Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Flats

Yesterday was cold, man. 19 degrees when I headed out with 30 mph winds gusting to 40. No one wanted to run outside with me (not that they're wusses, they just had other plans). But, the sun was blazing in the bright winter sky and I was consumed by this strange winter optimism and I charged on in my blue fleece and blue polyester hat undeterred.

The only place for a lone female to run in downtown Cleveland on a cold windy day is the Flats. That's it. On a non-windy day I could run along the shoreway, but the problem is it's an out and back, coming back due west, and in the winter almost always straight into a nasty headwind. I don't like headwinds, especially not 3 miles of continuous headwind. Any other routes are either full of traffic, bum havens, or through pj's. So, I hit the Flats.

If you're not familiar with Cleveland, the Flats have an interesting significance. At one point (actually at a few points) they were the land surrounding the burning Cuyahoga river. At some point in the 80's, in between the quarries, the harbors, the bridges, the barges, and the post-industrial brown fields, clubs and bars sprouted. During my late childhood and adolescence the Flats were where grown-ups went to party like Jimmy Buffet. Some would dock their boats along the banks next to Shooters on the Westbank or the Beach Club on the Eastbank and create their own private Margaritaville.

When I was in high school and early college the cool kids went to places like Smart Bar and Metropolis (later called Trilogy and now Metropolis again). Once, during the summer of 1995 I think, I was at Trilogy on a Sunday night (THE day to go) and Marilyn Manson was sitting next to me and I made fun of him with my friends. At the height of it's popularity it boasted at least 4 "upscale" strip joints, and chains like TGIFridays, Joe's Crab Shack, Fado, and my personal fave, Hooters. On a Friday or Saturday night, there were guys hocking gyros on every corner catering to the poor hungry drunken frat boys stumbling out of the really cheesy clubs like one called the Basement.

But then, things got ugly. A new entertainment district popped up the hill in the Warehouse District. So, first all the cool people migrated up there and places like the Smart Bar folded or like Metropolis/Trilogy changed their focus. That left the Jimmy Buffetites and the frat boys, et al down in the Flats. Then one summer there were multiple incidents involving frat boys drowning in the river. The city cracked down and put barriers along the river preventing the Jimmy Buffetites from docking and partying. So with one fell swoop, the frat boys and the Jimmy Buffetites left the Flats too. Soon, Joe's Crab Shack was empty and dilapidated. The Basement couldn't attract anyone but underage hussies and roaches and eventually folded under the crush of citations. Shooters is still there. I'm really not sure why.

This brings us to yesterday. I took off from my office and after five minutes or so I made my decent into the wind, the sparkly salt crunching under my feet as I went. At the end of this stretch lay the remains of a club called Spinakers or something. It's a decaying mess of white and fuscia and purple. I make the turn and next to Spinakers along the river lay nothing. Developers have cleared out a swath of former clubs and restaurants: Max and Erma's, Joe's Crab Shack, Fado. Across the street is the Hustler Club next to a boarded up place last known as the House of Brews.

I continue on crunching away and squinting in the intense sun up over the rapid tracks (the City sadly installed an expensive rapid transit line through the Flats that opened just as the district met its demise) and headed for the Westbank. I pass the former Smart Bar and cross the red swing bridge. I run down the middle of the road because I almost never see a car. I pass the Powerhouse that used to house TGIFridays and a bunch of other wildly popular stuff. I head on down and turn just past a bunch of giant industrial tanks of something on one side of the street and Metropolis Night Club on the other which looks a lot smaller than I remember it. I make a turn onto a heavily traveled truck route and now the wind is really fierce. Perhaps because of the truck traffic there is so much salt on the roads that it's almost like I'm running on a limestone trail and the wind is whipping it into salt devils like the ones you see on a PBS show about a desert.

