Friday, March 29, 2013

Great Expectations

"expectations are merely premeditated disappointments" --Wendy Silvers
to prepare for spring one must first:
detect fever, hear cough, look at sunken eyes
spend several hours at the pediatricians office
travel cross town to find the last remaining boxes of Tamiflu because "flu season is over"
fork over 120 bucks to cover all three kiddos just in case
pump her full of fluids and donuts (all she'd eat--don't judge)
pile on blankets, hand over remote
disinfect, disinfect, disinfect
chisel away at the ten loads of laundry that appeared overnight
work from home
[6 miles, 52:49, 8:48 ave pace, trail loop around the house]
make dinner
just. keep. moving.
8:30 pm, collapse

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Didn't Throw Up

A favorite seventy-something year-old friend likes to remind us (whenever we get fed up with current circumstances) that all we have to do is wait five minutes and things will change.
We know this to be true about the weather of late.  These photos mark a time lapse of 48 hours. Okay, so that's longer than five minutes.
It is Spring.  Time for change, growth, renewal, waking up. I'm following it's lead this year and waking up too. 
After proclaiming I had no plans to run any races this year or ever I have already signed up for two.  If you've been following along at all you know this is a first.  I've adopted a singular focus on running with mountain biking and slacklining as offshoots because I can't run every day or maybe I'm just crazy.  I even swam laps Monday for the first time in over 20 years.  I think that makes three times in my whole life I've ever swam laps. 

I'm spurned on by stories of people much older than me who can run much, much faster and farther.  It makes me want to go faster and farther too.
So with a little help from a book on loan from Clair (thank you again), I've started actual training without telling you.
I'm up to eleven miles at a 9:36 average pace.  Tuesday I did some speed work (interval training from the book) and warmed up for a little over a mile, 9:22 pace, then ran 3 miles fast with rest in between to sputter, gasp for air and regain feeling in my legs (7:22 mins; 7:20; 7:18) and then cooled down with a 9 min mile. 
I could have sworn I went slower with every mile but I blame that on a side effect of perceived effort.  Running is hardest when I want to quit.  And when it's hard.
All this is to say that with a bit of focused effort things can change.  I never ran like this before, maybe because I had no idea it was possible.  I've still got nothing on this guy.  He was amazing. 
My theory is there's something in the shoes (Clif ran in wellies), and this all may change come race day.  In my many years of playing tennis I practically perfected the choke.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

People Get Ready

This isn't about running but it is.  It isn't about icing the homemade cookie cake with the homemade icing and exploding Ziploc bags (they made me do it) to get ready for the birthday party.  It isn't about lacing up my shoes or carb loading, pre-hydrating or plotting the perfect route.  It isn't about sending out invitations.  The minutia of my daily life isn't worth the print because you probably don't care.  Especially if you're not a runner or a mother.
I write best when I run, so I think.  I am eloquent, have earth-shattering thoughts and get goosebumpy with ideas.  Maybe it's the oxygen, the surging brain juices and electricity.  Perhaps I'm delusional.  Because when it's all over and I sit in front of the computer to type, my hands hover as if frozen above the keyboard and my mind is barren as a desert.
But the theme from yesterday's long run was preparation.  That much I remember.  Whatever I did to prepare was just the right mix to ensure a favorable outcome.  It reminds me of a favorite song.  A classic.  Goosebumpy.
Yesterday was the kind of day I'd been waiting for, anticipating.  Years ago when I thought my life couldn't have gotten any worse (but surely it could have) I knew there'd be sunnier days ahead if I'd just persevere.  Now those days are here and I wonder how things could get any better (but surely they will).  I realized in one moment that joy is the best preparation for sadness, sadness the necessary curriculum for joy.  Today, I will take them both.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


I was grumpy last week. I hate being grumpy because it makes me more grumpy.
So I reminded myself how good I've got it.  I read stories of inspiration, here and here. I ran with my son.  I ran through the winter wheat that's such a shocking bright green against the blue sky that I not  only see life, I feel it.  I ran a faster than normal 10 extremely hilly miles past picture perfect equestrian farms all alone and pushed myself when I wanted to quit to see if I would and didn't. I made lemon scones for my daughters and popcorn the old-fashioned way and wondered why I EVER quit.
In the end I realized I have nothing but a bunch of FWPs (first world problems) that aren't even problems at all.  And the next time I'm grumpy I get to do it all over again.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It Must be the Shoes

Please don't think too hard about what I might be saying in this picture.  Obstacles on mountain bike are still a new phenomenon, well not new, getting over them without crashing is what's new.  I swear it's not me, it's the shoes.
These shoes.  They are not beautiful, they're functional, they keep me on my bike (clipped in, had to buy new pedals too) and completely change my mountain biking experience for the better.  I can pedal while flying over roots and up steep, twisty switchbacks instead of trying for dear life to keep my feet glued to my pedals and failing.  They work.   
So did these, all seven or eight pair or how ever many I bought before they discontinued the model.  I'm having a hard time parting with them but when the toe turns black it's time for new shoes.  I ran a total of five times or 32 miles in the ones below and they KILL my feet.  My last nine mile run hurt from the first step to the last and I knew they had to go, it was getting worse not better.  I just look at them now and feel pain.
So, after much research and a few more coupons I'm branching out.  These had better work or my husband might start giving me sideways glances about all these shoes.  Really, this is not like me.
I guess it's my version of the nice dress.  I'd much rather spend money on the stuff that gets me outside pursuing some sort of physical challenge like the Marl Ravine Trail at York River State Park instead of wearing makeup and being fancy.  Man, what a fun day.  But that's just me.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Last Hurrah

I looked in the mirror this morning as I dryed my hair and thought, where did winter go? 
Clearly it didn't go anywhere.  It's right outside my window.  But January, February...poof!  Gone.  March, how funny you are with sunny, sixty degree days interspersed with this season's only true snowstorm, and thunder-snow at that.  What a mid-week treat.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Adult Diapers

I wasn't ready for adult diapers until Saturday. I hit the trails again for a blood-pumping two hours, pedaling through the cold, from the cold with my new best friend, a mountain biking game changer. Strangely they reminded me of work. There was the diaper factor, the wheelchair cushion-like gel.  Luckily I was using them to run into trees, derail my chain, hop over logs, avoid the dreaded endo instead of the alternative and by the time it was over I could hardly think straight. My thighs burned, my stomach wanted ALL FOOD IN SIGHT and my brain was toast. Nothing does me in more than mountain biking and this girl pushes me. She says she's out of shape and if that's the case then so am I!
To avoid wuss-dom and live up to my new motto that "I can do what I put my mind to" I kept my commitment to run eight miles with Mimi on Sunday.  I'm enjoying the outcome if I decide to just go for it, to see if I can take it, so go for it I did.  I may have had a close call with a passer by while relieving myself roadside (if I'd been wearing real diapers they'd have come in handy) and a few stray cattle on the road but I plodded along the country miles and felt new strength and a new blister.
Surprisingly I haven't yet crumbled into a pile of whining bones.  I've lost a toenail, my pants are getting tighter and I'm slowly learning how to train and eat and fit it all in.  But for someone who once thought three miles of running was her limit I'm proof you just never know what you can accomplish until you try.    
Lately motivation has come from thinking of the alternative to health and being overwhelmingly grateful for what I have.  That I can run and bike at all seems catalyst enough to brave the cold, to slough off the pull of lazy.  I recall other types of pain and realize that losing a toenail is nothing in comparison so I keep going.  There will be time enough for diapers of another sort but for now I am on one hand running from that day and on the other more than content to pause here and ride these for all they're worth.