A 25 minute brain reboot

I’m currently sitting on my living room floor eating and drinking this

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I just can’t even tell you about this week. A lot of my job and reading and writing and so far this week looks like it’s 19 hours of meetings. Which means when I am at my desk, everyone and their mother stops by with a question. Don’t get me wrong. I like being busy. And my co-workers are asking important things. But man does my brain hurt. Seriously. I ended the day sitting on the floor in my cube because it seemed easier.

I was at work until 7:30 tonight. Which really isn’t that late for me, I don’t get in until 9 or 9:30 most days. But the time is important for two reasons. 1) the sun is starting to set earlier again and I had a run planned and 2) the power went out and with it being nearly night and also my desk is in a sort if basement thing it got dark. And I was alone. And I’m afraid of the dark. Still.

It came back on after 10 or 12 minutes and I was fine. But when I realized my gym bag was in the car I decided I didn’t want to come back into the office and could just change in the car at the park.

I did. And then I ran with no phone or music along the Charles under a beautiful sunset.

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And my brain found some peace.

Plus I ran for 25 minutes no stopping. This is only the second time I’ve run more than 7 minutes in more than a year and the last time was two weeks ago when I made Jennie (with a head cold) run with me so I wouldn’t chicken out. I’m really quite excited about this. Maybe this half marathon isn’t such a terrible idea.

I want to write more but I have no more words and my third viewing of the Newsroom and my Hell or High Watermelon are calling my name. And soothing my soul.

Hearts and good mind clearing runs!

Summer funtimes scars

Scars. We all have them, both physical and emotional. People have written about them, sung about them, lectured on them. Scars show a map of where our journey has been. There are certainly scars and marks that are traumatic or bring up bad memories. But I love the marks that are all over my body right now. Because they are a testament to the fact that it is nice out and it’s almost summer and I’m having fun.
I’ve got a scratch across my right shin from some sort of thorny twig thing from a run on a new route that turned into a hot mess. Three nails on my right hand were sacrificed to the packing of Krystal’s kitchen. Which made me feel less guilty about cutting my run short. Because boxes of dishes and pans are no joke! I’ve got a huge scratch across my left lower shin from walking into my beach chair on my way to “cross train” by building a sandcastle for a two year old to stomp – yes, technically I yoga’d later for actual cross training. I can’t be lying to get that green square! But it’s fun to pretend for a minute that sand castle building would be enough. I added a new mark last night when I had to sneak off into the woods for a pit stop on the side of Memorial Drive during a 2.3 mile run. Isn’t running just so glamorous? I’ve got mosquito bites on every part of my skin that has been exposed since the snow melted. The itching reminds me that I was out running, eating ice cream, walking around Boston, and running. So many running bug bites. So. Many.

But my favorite marks? My feet. The bottoms of my feet are gross town, USA. I’ve got runner friends losing toe nails left and right. It happened to me before. I expect it to happen again. And though we runners sometimes complain about the distinct awfulness of the look of our feet/lower legs (oh the sock tan lines) there’s always a hint a pride in there too. Because each of those lost toenails or blister or weird skin spot is a record of the miles I’ve put in the books. The mental fight I had to overcome to get through the hard parts. The triumph for finishing a tough workout. So when I look at my feet it just looks like sweet sweet victory.

Anybody else got a good scar or mark from running or summer fun?

Hearts and more marks!

PS Short and sweet this week, but can’t leave out the chart update. Because damn is that thing a good motivator. That and watching my friends’ charts fill up too!

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Something is different with this 2014 training cycle

I’m only two and a half weeks in, but it feels different this time. Maybe its because I’ve made improvements in other parts of my life? When I first launched my training in November of 2012 I was working in a job that I was growing to hate. I loved the work and a lot of the people I was doing it with, but the culture of that place wasn’t for me. As the holidays passed I slid deeper into my hole, going directly from engineering to either my part time job or home to TV and bed. I stopped seeing friends. I stopped going out. I stopped running. I took a week’s vacation Christmas to New Year’s and just sat in bed watching bad TV. Which made me start to evaluate if this job was worth it. By January 2nd I had updated my resume. 8 weeks later, I had a new job. I was lucky and found a new job that was great. I started running again. I started cooking again. I started seeing friends again. And I signed up for that half marathon. (It should be noted that taking this job is what put me in Jennie’s neighborhood and got me meeting her to run and convinced me to sign up for that race)

Maybe it’s because I feel less alone this time? It’s not just me in my living room trying to figure this out. I’m not making those tentative first connections with my online running group/family/tribe. And it’s certainly not running alone. 18 months after I first signed up, and a year after I really started training for a race, I regularly meet Jennie for cross training or running, I have a co-worker whom I’m beginning to regularly run with, and I’ve got runner friends all over the US and the world who will find a way to reach through the internet and kick my ass if I don’t get out there. Plus. A bunch of us are now training for the same race. And we’re actually going to meet. In person!!! If I slack off and they don’t I’m going to feel angry at myself for not keeping up. I want to keep up. I want this to be fun. Real bad.

