Run. Dog. Cat. Cat. Me.

Everything you need to know about running and life and any other random crap I find bouncing through my mind like a ping pong ball. And always be sure your shoes are happy.

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

M- Minus 1

Almost exactly, as it’s 4:44am and the race starts at 5am tomorrow.  I’ve been looking at digital clocks since 2:34.  At least the numbers are all even.

What did we do before digital clocks?  Were our minds slightly less TimeOCD?  “Oh, crap, it’s 2:30-ish.”  Did that somehow seem better than those gleaming red digits that light every bedroom so brightly you can see your way to the bathroom despite the near-death of ninja cats in your pathway, their gleaming red eyes eerily reflecting the display?

I spent about an hour and a half doing everything I could think of to drift back off.  Hail Mary Full of Grace mumble With Thee should I carry the powerbar and the beans or just the beans?  But the Blessed Mother figures that’s a personal problem I need to sort out for myself, apparently, and no answer echoes in my manic brain.  FLOP.  Adjust covers.  Nudge snorfing hubs.  Red digits burn into my retinas.  2:59…3:13…3:28…

I do know what we did in the times of BK (Before Keurig) – we had to wait at least 2-3 more minutes for the coffee.  In my early coffee years, even before the automatic pause feature where you could pull the pot out and the coffee kept brewing, dammed up in the filter for a minute while you poured (DO NOT forget to put the pot back on the burner … tiny tsunami of hot liquid coffee grounds spilling across the counter and dripping into the cupboards), I learned the tilt and pour, pouring coffee into the cup while it still brewed.  Yes, you burned a few fingers but what is that compared to waiting two more minutes for coffee?

I did spend several very enjoyable minutes thinking about dinner at Vanelli’s tonight.  Particularly the meatballs.  I may order extra to take home.  With the Traitors firmly ensconced in Brooklyn and Chitown there’s no one to eat them all and leave the empty container in the refrigerator to be discovered later by a very disillusioned mother.

And speaking of meatballs – or any food – how can my stomach possibly be growling hungry at 4am?  If I did the math correctly – and there is always that – but I did use a calculator, which is always fun because when Mo hears it he comes tearing into the room and leaps on the desk, absolutely enthralled with the paper rolling out as I add, biting at it, filing it with little holes like an old punch card – if I did the math right I took in 1,635 calories in carbs alone yesterday.  This does not include the actual sandwich part of the club with ham, turkey, roast beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, peppers, spinach and mayo (LITE) (because LITE is lighter that LIGHT) or the ham, turkey, cheese, mayo and pickles of the cuban, or the meatballs, sauce and cheese on the spaghetti, all of which is just making me hungrier.

Probably all the hyped up nervous leg jiggling is burning hundreds of calories.

I really am pretty excited.  Don’t you just love it all?  I’m thinking of tomorrow morning, standing in the Mississippi countryside in the dark which somehow makes sounds crisper, the shuffling of feet, beeping of Garmins, nervous laughter, inside jokes, and suddenly it’s time – the start sounds and off you move, one of many, united and yet each on their own journey, fighting their own good fight.

I was greeted in my inbox this morning by a friend who shared this article:  http://triathlon.competitor.com/2013/05/training/chris-mccormack-embrace-the-suck_76419.  I loved this:  “I realized that no matter how much I loved racing or how hard I trained, at some point a race is going to really suck. It is how I reacted to this moment that determined everything.”

And don’t you think that as a runner – and I know not everyone who reads my blog is a runner but it’s likely that at least one of the two of you are – don’t you think that through running you’ve learned more about life and yourself than you have about running?

I’ve learned that there is always a finish line.  You keep moving past the finish line, but there is a finish line.  My brother’s death was a finish line.  A finish line that fell down out of the sky and knocked me flat on my back in the middle of the race.

So how do you expect me to live alone with just me
‘Cause my world revolves around you It’s so hard for me to breathe
No air, air
No air, air
No air, air
No air, air
No more
It’s no air, no air
(With thanks to Jordan Sparks)

But you can’t keep lying there.  You can stop along the way, yes.  But you can’t stay stopped because eventually while you stand there in the middle of the event, stopped, they will start taking down the course and the water stops and the cones and cars are free to roam the streets where you stand and your family is at the finish line, waiting for you to arrive, to be there for you, and then move past that line with you.

