, count them, 2 (!) slices of chocolate chip banana bread before running. As if the additional weight wasn't bad enough, the bread sat heavily and reoccurred at alarming intervals during the run. Obviously I need to head back to Weight Watchers with all the rest of the sad New Year's Resolution folks in order to get back on track, both in terms of losing weight and in terms of reminding myself about moderation. Lugging the additional weight around is not only not healthy but is slowing me down (and likely causing passersby distress as they note the cottage cheese wobble they probably aren't used to seeing in full jiggle on other runners). On the plus side, Weight Watchers generally runs a no joining fee promotion around the New Year to entice all the holiday over-indulgers (and lifetime over-indulgers like me) to come in and get started. Gluttony is clearly one of the sins to which I am prone.

Second, it's been almost a week since I ran because I did such a number on my poor muscles with the cross training that I knew it was in my best interest to dial it back. When the choice becomes to keep running daily or walk through my days without heavily self-medicating, it's a fairly easy choice. Not to mention that I am a couch potato of long-standing so opting out of exercise is something of an ingrained habit for me. This was forcefully brought home to me when my sister suggested that my niece is the laziest child she's ever seen and my mother's response was that she (my niece) was just going to be less active than my sister had been--more like her aunt (me!) as a child. Anyone needing a blow to the self-esteem, sign right up to join my family (and yes, mom, when you read this, I know this wasn't how you intended it to come out, but I stand by my interpretation). I'd say I was just more cerebral and run with that but I don't think I'd have the energy to get too far today. ;-) And yes, sloth is another of my besetting sins.

Third, I am a mental disaster right now for no apparent reason. I just finished reading Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and while I'm not sure this is a book with a wide appeal, as a runner (ha!) and writer (bigger ha!) it gave me a lot to ponder. I was reassured to hear that others experience runner's blues and have a tough time motivating themselves to get out there and run some days. Of course, for me, that has been every day lately. But just knowing I am not alone, helps infinitesimally. And finishing the book is probably the catalyst that got me out there today so for that I am truly grateful because I needed it. Even if I did only run 4 miles, walk 1 and finally run the last 1.25. The need for a walk in the middle was more mental than physical, which I completely recognize. Somehow, I have to stop giving myself permission to walk without taking it away as an option if I truly need it. Something to talk to my old coaches about, I guess (as if they need my stress-case self pestering them again!). No idea what sin this would be but I'm sure there's something I'm missing.

I was also mentally defeated by one of those stupid brag and gag Christmas letters. And it wasn't even sent to me! Every year I sit and read the Christmas cards my parents have received. Some of them overlap with those we receive but quite a few of them are old friends of my parents' who we knew as children but don't keep in touch with and so it's interesting to read their letters year to year. Very few of the letters are entertaining. Most of them are of the "how wonderful we are, how great our kids are, and how much you should want to be like us" variety. Usually I just make gagging noises and move on to the next one. I never believe letters that only mention the wonders of people's lives because everyone has ups and downs, even in the most wonderful of years. So I invent mishaps to temper the glowing reports of yearly bliss, not terrible mishaps, but just enough to make the "wonderfuls" a part of a normal life. But this year, there was one in the batch that got to me. It was generally hitting only the high points, of which this family clearly had more than their fair share. And I was cheerfully inventing temper tantrums for grandchildren, an unintentionally and shockingly Pepto Bismol pink painted room instead of the more sedate color they thought they'd chosen, and other mishaps of this ilk when I read the paragraph devoted to the youngest daughter. Not only had she gotten engaged to the most wonderful man *ever* (despite my inventing a predilection for dressing in women's panties unbeknownst to his fiancee), but these two uber-folk had run their first marathon together this fall. This alone wouldn't make me all bitter and jealous but the casual way that it was mentioned that they both ran this sub-four hours made my stomach roil. The worst of it is that the mom, who was writing the letter, didn't even make a huge deal of this accomplishment. She just dropped the time out there and left it dangling. Now, given the number of people who asked me how far my marathon was going to be, I suspect that the time doesn't impress all that many folks as anything to brag about. But let me tell you I felt huge waves of jealousy consuming me and amping up the stomach acid production in my gut. That is a d@mned impressive accomplishment! And I seriously wished it had been me running like the wind to earn the right to brag appallingly in *my* Christmas letter, because let me tell you, if I ever run a sub-four hour marathon, everyone and their grandmother will be in no doubt as to just how amazing that is when I get through with them. Not that I will ever run that quickly, ever, ever, ever. And that, as I plodded along, defeated by a 6 mile run, was the icing on the cake that was my lousy run this morning. Beaten by a saccharine letter that didn't even give a proper nod to the most impressive accomplishment in the entire family (at least as compared to what else made the cut in their otherwise unexceptionally gushy letter). In case you didn't notice, both pride and envy rear their ugly heads here.

So despite the ugly run, I came home, hopped in the shower, and promptly shaved (another thing I hadn't done in about a week), noting that the lack of aerodynamics was probably the true reason for my pitiful performance. I'll have to come up with a new excuse tomorrow. ::grin:: Is whining a sin?

No comments:

Post a Comment

I have had to disable the anonymous comment option to cut down on the spam and I apologize to those of you for whom this makes commenting a chore. I hope you'll still opt to leave me your thoughts. I love to hear what you think, especially so I know I'm not just whistling into the wind here at my computer.

Popular Posts