My lips are cracking now and when I lick them I taste salt. That's kind of gross, but almost cool in a way. I run past big trucks and wonder whether the drivers are protective or predatory. I cross the street and ascend a very decent hill along a hopeful newly built condominium complex next to a bridge. As I finally make it to the top, lips still burning and still tasting salty, I come to St. Malachi's church, the host of a popular Cleveland 5 mile race and the savior to many of the cities poor and homeless. I run back down down down to the flats. And retrace my steps. It's the same thing really for three and a half more miles. I won't bore you with the details.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Back on the Train (thankfully not splattered on it)

I bit the bullet and contacted my old coach about training. Once you develop a good relationship with a coach, it's really hard to train on your own. But even more importantly, I'm trying to do something I have no familiarity with: train for something other than a marathon. And I honestly really miss working with him. So, I'm happy to back on the old coach train.

Although he says I won't run the fastest possible times for myself off of 40-50 miles per week, I should still be able to make some big dents in my shorter race pr's. I'd love to get under 18 for the 5k, under 30 for the 5 mile and under 37:30 for the 10k, but that might be crazy talk. My goal race is the Rite Aid 10k and it's the farthest out (and on my birthday this year!) so I have the best chance of meeting my 10k goal I think. I was tempted to either not articulate goals or to give myself some softballs, but why not be a little ambitious. For whatever reason, the stakes feel lower for 5-10k's than for a marathon so what do I have to lose?

In other news, running continues to get better. On Sunday I ran long(ish) with my friend *E* all around a hilly neighborhood. By about mile 11 I was really feeling it! But we finished strong and even ran an extra 1/2 mile for the heck of it for 12.5 giving me a solid 44.5 miles on the week. I always like running with *E* because she's very experienced and very level-headed about running. She isn't overly competitive, yet she's very focused and motivated to improve. I always feel like I learn a lot when I run with her and I always leave feeling inspired to aim higher with my training.

Then today I did another fartlek with mrp. After a 16:00 warm up with mrp, which means I ran it at least 30 seconds per mile faster than I would have on my own, we made it to the infamous Hustler loop and proceeded to do a 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 4:00, 3:00, 2:00, 1:00 fartlek with 1/2 time rests. This was the best workout this year, yet. There is a long slight incline on this loop followed by a big dip back down over some rapid transit tracks and then it's flat past Hustler and then goes back up gradually. Today, there was a stiff headwind as we ran up, so it made the workout even harder than usual. But I tackled it no problem, never whined about the wind, and really just attacked each rep. Sometime in the middle of the first 2:00 rep, we had to cross the rapid tracks. Mrp was ahead of me a bit and dashed across just as the red lights started to blink signalling a train was coming. Of course, I was motivated to pick the pace up to try to make it too, but as I approached the gates were lower than my head so I had to duck as I was running hard and I looked over and I didn't have a whole lot of time to spare. That was probably stupid, but no harm no foul right?

Anyway, I was worried the 4 minute reps were going to be tough, and they were but I really found a groove in each and was able to relax and just cruise. I actually looked forward to the second and I mentally challenged myself to make it farther around the loop than the previous one. For the last one minute rep, mrp decided to make me finish up a hill. I was up for the challenge, so I pressed on the gas and flew around the corner and charged up a small hill to finish. Then I said what the heck and joined mrp for my cool down so again I ran that quite a bit faster than I would have on my own, even charging up a nasty hill. I haven't felt this motivated in a long long time. It feels good!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Talking to Myself

"Whatever happend to that whole pain thing you were talking about a few months ago?" you may have wondered. I dropped the lead balloon and seemingly forgot about it. But, I didn't.

No. It's definitely still there. The wedding made it acutely there and it turned out great and it was definitely a big step for me on my way to dealing with pain. The big stuff is easy, I'm finding. It's the everyday consequences of that fateful event in my life that insidiously hold me back. Just like a wounded veteran, I suffer from constant anxiety that bad things are going to happen to me. When your 31 year old parent can just die in such a gruesome and tragic way, what can't happen? The anxiety completely makes sense for the 11 year old me, but the 32 year old me has nothing to fear. Yet, I worry about the big stuff. What if we return to the great depression? What if I lose mrp? What if I lose my family or friends? And even worse, I worry about the minutia too. What if dinner turns out bad? What if this run sucks? What if there's hydrogenated oil in that? What if someone doesn't like this last post and thinks I'm dumb?

I actually expend energy constantly worrying about this small stuff. My brain is so used to expecting bad things happening that I see things that happen as bad even when they are just things that happen: when a workout doesn't go well it's not necessarily bad, it's just a workout that didn't go well or if I accidentally put cloves in the chili instead of chili powder it's not necessarily bad, it's just weird tasting chili (and it was). So what?

