Sunday, May 27, 2007

Redemption Rising

Last weekend's race was a hard pill for me to swallow. I felt like an impostor. The time itself has had less of an effect on me than the feeling that seeped in to every nook and cranny of my willpower. Questioning my goals as far as running goes has felt a little foreign to me. I look back over my running log for the past years and I really do wonder if I struggled as much mentally with it as I do now. But who knows...I'm really sick of examining the autopsy of my drive and determination. Shit, if it feels that way then what am I saying? Is it dead and I'm just the grieving widow who refuses to accept the passing of such an important part of life? Fuck it. I honestly don't care at this moment.

I logged a whopping 15 miles this week. Today's run that was supposed to be 13 (in order to flush the bad aftertaste of last week out of my mouth) turned out to be just 5. I ran with my sister which was nice.

Hopefully my motivation is only mostly dead...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Vegas and the Joys of Body Glide!

Ahhhh! The Vegas Strip! I've been there a few times before. I don't go to gamble. I don't know how and I get too bored sitting at the slots. Anyway, I went West for a small trip with my daughter. In the months during the planning stages, it was imperative that, wherever we stayed, I would have to have a treadmill...I have miles to accumulate! Well, all the major resorts have workout facilities/spas, including Planet Hollywood, where we ended up staying.

But now I must digress....Have you ever walked the strip?? "Just one hotel over", "right passed the Mirage", "...cross the street and go down a block..." is pretty much the normal direction one gets when one asks "How do I get to..." Well, every resort/hotel is not "just one hotel over" and "right passed the Mirage" is actually much farther away when you put foot to sidewalk and "go down a block"???? Ugh!! One of the others we were with wore a pedometer. On day one we logged 12,456 steps. Day two was less, as we took an off-road tour to the Grand Canyon (truly magnificent, by the way) with 9,024 steps. Day three...woohoooo!! 15,218!!!! Day four, we were down to 13,877!! Ahh, lets go back to day three....

Day three I woke up and knew I had to hit it!! Out to the spa for some milage. As I was getting, dressed, though, I kept going to the window, looking down on the strip. Looks pretty quiet at 6:56 in the morning. Hey! I see a runner! Hey!! I see another!! That's it...who needs a treadmill? I have some great, flashy scenery waiting for me, so off I went. The day was warm already, just over 80 degrees, but no humidity. Streets were relatively quiet, but lots of runners and walkers. I could tell the midwest runners from the coast runners, by the way....we all smiled at each other and said "good morning" or "hi". The others wouldn't dare to make eye contact!
<----------Yes, I've used this pic before...still haunted by steps!
When you run or walk the strip, to cross the major roads you can take the escalator, or the steps. I took the steps whether I was walking or running. While I was running, I ascended or descended 16 sets of stairs. Does anyone know how translate that into miles?? My run was only a 3.24 mile run, based on mapping it. But, boy! I'd love to work those steps in! When I was running up the stairs in front of Caesar's Palace, a worker was on the escaltor, wiping down the glass and handrails. He didn't seem to friendly looking, but when we made eye contact I blurted out with a grin..."too many steps in this city!" He grinned back. It was a warm, friendly grin. He spoke out, "Don't give up! You can do it!" Well, that was certainly enough for me!! I didn't give up and did it!! Encouragement can come when you least expect it and I ALWAYS welcome it!!!

So...lets go to the math of day three....3.24 miles running + 15,218 steps = well, it equals blisters! lol!! But I loved earning every single blister that day!

Speaking of blisters, I must now sing the praises of "Body Glide", which protected my skin during the Cleveland 10k.....
La La La La Laaaaaaa! I love Body Glide!!!! La La La La Laaaaaaa! It makes my skin not fried!!!! La La La La BODY GLIIIIIIIIIIDE!!!!

I think if you are a runner, you know EXACTLY what I am talking about!! ; )

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sugar Coated Disappointment

I planned accordingly. I went to great lengths to ensure a personal record (PR) for the Cleveland Half Marathon. But in all honesty, when push came to shove...I tipped over. I laid down. I gave in too easily. I could try and come up with a myriad of reasons for why I failed at my attempt at a 1 hour 48 minute finish. Fuck, I could make you graphs and outlines on why my engine simply idled instead of gunning. But to do so only scrapes the scab off of this failure. It makes for a very long race when you hit mile marker 3 and realize you got nuthin. That makes for a long remainder 10 miles. Those miles stretched into light years and illuminated my personal sense of defeat.

I know what others will fact I've been hit with the barrage of well intentioned, "you'll get 'em next time kiddo" or "hey, at least you finished" or my personal favorite "you can't expect to PR every race" enough in the last two days to mistakenly inflate my sense of accomplishment. But as much as I truly do love the people who are attempting to assuage my self inflicted punishment, I'd like them to stop. Every time you look at me with those earnest, doe eyes and rainbow covered antidotes you are in fact insulting what I am about.

I know that sounds harsh and I know the particular people who will read this and take offense so let me be really clear... I love you all and I appreciate that your intent is to make me feel better. If I had truly tried my absolute 110% best then I would welcome your comments, shit I think I'd lavish in them but since I feel a sense of let down to myself, I can't help but feel a little nauseous every time someone tries to make me feel better because I don't think I deserve that for this race. I could not embrace the concept of gutting through this race. And the fact that I just typed that sentence knowing full well that in order to "gut" something out you essentially should be in some sort of pain, some sort of panic inducing state~which I was not in. I wasn't hurting, I was just weak in drive and determination. I'm not taking away the fact that I completed this race; for that fact alone I'm proud of myself. I'm not as delusional as some of you may want to believe I am. So many (yeah like I have that many readers) will read this and assume that running isn't fun for me, that I've taken the joy out of it. But it's just the opposite. I'm an extremist in every sense of the highs reach the clouds and my lows threaten to pull me under and drown me. But I like this part of me. It makes me feel eternally honest with myself. I sucked some major ass with this race-plain and simple. High expectations are the key to everything and unfortunately I had put mine to bed around mile marker 3.