And there is not just one finish line throughout your life, you have many more to cross until you hit the final one; you’d better learn something every time you get to one or you will just have to repeat that race.

I’ve learned that there are many friends, but there are not so many Friends.  The ones who help you find a foreclosed house so you can use the backyard as your personal porta-john, that feel your pain, irritation and embarrassment, and can still laugh at you until you are both crying, crying-laughing in the middle of the street until you can’t stand up.  And who also understand you do turn the Garmin off because that doesn’t count on the mileage.  Friends who didn’t get to do that run but will have you crying-laughing again in the retelling.  Friends who get the texts, the crazy I’ve-lost-my-mind messages, the FB posts and offer to join your run even though it’s not on their plan, because they know expletives mean you’re heading over the edge.  Friends that give you the remains of their Gatorade and run the last mile dry themselves, who completely understand that a Ride 5 and a Ride 6 are a continent apart the week before your race.  Friends who live far away and helped you across other Finish Lines, still as near as your heart.  Friends nearby but time gets in the way and months pass before you get together – but those months are nothing when you meet again, you are where you always were; you could go a year without seeing them and call at midnight for help and they would be there.

I’ve learned that you can hit the wall – in life or in the race – and while time seems to stand still, washing you in a shower of drenching, breath-taking, all-encompassing pain, you don’t die, no matter how much you might wish to at that moment.  I’ve learned that you may as well quit standing there and take a step forward.

I’ve learned that you have to look up, not down.  I still look down a lot.  I like to think I’m looking up more but I know there are days I spend only watching my feet shuffle.  This is why I cannot be a runner without races.  I need a goal.  I need a plan.  I need the easy days and the hills and the tempos and the long runs, the rest days.  I need the time alone, running, seeing that mama deer and her twins, and I need the run with a friend while mama and the twins look on.  I spend time looking at the road passing beneath my feet, and I look up at the tops of the trees and the sky.  You can’t spend all your time doing only one of those – you will run into something, or you will trip and fall.

We need it all.  The good and the bad, the joyous and the solar plexus blow.  If you are not a “runner” you are still running the race and I commend you, fellow runner, and thank you, my Friends, for running the race with me. Read more…

Taper week

exploding-head-zone

It’s finally here:  Taper week.  Running less.  Eating more.

And – I’m pretty Zen.

You both know that’s not my style.  Hubs mostly looks a bit shell shocked and walks carefully through the house.  He never completely turns his back, circling around me in an arc, always maintaining some eye contact.  I do not know what that is about, since I’m so Zen right now.

And – it doesn’t make me feel like punching him.

Well, actually, it does.  But — I didn’t…

The Munkmeister and her faithful follower Mo decided the perfect place for a game of tag was my bed.  With me in it.  At 1am, and 2am, and 3am…

And – I didn’t yell cuss words at them.  Much.

I do have a twitch in my knee.  Like, sort of achy.  A twinge.  In my knee, in case you didn’t get that.

And – my nose is drippy.  I could be getting a cold.  I had to blow it once this morning.  Not much, just a bit, but still, it’s a bit runny.  It could be a cold.  I felt a bit warm so I took my temperature.  It’s normal, although that thermometer is kind of old so it could be losing degrees.

I went to get the new pair of shoes that I always have waiting in the closet and realized – I don’t have a newest pair of shoes.  Right after I realized the pair I’m in now are completely worn past the sole on the outer edge.

And – that’s fine.  It’s fine.  Really just fine.  It’s fine.

So I got a new pair yesterday.  Guess what?  They’ve changed.  Now it’s version 6.  I’ve done all my training in 5.  I wore them all day yesterday.  I hate them.

Hey – it’s OK.  I found a pair of the 5’s on Amazon, they arrive today.  And the expedited one-day delivery fee was $3.99.  So that’s a good sign, right?  Say:  YES, that’s RIGHT Terri!