So, I'm at mile 19.5 in a marathon and I make a turn and bam the wind and bam a stitch. Such a bad horrible thing! Or is it? It's a stitch, a bodily response to the environment and itself. It doesn't mean there's something wrong with me. It doesn't mean anything other than it's a stitch. I am beginning to think that my low level anxiety, worrying that something like a stitch might happen, contributed to the very thing I was worryied might happen. The point is, putting a value on these valueless things and worrying about them so much does not guarantee a good outcome. In fact, the opposite is true.

Why don't I just relax then and quit all this worrying? Well, this may sound ridiculous but I honestly do not know how to relax. Since I've started working through the whole dad thing in therapy I have occasionally caught myself living in a moment and relaxing. I know I can do it, but worry is my default and relaxing is a very occasional, almost accidental occurrence. To replace the low level anxiety with relaxing as my default state takes a lot of work. Every time I have a worrisome thought I have to counter it. So when I think, "Oh god it's so cold out there that my run is going to suck," I have to consciously counter with, "you have had plenty of nice runs in the cold, you have the appropriate clothing, and you have no evidence that even if you feel cold that the run will suck." It is very tiring to have to do this all the time.

The good news is that it doesn't take a whole lot of time to see improvements. I've been doing this for just a couple of days now. I am really exhausted, but I feel much better and much more hopeful. I'm not on the edge of my seat as much. I don't instantaneously lash out at a driver who cuts me off. I am smiling more for no reason. I am appreciative of all the things I have and noticing what I don't less and less.

My spring plan of running shorter races will provide me a concrete area of my life to practice this new way of thinking. Of course, by default I worry that there's no way in hell I can run fast races right now on my puny mileage, but I am actually looking forward to racing and not worrying that I'll run a slow time or get beat by this or that person. Instead, whatever time I run is just the time I run. If I did my best, then great. If I screwed up, it'll be a lesson for next time. Hopefully with each race I'll get better and better about letting go and just running.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Undertraining

My plan has worked! All this outside running, hours of fresh air and winter sunshine each week, has really got me back in a good running groove. I have actually been looking forward to running lately. Although, today I almost stayed in to run a tempo on the tready but once I was changing in the fitness center and saw all my cozy winter gear I realized how silly that was and I put on the fleece and headed out for a fartlek instead. On my way out I even ran into mrp and convinced him to join me for old time's sake.

After an 18 minute warm-up on my own out there in the windy, snowy and frigid 18 degree air, I met mrp along a nice 1200ish meter loop in the now-desolate-except-for-the-Hustler-Club-and-some-other-gross-bar-that-refuses-to-cow-to-threats-of-eminent-domain Eastbank of the Cleveland Flats with slight uphills and downhills and not too tight turns. And then, around that loop we ran a fartlek ladder of sorts: 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 2:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 2:00, 1:00, 1:00 at (my) 10k effort with 1/2 time recoveries. I really liked the variety of the rep length. The 3:00 reps were relative bears, not just because they are longer but also because the rest in between the 3:00 reps and the ones before it were shorter too. Also, I like a little longer rep because I can get into a groove with the faster pace. With shorter reps, I feel sometimes like I just get comfortable and then it's time to stop. Another nice thing about them too is that the 3:00 reps made the other reps seem so short and the workout just flew by. And have I told you how much I love fartleks? It's just so nice not to feel pressure to hit a time target. You just run hard and go by feel. It's fun and relaxing for me and that's what running should be right about now.

And speaking of fun, I've been thinking about jumping in a 4 mile race when I'm in New York visiting my sister in a week and a half. I'm not in my best shape, but maybe I could put on a halfway decent performance on my halfway rested legs? And two weeks after that is a local 5k that I might just have to run too.