Maybe the motivation is different this time? I’m only two weeks in and maybe I felt like this last year. If I did, I really don’t remember. Probably a little? But this time is different. Last year I wanted to finish strong. Then when I hurt my back and was waylaid for 5 weeks, I just wanted to finish. Looking back now I see the mistakes I made in my training. I’m not crying over spilled milk – I’m trying to learn. Because this year I want to finish strong. Actually strong. So I can hang with my runner friends after and not feel like a giant cloud of pity party.

Maybe it’s my fitness level? I can’t say that I maintained any sort of fitness from last year; I didn’t really end up with much fitness there near the end. And I certainly got a little squishier over the winter. But parts of this feel a little easier. Not so easy that I want to amp it up and add weights. For now I like that my workouts feel right. They’re challenging, I sweat my face off (well, make up), and I push myself as far as I should. The result of which is that at the end of the workout, I feel like a machine. Which makes every thing else in the day feel awesome. Even when I’ve forgotten shampoo and then 12 hours later spill beer onto my pants down to my underwear at a Sox game – hypothetically, of course.

Whatever it is, something feels different. Good different. But different.

Because for maybe the second time ever I didn’t try to get out of a Saturday run. I got up, tried some new pre running food (some success, some failure), and just went running. And a funny thing happened. While I waiting for my breakfast to digest I actually did some chores around the house. I took care of some emails. And I was just plain productive on a Saturday before 10 am. After the run it was time for a quick shower and then off to Boston Calling music festival day 2. And there’s only one way to do that.

Nuun and diet coke.

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Not pictured? The banana and string cheese I inhaled.

Hearts and confusing questions

PS training update: a full week of green!!

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My first red mark and approximately 17 others things that are more like 6 but I have runner’s brain and can’t math

I bailed on a race on Sunday. Thoroughly and completely. My 2 mile runs for the last two weeks have been abysmal and because running is such a mental game, I was afraid I would take too long to get over finishing in the bottom 10 people again and my training would get off to a lackluster start. Sunday’s race was 5 miles. 5k I would have slogged through. But 5 miles was too much. Going through the week, I was trying to psych myself up for it. I was racing with a lot of friends and I didn’t want to be a quitter in front of all of them. Last Thursday I tried to run 3 miles. I ran 1.6. I was at the gym with Jennie who is healing from injury (like a boss, I might add) and was biking. I walked over to where she was. She took one look at my face and asked “shit show?”. And I said “The shittiest of shit shows.” So she told me to get my butt on the bike and sweat it out. Pulling out my best insolent teenager act, I sat and pouted through 30 minutes. The next day Jennie emailed and basically told me that no one would judge if I didn’t run. And if it ruined my mental game that would be bad. I was still on the fence and finally decided Sunday morning I wouldn’t run, I would spectate. Still I left the house very slowly and didn’t get over there until the race was over. I was pretty upset over the whole day – wishing I was one of the runners – and very nearly regretted going. But once I found my people and just hung out, it was worth the trip over. I was upset enough that I really didn’t take pictures. Promise it happened.

That red mark is going to sit there until early November, staring at me. Reminding me that when I say I’m going to train I should just suck it up and for the love of Christmas just get out there. Based on all this, I made a decision to step back a couple weeks in my training. I swore I wouldn’t move around workouts, but I think it’s totally fine to move back in the program. Because if I’m about to survive 5 months of training it has to be fun (at least sometimes – occasional bad runs are inevitable). Last year after my back stopped hurting and I started up training again I started too far into the training and it wasn’t fun. Every run. For almost three months. I’ve got the time in my schedule. Really I cut into the 5 week gap I had in the middle and put two more weeks at a shorter interval at the front. I think I did the right thing. I think I’ll enjoy these runs and they’ll give me the training kick in the butt I need to make LA the funnest fun it can be.