I don’t know why I keep burping.  I think I have some indigestion.  Perhaps a stomach issue.  I hope I don’t get a stomach bug.  My friend went to a Flags over Roller Coasters and she got a parasite – the gift that keeps on giving.  I mean, there’s just no way of knowing.  One minute you’re playing at an amusement park and the next minute you are on first-name basis with Sue at the CDC.  Anything could happen.  I grew up in Arizona.  There’s a huge meteor crater there.   Those Russians sure believe in the possibility of being hit with a meteor now, don’t they?

No, hey – it’s fine.  I just googled it.  http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/02/asteroid-odds/  “Your odds of getting killed by a meteorite are roughly 1 in 250,000. You are far more likely to die in an earthquake, tornado, flood, airplane crash, or car crash (but less likely to be killed by lightning).”

Memphis is on the New Madrid fault line.  That sucker is gonna blow someday you know.  At least I’m not planning to fly anywhere between now and Sunday.  Anyway, Delta does Memphis so well now that there aren’t many flights left to worry over.  See?  That’s good!

I love this event’s race shirt.  I sure hope it fits.  I don’t think they allow shirt exchanges.  I’m going to be so disappointed if I can’t wear my shirt after the race.

I can’t decide if I want to go to Ihop or Subway after the race.  But what if I don’t finish the race?  I’ll be forced to go to McD’s to shame myself.  And I couldn’t wear the shirt either.  Can’t wear a shirt you didn’t earn.

No, wait.  That would be good then, right?  Because I know the shirt is not going to fit anyway.  Stupid damn shirt.  I didn’t really like it that much.

I just had my stupid bagel which I’m getting pretty tired of bagels for breakfast, but I did, I had it.  Stupid bagel.  I think the baby is moving.  I’ve named the baby Carbetta.  My little carb baby.  Who knew a person could burp that much?  And I do not understand why a cat should get insulted by my burping.  Have they smelled their litter box?  And if we’re going to talk about manners I’ve seen where you lick, little girl, all huffy with your tail twitching.

I guess I need to get some work done.  It’s hard to concentrate on work when you are as relaxed as I am.  I’m just sitting here, all relaxed even though my race shirt sucks and I can’t wear it because it’s too bigsmall and I DNF’d the race next Sunday because of my damn shoes, so I’m not in the mood to read your whiny email about your car getting stolen with your purse in it and all your ID and you need a new member card.

You are ruining my Zen.

If I only had a brain, Part 2

#crazynutjobrunner

So the alarm went off at 4:40 am and while I can’t express how happy I am to be training for another marathon, I’ve definitely hit That Point in the process.  I despise the marimba ring tone of my iPhone alarm.   Apple needs a ring tone that says, “Ok, then, sorry about this, but you’re the one who set the alarm, not me, and now you need to get up.”  Preferably Mr. Roger’s voice; there  is no way I could say “eff you, Mr. Rogers.”  I have a Pavlovian reaction to the ring; cringing, heart pounding, slammed out of a deep sleep by the marimba.  Thank God for some multi-flavored chemical laden, artificially sweetened and creamed K-cup steaming in my coffee cup; I’m up but basically making my way through the house by bouncing from one wall to the other in a (mainly) forward direction.

I have also definitely hit the point in marathon training where Taco Bell Fourth Meal happens about 12-1pm as opposed to the midnight-1am (younger!) crowd the campaign originally targeted.  The other day I had lasagna at 9am after already having breakfast.  I did at least warm it but then stood at the counter eating it directly from the casserole.  NOMNOMNOM. Yesterday:  breakfast followed by a cranberry bagel with egg and bacon (yes), then a really lousy salad followed by a nap which was celebrated by death by chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce and caramel followed by another nap. I made dinner at 4pm.  Then what do you do?  It’s 4:30, you’ve slept for two hours, you’ve eaten five times, you’re too tired to fold laundry and you still have daylight remaining, and after about three hours of Yard Crashers you’ve pretty much seen the best TV has to offer.   I’m thinking I may pay for HBO since I’m never going to finish reading Game of Thrones.