I am really not sure what to expect from myself off of this low mileage diet I'm on. I am feeling good the last couple of weeks and I am almost feeling confident that I can get in some speedy shape on my low mileage plan. I am skeptical and I suppose it's because since I've been seriously running, I've done nothing but train for marathons. In my mind, it's all about the mileage--run as much mileage as your body can take! But I'm sure there are other strategies. Do you guys think I can make a serious dent in my 5-10k pr's on just 40-45 miles per week? Any idea how to structure my training to do it?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Running the Run

OMG, y'all! Two weeks in a row of 40+ miles! (a little tribute to Go Fug Yourself's posts about Britney Spears. I generally don't like mocking the mentally ill, but this situation is so bizarre and disturbing that I appreciate a little light-hearted and witty commentary about the pathetic situation).

And in a fitting twist on my last post I am sitting here in my office buying some time waiting for the temperature outside to eek up a couple of degrees before heading out. In my defense it's 16 out there and today we're supposed to have a high of 24, so if I can even get up to 18 I'll be a little happier.

Also in my defense, I ran outside for all of my runs last week and two of those were in blizzards and one was in a -15 degree windchill (the shortest run of the week, but I still got out there!) And I even did a "long" run this week (10 miles-sad state when that's a long run, I know) and came home and whipped up and ate a delicious stack of hot off the griddle multi-grain pancakes with warm maple syrup and lots of butter with mrp as we watched the birds flock to our feeder and play in the snow. Mmmm. Really, I don't think there's much better than that!

Even so, I sit here dreading the 16 degrees and wondering how the heck I'm going to get out there again for all my runs this week. I guess that's why AA tells it's members to take it one day at a time. Taking it easy, I'm not sure I'm capable of, but one day at a time I think I can handle. So, I can get out there for 55 minutes or whatever and come in to my pb&j and a hot hot shower, but not in that order.

Since it's monday (no other reason) here's what I did last week:

I only ran with my watch twice this week and doing so was a nice change of pace. I just ran and enjoyed myself.

Mo: 7 miles around the Cleveland flats--no watch

Tu: 6 miles again around the flats with Daisy in a full-on blizzard--no watch

We: 7 miles including a 20 minute warm-up and then 8 x 2:00 pick-ups at CV effort with 1:00 recoveries. I wore the watch for this, obviously. I felt pretty good. Before my break I was doing 10 of these and 8 felt just right for now.

Th: Off. I had a lunch date and there was no way I was going to ruin the tone of the week with the treadmill.

Fr: 8 miles (7:58 pace). What a nice run this was. I had a doctor's appointment so I had a little extra time in the morining. I ran from my house and squeezed every last second of running I could spare. It's been a while since I felt so good to be running.

Sa: 10 miles with no watch. I just ran a really hilly 6 miles out to a park by our house and then the shorter 4 mile route home. I saw our resident bald eagle twice and had my second day of enjoyable relaxing running around our hood.

Su: 4.25 miles easy in a blizzard and cold temps on slushy streets. The roads would have been worse except the new mayor of our city lives around the corner from us. Of course, the other day as I was running by I saw him turn out of his street speeding in his giant SUV and talking on his cell phone, so the perks are limited.

Total: 42.25 wintery miles.

Ok, I'm going now. Geesh!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

An Ode to Winter Running (and Dollar Store Hats)

Me and winter running. Yeah, it's a love-hate relationship. I have been focusing a lot on what I hate:


- The treadmill

- Getting out the door in the damp dark coldness

- The skimpy daylight

- The diminishing availabilty of nice running surfaces: super sloppy, icy or completely snow covered trails particularly

- The diminishing availability of crappy running surfaces: as the snow increases even the sidewalks and berms start disappearing



We all know about those things. But there are some nice things about it too--really! And since there's no use fighting it, here are all my reasons for getting excited about winter running, even here in the lake-effect snow capital of the universe.


- Making the first footprints in newly fallen snow

- The quietness

- Feeling like a total badass for getting out there and putting in the run in a full-on nasty blizzard (right, Daisy
?)

- Seeing the snow twinkle on a sunny day

- Getting to wear your dollar store blue polyester knit hat and wear it proud

- Running by a fitness jogger wearing a parka, ski mask, and fleece tights in your shorts, long sleeve top and cheap gloves (blue hat optional)

- Worrying before the run that it's going to suck only to finish the run feeling like it was actually really nice

- Eating a big stack of homemade pancakes with real maple syrup and a hot cup of coffee after a long run in the cold

- And of course not having to worry about heat stroke is nice too and I suppose it all makes the sweltering summer seem like a nice change of pace


So, sure it's dark and damp and cold, but duh that's the winter! And soon enough you'll be complaining how damn hot it is out there. So, lace up your shoes, put on your dollar store hats and get out there and enjoy some of that white stuff!