There’s the week. And the damn red mark. But look at all the green!

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I had my first park-at-Herter-Park-and-run-along-the-Charles runs of the season. Really I should just keep running through the winter but I was in such an epic funk this winter that I didn’t. I will say this. I forgot how freakin’ high those bridges climb! And how tiny they look on RunKeeper after. I promise you they feel eternally uphill huge. Despite that, it was still nice to be back out there. Cool down stretches, however, were a challenge. The Canadian geese are migrating back north and are pooping near every. single. waterway. Trunk blanket to he rescue! Can we talk about how magical it is that my trunk supplies are now a blanket, sweatshirt, and beach chair instead of a shovel, snow brush, and bigger snow brush? All the magical.

Side note on this amazing weather. I talk a lot about hating the cold, but Boston this weekend? I can’t even begin to describe how unicorn rainbow sprinkles on top fabulous it was. Saturday I went to meet some family visiting from Michigan and walking down the Comm. Ave median park under trees with bright green new leaves and fading flower buds under an almost painfully blue sky was something I’ll look back at next January. Theoretically. I’ll probably still swear a lot. My love for the John Hancock Tower knows no bounds. And so I take a lot of pictures of it. But look. Look at that blue sky!!

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Ok. Back to running. Last week I was mad. I left my Garmin charging all day but when I went to use it the next day, the battery was dead. I brought it to work to charge Monday and after having it plugged in for an hour I checked – still “low battery” I had noticed some black on the back of it but I had figured it was dirt. Turns out if you write on your arm and then put your watch on and then sweat/have 1500 cups of water spilled on you (ooh. I still owe a how-to-work-a-marathon-water-stop-in-a-million-easy-steps post) the marker smudges and effs up the contacts on the watch. Luckily for me, I work with science! and we have alcohol wipes left, right, and center. A quick clean up and problem solved.

After my pretty good run I had allllll the energy and did some laundry, finally washing all my running clothes at once instead of sneaking them in loads here and there. I know that can be bad for the fabrics but I HATE laundry and thinking anything about it was too much. I’m trying to take better care of my things and not just shove all these tech fabrics into the dryer. Problem: I don’t have a drying rack. Solution? Make one. Any tool can be the right tool (that’s a throw back to my childhood watching the Red Green Show with step dad John). Right now my clothes are drying on a) my reconditioned steamer trunk (thanks John!) b) the bendable arm of my standing light c) the thumb switch of said light d) my towel and bathrobe hooks e) the top of my empty (thanks to runner’s energy cleaning) trashcan f) a rolled up and stood on its end yoga mat g) my pop-up tail gating tent (packed up into its bag thingy) and the pièce de résistance h) a ski pole. I was like Oprah and my clothes were free cars.

Methinks it’s time for a trip to the Tar-jay.

Just 12 hours later; le sigh. I have committed to not packing a gym bag in the morning because I always end up at the gym at work with no post workout non sweaty underwear or un-moused hair or no work shoes. Despite being sleepy and wanting my bed real real bad Monday night, I packed a bag. Tuesday morning I kicked my workout’s ass. I mean, after I was done with it, it wasn’t even recognizable to its mother. And after a good run on Monday I was riding a sweet sweet high. A high that came crashing down when I discovered I had no shampoo or soap. So I turned on the shower and then holding my towel with one hand, I fill the other with the foamy hand soap from the sinks (glamorous!) and then getting in the shower, held that hand above me while I rinsed off and then soaped up. There was no WAY I was putting that in my curls, so my hair just got wet and then went to work dirty. I’ve been doing this workout before work thing almost a whole year. I have a toiletry bag I keep in my gym bag. And even before that, I did this occasionally. So WTH?? In my defence, I changed bags for the summer and forgot to move it. Still. Total and complete #epicfail . This also explains the extra shot coffee that made it’s way to Instagram this week. Because sometimes – lots of coffee.

Hearts and I don’t know, random stuff

It’s Happening Again

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Back in October 2012, I received an email from Nicole at Lifelessbullshit.com telling her followers about a half marathon training plan and group she was putting together. I signed up so fast I can’t even tell you. I looked at all the training materials and realized I was woefully under prepared for half marathon at the end of that month. I decided to DNS that one and plan my next.

Fast forward 18 months and I’ve run a half marathon with the plan and made (what I suspect) lifelong internet friends. When I crossed the finish line of my first half which went less than awesomely, I didn’t say “never again” but I did say “Not again for a while”. It would appear that a “while” is one year and 3 weeks. Because I pulled the trigger this morning.