Way to go to all my friends who ran their hardest. There's honor in that fact. There are still some highlights that George and my mom captured. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It's a Thin Line

I'm so fickle about the weather. When it's cold, I find complaints. When it's hot, my complaints get huffy and full of hot air. Today was the warmest it's been for one of my runs in well over a year-you figure I hurt myself in May of last year so I was spared the hell of running in hell inspired temperatures (although that part of it was kind of unappreciated at the time). Anyway, the degrees on the thermometer seemed to rise in sync with my ever mounting intimidation of the half marathon this weekend. I know I can cover the distance but I keep vacillating between just going to run my best or to focus on getting a PR. I've been having this conversation with friends and I always sprinkle this topic with a smile and a nod to the fact that "I'll just be happy to finish" even though on the inside that little girl who is craving competition and recognition (albeit from the small circle of people who make up my life) is kicking so hard against that lowered expectation of myself. So you see, I'm not sure where Dr. Jekyll ends and Mr. Hyde begins.

Fast forward to I sit at my computer, completely finished with my inferno run from earlier. Nothing is as inspiring as a finished mile (or 2 or 4 or just pick your poison). I'm not religious nor would I even consider myself spiritual so sometimes that inspired feeling creeps up on me, takes me by surprise and makes me wonder if I'm going soft. After a run is when you should make your move, make your plans...because nothing is as scary once you've conquered the first battle of the war. I'm determined to progress back to where I was when I got hurt. I'll run this half marathon and compete solely against myself. And come hell or high water, I will run Boston in the next two years...the idea is so infectious...I found this video and I had to put it in-if you're not a runner I'm very sorry if it's boring to you...feel free not to watch it for fear of being bitten by the bug that has now wormed its way into so many parts of my life.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Disdain, Party of 1...Your table is ready

It was days like today that made me never want to run again. How in god's name did I ever run 26.2 miles? Chalk this up to another bad run for the week. I guess I can only get a two week reprieve from bad workouts at a time. It should have been good-my sister, my dad and Pier were all there running too. George even came along to snap some pictures. But to no avail. Now I know my friends think I'm too hard on myself when it comes to expectations but that's honestly not what's going on here. Let me say this first-I had 10 miles to log and I did it. End of story. Oh, aren't I proud?

So when I rant and rave, don't take it as anything other than my pure disdain for the reality of what actually occurred during this particular workout. I thought I'd be smart and take my speedwork out in the sun instead of being stuck on the little torture device in my basement that most people refer to as a treadmill. Pier had to get in a few miles and lives close to the track so she decided to go as well. My sister also wanted to run 5 miles so she opted for a change of scenery and came along too. And my dad, being the giver that he is, sacrificed a full run so he could time my splits for the speedwork portion of my run. During my recovery periods he jogged with me...all the while ignoring the f bombs that were exploding out of my mouth at every turn of the track. I know very well that I probably shouldn't swear so much in front of my parents but after knowing me for all my 31 years, I think they both have settled on the fact that those words are as much a part of my personality as my drive and determination are. The flip side of passion unfortunately can be ugly and rash and not always appropriate.

After 5 miles on the track, I just couldn't take it any longer. Misery had it's noose around my neck and was threatening to kick the chair away so I opted to finish out my last 5 miles at the park-which was also awful but that was just par for the course I guess. Once I got home and showered I called my dad to let him know what the outcome of the last part of my workout was. Right before I got off the phone with him I asked if I was too bitchy earlier. He just chuckled and said "No you weren't TOO bitchy, you were just bitchy."

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Broken Down

I had no expectations and I surely had no specific hopes for this run. Well, except that I always hope to not be miserable. Besides the fact that I had a lovely amount of dental work done this morning and my jaw was still feeling as though someone had sucker punched me, I just wanted this to be an easy 6 miles that I could record. As I started running one of two things either happened. 1. one of my enemies successfully put together a voodoo doll of me and decided at that moment to stick as many pins as they could into my legs or 2. someone was running an inverted dog collar with the spikes dipped in burning acid up and down my lower extremities. Whichever it was, it hurt like hell and I wasn't pleased.

As I reached mile marker three I realized that my legs no longer had the sharp, stabbing, burning pain in them which was a plus however, it was at this point that I realized everything on my lower half was just kinda numb. Hhmm, maybe my waistband that had been threatening me earlier had in fact, finally cut off the circulation to my legs. My breathing was fine, I wasn't working overly hard but my legs just felt, well, not totally into it. Think of those hookers you see in movies. No, not the cute likable ones like Julia Roberts. The ones that have too many miles on them. The ones who stand before their last john of the night with flattened bed head hair, a cigarette hanging outta their mouth and a cold sore the size of Asia perched unceremoniously on their lower lip all the while reassuring the forlorn, over sexed, underutilized guy that sure, they want it. She'll go through the motions, hell, she'll even finish him off but that's all it is...a robotic, auto pilot series of unglamorous moves. That's how my run felt. My legs were moving, my feet were carrying me one step at a time but there was nothing sexy or poetic about it. In fact, my legs just felt dead. That run was as fast as that hooker would be wet.