**I am imploring myself just as much as you, don't worry!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Give Me a Why!

No news on the job front to report. On the running front, I ran 40.25 miles last week! I am particularly impressed with myself because I had to work late almost every night last week and I also had to come into the office this weekend. Even so I made it out to a local park for a glorious 8 miles on Saturday afternoon. It was sunny and a brisk 37 degrees and mrp and I decided to forgo the park where we do almost all our weekend and summer running in favor of a smaller park that conveniently provided a Christmas tree recycling service. (Bye bye Christmas tree, we will think about you every time we mulch our flower beds.) We dropped the tree in the bin and then headed off for our respective hourish runs.

I used to run at this park in high school, but since then I only really run there if I'm doing a long run from home because I thought there was only about 3 miles of good running trails. I've heard that recently (sometime within the last 15 years, anyway) that the park has put in more trails. I never explored because it was at least 4 very hilly miles to the park from my house and I didn't want to get lost at the very hilly park and still have to run the very hilly 4 miles home. But, doing a run completely in the park gave me freedom to get lost. So, I went for it.

After running around the trails I was familiar with, I ended up running down a steep hill I never ran down before. I rounded a corner and saw a trail head. It ended up being about 1-1.5 miles long and slightly downhill all the way out and then slightly uphill all the way back. I wish I knew about these trails this summer. It would be the perfect place for a very challenging tempo run. The trails themselves are impeccably groomed and the scenery can't be beat. In any event, I am happy to have found a place where I actually look forward to run.

Speaking of motivation, I can't tell you how demoralizing it is to run on a treadmill these days. Last winter I did a lot of my training on one, and although it was difficult I made it through just fine. This year, I just hate every minute of it. It's so tedious and boring and just not fun at all. I suppose when you're running for running sake, rather than running with a particular goal in mind, running in a very boring environment kind of defeats the purpose. I can't say running around downtown Cleveland is the most exciting place to run, but I am going to try to do my weekly runs outside unless the roads are icy, snow covered, or the wind is out of control. I am much more likely to be amused by seeing other runners scarily overdressed, having snow collect on me as I run, the greetings of a friendly homeless person, or spotting urban wildlife. Sure beats watching the family feud or bonanza reruns (seriously, there's nothing better on at noon?), the interns working on their upper body strength, my middle-aged coworker appearing to perform lude acts with an exercise ball, or the dude next to me trying to show me up by running .1 mph faster than me at all times.

Anyway, here's the summary of last week's training. I ran 6 days in a row last week. Maybe I can make it 7 this week and maybe, just maybe I might get all 7 of those runs outside?

Mo: 7 miles with about 5 of those with my friends around downtown in sunny 65 degree weather! (averaged 8:04 pace)

Tu: The same run pretty much, but it was INSANELY windy but still toasty! I ran a speedier first mile on my way to meet them and then a speedier mile on my way back to the office. (averaged 7:54 pace)

We: I made it to the track for 8.25 miles.

Thu: 6 miles slow by myself along the windy Cleveland lakeshore. (averaged 8:25 pace)

Fri: 4 miles on the treadmill. I couldn't stand it for any longer! (averaged 7:48 pace)

Sa: 8 glorious hilly miles. Started slow and picked up more and more as the run went on. (averaged 7:48 pace)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Safety Security Ambition

So, "they" called me yesterday and I have been very busy scrambling to write a resume and get writing samples in order. It's funny how I got so complacent in this job that I forgot that I could do something else if I wanted to. It was nice to revisit all my accomplishments and see them all on one sheet of paper. If you haven't updated your resume in a while, I recommend it if for no other reason than an ego boost.

But now that this is materializing, I am feeling very conflicted. On the one hand, mrp and I have a very stable thing going here. We have a wonderful home in a river valley surrounded by nature, yet close enough to work that commuting isn't a guarantee of road rage. Our jobs here are very safe--we can work at our company until we retire and make a very decent living and rarely have to take work home with us.