Half Mara Reg

That’s right. My registration finger got itchy and I signed up for the LA Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon in October. Eep. Nicole emailed out about running this thing with our group and I emailed two of my virtual runner friends Kathy and Rachel to ask “are you doing this thing, I’m 98.9% I am.” You see, I’ve been trying to meet these women for more than a YEAR! We’ve been running together virtually, cheering each other on after successes big and small (good run days and half marathon finish lines), and commiserating over injury or bad weather or any other little thing. And though I would have probably gone either way because I love my running group, I was really hoping I’d get to meet these two (and Nicole!) finally. This running group has been amazing. And I think probably all of my facebook friends and IRL friends would agree, because I have a single place where I can go and talk about running non-stop and I don’t bore them with every little detail about fueling and watering and being bored or exhilarated by a route (except Jennie. She has to listen to it no matter what. Of course, I listen to her too. So it works out). And now I have an opportunity to run with these people that I’ve been talking to online forever. Our emails went back and forth a little and then I woke up yesterday to a message from Rachel “So…we’re doing this? ARE WE DOING THIS? YOU GUYS!” And A) I was in. 100% and B) the 0 to 13.1 bull shit free runners are the best. This email, of course, sent us into a tizzy of emails flying back and forth all day, a happy dance in my cube, and so much excitement I had to sit down for a minute. Because, you guys? It is on.

I am so unbelievably excited to finally meet people I’ve been cheering on/being cheered on by virtually for more than a year. And it feels good to be training for another big race. Good. And also scary. I don’t want a repeat of that last race. I don’t want to let myself train poorly again. I want this to be an unbelievably fun weekend. And only a well prepared for race will get me there. So it’s back to spreadsheets, a better dedication to eating well, and a slightly higher rate of saying no to drinks. Slightly. I still have a summer of Sox games and patio drinks to get through.

The race is In 24 weeks. Uh. What? I guess I should put down the beers, un-bury my Garmin, and pound some pavement. Has anyone seen my body glide?

Hearts and half marathons!

Ugh, my back. It’s a butthead. So is winter.

Wow. Well. Yeah. I haven’t blogged in a while. It’s a confluence of things. But mostly I’m blaming winter. I become the worst kind of runner in winter. Meaning I don’t run. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned; the best way to be a runner is consistency. Case in point, I ran about 3 times in February and then showed up for a little 3 miler in my home city. The race was awesome and I bombed into the finish chute passing a woman to do it. (I also passed about 40 people running up a hill!) My Facebook post to my running group was all sunshine and rainbows and I was pumped for the next race in the series. Fast forward 48 hours and I’m getting ready in the morning. I shower, dry my hair (which involves bending over), and then putting on a little make-up. Suddenly and without warning my back seized and I was right back to where I was last summer. On the DL “until the pain went away”. And there wasn’t a damn thing I could do to heal faster.

I still went to the gym a couple times a week for the bike, but not nearly as much as I should have. And I basically hid under heated blankets. Because it just wouldn’t get warmer. But then 5 weeks had passed. And my back was feeling sort of ok. And a co-worker who is also coming back from an injury offered to go run at a 1:30min run 1 min walk interval. And I thought that sounded like a good way to restart running. So I said “sure!” And we ran. And then I waited. I could have probably gone running but some part of me wasn’t ready to get all gung ho back into yet. I think I was probably a little afraid that I’d get excited, go for a 2nd run in a week and then reinjure myself and be 76 kinds of sad and stir crazy. ESPECIALLY now that the sun is up after work, temperatures are rising, and there is green along the Charles instead of dirty white.

Fast forward a week and I’ve gone on two runs this week and one gym session. It should be 3 and 2, but let’s use baby steps, okay? Of course I got up on this Sunday morning, dog sitting for Charlotte, and headed out on my run along the Charles. And damn if it wasn’t gorgeous and soul soothing and hells yes, someone find me a manatee to hug perfect.

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I mean, the water was flowing (no ice!), I could run right down by the water (no ice!), the sun felt warm (Earth tilt!), crew teams were out (no ice!), and people were everywhere. Of course it’s early April so as I sit here 6 hours later my face is on fire with wind burn. And I was in long sleeves and a winter hat. But it was outside and not a pile of death. I’d like to say I’m someone who got out there all winter, but my half marathon sort of killed my running spirit and it was so brutally cold that I just couldn’t find the motivation. Continued amazing weather by the Charles is just the right kind of motivation.