And you both know that Brain 1 and Brain 2 are of no help whatsoever.
brain one and brain two

The other day while scarfing down one of my multitudinous meals I was reading Runner’s World.  Sometimes I read the newspaper, it depends.  It depends mostly on how much I feel like screaming.  Reading the newspaper is like taking algebra so you can grow up and work from home typing stuff; you know it’s good for you for some reason but you don’t actually ever apply it in your life and it makes you feel like screaming the entire time you’re doing it.  I always read the editorial section first, it’s like eating all the Brussels sprouts first so you can have the meatloaf second and enjoy it while also getting that awful taste out of your mouth.  Plus when I read the paper I yell, making the cats run away and causing Murphy to skulk guiltily.  Anyway, I was reading Runner’s World which is nothing like eating Brussels sprouts, it’s more like Three Guys Pizza Pies.  And also it doesn’t cause me to yell, making all the animals happier.

In this article (Beyond the Mantra by Michelle Hamilton, May, 2012 issue, I cannot find a link, sorry) the author visited with a sports psychologist and implemented his suggestions in her running.  It’s taken me about 98% of my life to truly understand that what drives everything in life is not what is happening to and around me, but how/what I think about it.  The Brain.  That little wrinkled up thing in our heads drives everything.  We ‘think’ what’s wrong is that our leg hurts, or the boss is an ass (which, none of my 15 bosses is an ass, let us be clear on this) or that our spouse cannot see the dishwasher which is apparently invisible.   Then we feel like screaming after 20+ years of seeing their dirty dishes in the sink TWO FEET FROM THE DISHWASHER (meanwhile the poor spouse just wants to avoid putting dishes in the dishwasher which may – or may not – have clean dishes in it; he doesn’t know and can’t figure out, since this is a secret hidden from men from the beginning of time.  He knows if he puts dirty ones in with the clean he will get The Look and The Sigh.  His brain is screaming, DON’T MESS IT UP!!  I CAN’T NOT MESS IT UP!!  IT’S A TRAP!)

Not that I’m upset about the empty dishwasher and the full sink.

Basically, as the author notes and as my counselor noted, you think: you live.  Talking to my counselor was the first time I heard the word catastrophizer.  I thought she’d made it up just for me, but I found it later in a book.  You can look it up, it’s a personality subself.  If it can go wrong it will.  Spectacularly.  If it can’t go wrong it still will. Or it could.  So we’d better think about every possible outcome to every possible situation.

3:45 am Brain 1: OMG OMG OMG.  No, wait, it’s just the effing alarm, nothing is on fire.

3:45:01am Brain 1: OMG OMG OMG is it raining???

3:45:02am Brain 2: OhhhEmmmGeee.  So what if it is, we’ll get wet?

3:45:03am Brain 1:  We could get CHAFED

3:45:04am Brain 2:  Yes, that has certainly never happened.

3:45:05am Brain 1:  We won’t be able to see the Garmin clearly!  Our glasses will fog!

3:45:06am Brain 2:  Ok, you’re right.  We’ve definitely got a world crisis here.

It’s the words you think.  For so much of my life I tried to change the way I felt.  I’m so sad because I can’t go to the party (don’t feel sad!  don’t feel sad!).  I’m so mad because that email was mean (quit being mad!  quit being mad!) You can’t.  It’s like slamming your finger in the door.  Don’t hurt, finger!  Don’t hurt, finger!  How about, “Rats, that hurts.  Need to get some ice.”

This morning I realized that I still doubt myself.  I still doubt I’ll get the marathon done.  My friend Elizabeth asked why I would worry about that.  She said if nothing else, you’ll walk it in.  And it occurred to me that I didn’t actually think of that as an option – but of course it is.  Somewhere in my brain I either finish the marathon or … what?  Teleport back to the car?  Get caught up to Oz?  Life instantly ends?  It’s like, in my mind, there is a marathon stretching out on a road with a finish line, and I either reach the finish line or fall off the road into oblivion.  Maybe I end up wherever the Coyote ended up when he fell off the cliffs, I’m not sure.  I’ve already talked with my coach and we have my A, B and C plans, none of which have either the teleportation or falling off cliff option listed.

Think about it.  Spend a day listening to what you say in your mind.  How many things do you think you’ve missed or not tried because you talked yourself out of them before you could even start?  I’m starting that marathon, and I’m finishing it.  No matter what Brain 1 and Brain 2 think.

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