Yet, we both struggle with safety versus going for it. We are not happy to coast. It's possible to advance in corporate america. It is. But, we aren't sure it's the kind of advancement we are looking for. However, life is more than our careers and perhaps our jobs can merely bankroll the advancements in other areas of our lives?

Anyway, it sounds like this potential job would require a move about 2 hours away. If it did not require the move I would jump on it, I think. In that case, I could take the pay cut I almost surely will have to take. But, to have to uproot our life and take a pay cut may be just too much for me and us.

The thing is, my family does not have money. Yet, I always felt money should not dictate whether or not I should pursuit my ambition. All these years I have operated under this principle and this has gotten me quite far. However, it's gotten me into debt! And frankly, I'm sick of being broke and scared and feeling like I can't pull my weight. I hate that I am drawn to the low-paying jobs! Why can't I long to bill hours at a top firm? (That was a rhetorical question.) Sure, this job would likely be a precursor to something much higher paying, but I feel like I've been saying that every time I decide to go to school or take a job that doesn't pay a top salary. See, this is precisely the kind of bind I never wanted to get in--deep down I believe money should not drive this kind of decision. But, is that really realistic?

Anyway, I am pursuing the job regardless. This is all premature speculation at this point. I still want to see where this takes me. Maybe it doesn't pay as little as I think it does. Maybe we can work something out where I don't have to move. Maybe I don't get an offer to begin with but I make contacts for the future anyway. Who knows.

***

So, you came to read about running, did you? Fine. It was sunny and relatively warm in the mid-40's yesterday (but oh so windy!) so I met my buddy for a lunchtime trip to the track. It was a glorious day really and it felt so good to be back on the rubber. Before we went I thought maybe I'd do something like this: 400 800 1200 400 1200 800 400 at 5k pace with 1/2 distance recoveries. But, 1) I underestimated the distance of that workout and 2) on my low mileage I can't handle that much yet. So, I managed to run 400 800 1200 800 400 with the 1/2 distance recoveries plus 3 x 100 hard at the end. It was windy, but even so I realized that my endurance has suffered since I cut my mileage back. I was solid on the 400's and 800's but fell apart a bit on the 1200. I managed:

89
3:01
4:41
3:01
86
18, 19, 18 for the 100's.

I was shooting for 6:04 pace, so I was under on the short stuff and not too too bad for the 12:00 which was about a 6:15 pace. On the 1200 the wind seemed ridiculously harder than it had on the previous two laps, but I suspect that's mental and that really I just flaked because it was the longest rep and the middle rep. So, whatever. The relatively easy feeling 86 second 400 makes me feel better about it! In theory I'd like to keep the track workout in the schedule just to keep things fun, but winter will be back any day now and I sure as hell am not doing this on the treadmill! So, maybe it was just a one time fun little workout. And that's fine for now.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Word "Running" Appeared Only Once in This Post, but Then I Went Ahead and Ruined It

On Friday afternoon, I made the bold decision to get up off my duff and fill up my water glass over at the ubiquitous departmental water cooler. While there, a coworker chit-chatted with me and feeling all fuzzy from social interaction after several hours with no company other than this computer I made my way back to this here office. As I sat back down, I noticed a little black triangle sitting patiently on my phone. Apparently, in the two minutes I was away someone had called and left a message. I listened to it, and instead of the click of a hang-up, my boss nagging me about some project or another, or a check-in from mrp it was of all people one of my professors from law school.

I graduated from law school back in 2004, and since then I've spoken with this professor a handful of times but mostly concentrated in the 12 months subsequent to graduation. So, the point is that this was quite a surprise. He said he wanted to talk to me about a job possibility. Intriguing!

Before I had time to think too much about it and get nervous I called him back. He told me he had been contacted by a state government official asking if he would recommend anyone for a position he was looking to fill. My professor asked me if I'd be interested in the job. I don't want to reveal too many details because it is very premature and I am weirdly paranoid that someone associated with the position would discover this post and then I'd be out of the running. Anyway, the job entails representing a state in matters before the the highest court in the land. Basically, an utterly incredibly absolutely amazing opportunity that I would be a total moron to say no to! Just the fact that my professor thought of me after all these years is amazing in and of itself. He is recommending more than one person, but still.