I think I’m back and will be here to entertain you with tails from my trails (both concrete and dirt). I’m still trying to decide what kind of goals I want for myself. Right now it’s a 5 miler in May. After that, who knows. I’m moving in September. And then immediately leaving for Peru. And then going to a wedding in Kansas City. And then October. Do I really want to long run the day I get back from Peru? Or during the wedding weekend? I don’t know. But I have a while to decide. For now I’m going to enjoy lacing up and watching Spring burst out around the Charles and this fabulous city I call home! And also cheering for my beloved Sox (while mourning the loss of College Basketball [the Cyclones are basically the only reason I didn’t go completely bat shit crazy this winter])

Hearts and red tinged trees!!

 

PS If you’re not from a place where trees lose leaves, some time in early spring the buds on the trees start to appear and give the trees a red tint around the edges which is then followed by bright green baby leaves and then finally green leaves for daaaaaays!

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Power Core Wednesday!

It’s Wednesday here at rungineered. And you know what that means???

Power Core Wednesday. Or as I like to call it pre-sore core Thursday. Wednesday is a combination of cross training and then planks, Russian twists, and v-ups. V-ups are the devil. But damn if I don’t feel like a rock star when I can pull of a couple of good ones.

Oh. My. Lanta. was I cranky on Tuesday. At one point I referred to myself as a Crankasaurus Rex stomping all over my office, crushing the happiness of the people around me. I even whined to someone “tell me something funny” and she did. And it helped. Temporarily. But by 4:30 I could have put any two year old missing snack time’s pout to shame. Shame I tell you!

I couldn’t figure it out. Yes, I had spent a better part of my morning at the dealership finding out just how much money it would take to make my check engine light go away. But the waiting area was suuuuuuper swanky. And I wasn’t cranky in the morning. I ate lunch. I had a meeting. And then BAM! Crank.

I thought maybe I needed a snack – nothing. Caffeine – nothing. A funny story – nothing. Whining via email – nothing. Meanwhile, on the same day that I scheduled my car to be fixed my phone decided it would no longer accept chargers. Of any kind. Unless I plugged it in and out 14 times, stood on one foot, and held my breath. So I knew a new phone was also in order. Damn.

The Verizon store is one mile away. My scheduled run was 2ish. I thought I’d run there, buy the phone, and run back. I got home and out of the car and it was kind of cold and raining hard and I thought “eff it. I’ll just drive over” and then I stood in the rain and thought about it. And thought about it. And probably looked like a crazy person in the movies – standing in the rain. But the more I thought about it, the more I convinced myself that I would feel better. I changed, grabbed Senor Garmin, and hit the streets. Even walking down to where I wanted to start and waiting for the satellites I was cranky. And then I thought about it a little more and if I ran half, bought the phone, and ran home, my hands would be full. And after stopping I wouldn’t want to start again. So I made a game time decision and picked a 2 mile loop that would land me a little bit before Verizon at 2 miles.

Absolutely no exaggeration (boy did I butcher the spelling of that word. Let’s all give a cheer for spell check) in anyway. 10 steps into my run, the cranky just floated away. Like it was a physical thing that just got up and left.My body said “you are no longer wanted here. GTFO”. The whole run was good. I waved to my favorite bakery. I waved to my friends’ house (they’re married. How do I refer to their house? friends’, friend’s, friend’s’s’s?) I bombed straight up a hill. I ran face first into windy rain and even offered an “I’m gritting it out grimace”. I wrapped it up in front of the Coolidge Corner movie theatre which is such a cool sign. I snapped my accountability photo for my running group, finished off the last two and half minutes of the GymPact. Stretched a little. And then proceeded to stand in the Verizon store for an hour soaked in my own sweat and drenched in rain. (Sorry customer service dude!)

But. BUT! No crank. Even when he struggled and we had to redo some stuff. I just thought – hey whatever, as long as I’m able to come home with a phone that will charge when I tell it to.

I had always heard about people that find running to be a great mind clearer. But my mind is always focused on “OMG dont throw up. Don’t fall. Is this too easy? (bahahahaha) Is this too hard? Could you do better? Why can’t I breathe? I regret all the beer I drank last week, And the chocolate. I do not regret those tacos, though. I can never get my brain to cool it. And suddenly, I did. I just went about kicking my run’s ass.