I didn't realize how excited I was about it until I hung up the phone and discovered I was printing about 100 pages of case law and articles pertaining to the job. All weekend I couldn't wait to have a spare hour to read! It's been a long time since I've been this interested and it has made me realize that I am not so sure my current job is for me. Since I'm no longer consumed by wedding planning and running I have found myself less and less satisfied with showing up and white-knuckling it through excruciatingly boring pointless meetings, mindless research, all for the sake of enriching shareholders and only very occasionally for my own amusement.

I have had amazing opportunities here for a lawyer of my experience level. I've already argued a case in court (and won! I never followed up to tell you that, but now you know). I am now working on a case before a state Supreme Court. I also was able to single-handedly write a friend of the court brief before the US Supreme Court on the clock. Basically, the excitement ends there, but those things are pretty damned exciting, nonetheless! The cool thing is, the potential job is stuff like this all the time, complete with a purpose beyond the corporate bottom line.

Anyway, I love when life just throws stuff at you. Our lives are a part of nature and no matter how hard we try to tame them we are to a large extent at their will. Scheduling, planning, plotting, timelining, deadlining, etc. are to some extent no better than umbrellas in a hurricane. Even the worst times offer opportunities and I believe success comes from seizing those. Not that this is a bad time for me at all--it's actually a great time in Saltyland--but, the point is that sometimes the best opportunities are completely unexpected.

***(Taking a play from Joseph's playbook)

Here's what I did last week:

Monday: elliptical for 45 minutes maintaining a 150 bpm heartrate. Why 150? It was the default for that particular workout on the machine.

Tuesday: Besides the fact that the streets and trails were beseiged by a monster snow, my daylight hours were booked between sleeping in and holiday obligations so I managed to merely do 2 sets each of: abs, lunges, push-ups, and stair toe-raises followed by a late night session of shoveling the driveway with mrp.

We: 6 miles at 7:33 pace on the mill

Th: 6 miles including some fun with the incline button on the treadmill at 7:57 pace

Fr: 5 miles in 7:44 pace on the mill hurriedly in between meetings.

Sa: More abs, lunges, push-ups, and toe-raises but no running.

Su: 7 miles very hilly and very early before an appointment at 8:02 pace (out in 8:19 pace and back in 7:46 pace because I was so sleepy on the way out!)

That's a whopping 24 miles last week!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Just Being is Somethingness

So, I have a problem. You see I have a hard time just being. I have this insatiable need to be working toward some concrete goal. To put it simply: I tend to be so focused on the future, I have problems enjoying the present. I suppose focusing on the future is better than dwelling on the past, but it's a problem nonetheless because sometimes life requires a rest stop.

That is where life has taken me now. In my non-running life I just got married and things couldn't be better. It's time to enjoy the here and now and savor the mrp and saltiness of it all. There are no houses to find or move into and there is no wedding to plan. It's just us. Finally! But it's so so so hard for me to savor when my impulse is to look for something new to plan! I am trying so hard to just be and enjoy that existence. I struggle, but I'm actually doing pretty well!

In my running life, my body and mind currently require a break from formal training. Besides my legs and their intermittent soreness from the past couple of years of constant training, my endocrine and immune systems need time to rest and recharge. Also, over the last few months of 2007 I was dreading running way too often to be healthy. I loved it in the macro-sense, but it was starting to be a drag to drop the rest of my life to get a workout in or to have to run when my legs felt like crap or I was very tired. I spent so many hours of my life sucking it up through minor discomfort that I need some time to relax and feel good and value confort over discomfort for a little bit. I am really not a huge wuss, but day in and day out of mild pain, discomfort, and deprivation can wear a girl down and shockingly make running not fun!

So yes, besides giving my body a much needed break early 2008 is about having fun with running and just being. This means no schedules (even though I had a minor relapse and swore I was getting back on a schedule last week). I am to run whatever I feel like running when I feel like running indefinitely. I am not planning anything with running right now. I am enjoying running for running's sake. As hard as that is for me, I know it's what I need to do for now.