Saturday, February 28, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Today, however, another 18-miler loomed. Yesterday, having been confined to the car for 8 hours,* I restricted my water consumption, never a good thing the day before logging long miles...
Jared also needed a long run before next week's Hyannis Half, so the two of us trotted out about 10 miles (later found to be closer to 9) along the newly named Loch Ness Loop--ending at our corner. With a smooch and a wave, I was back off down Mass Ave to finish off my mileage, which ultimately ended up around 17.
And ick, it was NOT fun mileage. I'd like to blame it on any number of things, but I did, after all, take four days off...not to mention last week's 18-miler was in the best possible weather. But via a sad combination of run hobble walk stretch run hobble walk stretch, I made it back home in one piece, to play with....
*Copley. The lovely, playful, precarious Dane puppy we spent 14 hours in the car for this weekend, as we trekked to Buffalo to get her and back. She is asleep now at the feet of my beloved and I...after much playing, eating, and of course, more sleeping.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
At 7 miles in, on the corner of Dartmouth and Stuart, I met Brenda, fresh out of her warmup on the arc trainer, and ready for 7 miles as a duo. After realizing neither of us had mapped a route (It's so sunny! What a gorgeous day! Where should we run? Didn't you map a route? No, didn't you?), we headed towards an old favorite, our 5:00 a.m. Thursday route from last year's training season.
The miles went quickly and easily, and were filled with chatter of work, life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. Seven miles later, we parted ways, again at Dartmouth and Stuart, and I started my 4-mile trek home. The last leg was uneventful, if its unsurprisingly tough self. I was more than happy to make it to my allotted stopping point, and walk the last two blocks home for the planned cooldown.
Later that week, a friend mentioned to me an argument she'd recently had with some other friends--an argument stemming from her commentary about how friends often move and in out of our lives. She is, of course, right. The conversation got me thinking about my friends--about the friends from high school, the friends from college, the friends from two years ago, the friends of today. I feel very fortunate in my friends, to be honest--who are made up of an ecletic mix of personalities. There are the running friends, the ex-roommates, the friends I can sing loudly in the car with, the literary friends, the listening friends, the friends who always have a funny story to share.
But the friend mentioned earlier was also right--her comments centered on how its important to understand that each of our friends brings something different to our lives, and at different times of our lives what that is can become more, or less, important. This is most visible when great life changes occur--when we go into or exit school, when we pair up with someone, when we have our first child. My friend's point was that it's OK, and natural, for friends to come and go in our lives, and that we can't help but do the same with them.
One of the reasons this struck me running was that I've been lucky the past several years since I started running to never be short of a friend to run with. With training season underway, I've been logging a lot of my long run marathon miles with Brenda, and with the Hyannis Half Marathon on 2/22, I've logged most of the rest with my other half. But when I first started running, it was mostly just Kate and I--though we slowly converted many of other friends over time. Next month, though, Kate will be leaving our dirty water, and heading for the Big Apple, as she and her husband head out to start new jobs and be closer to family.
Look for her to be logging some fabulous miles in Central Park, happy pup Bodhi in tow...
Saturday, February 7, 2009
That's right. Amenorrhoea. Here's what Wikipedia has to say (and Wikipedia don't lie, folks):
Last year, having skipped the menstrual cycle from Thanksgiving through April, I had been at times, a bit concerned...this year, having spoken at length with my doctor, I was a bit less so.
Female athletes or women who perform considerable amounts of exercise on a regular basis are at risk of developing 'athletic' amenorrhoea. It was thought for many years that low body fat levels and exercise related chemicals (such as beta endorphins and catecholamines) disrupt the interplay of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. However recent studies have shown that there are no differences in the body composition, or hormonal levels in amenorrheic athletes. Instead, amenorrhea has been shown to be directly attributable to a low energy availability. Many women who exercise at a high level do not take in enough calories to expend on their exercise as well as to maintain their normal menstrual cycles. 
A second serious risk factor of amenorrhea is severe bone loss sometimes resulting in osteoporosis and osteopenia. It is the third component of an increasingly common disease known as female athlete triad syndrome. The other two components of this syndrome are osteoporosis and disordered eating. Awareness and intervention can usually prevent this occurrence in most female athletes.
...and says "Amen."
One early morning run--Check.
One miserable run--Check.
Sweet new shoes (even if sans fancy red laces)--Check!
This week brought some of the usual, with a few mild adventures thrown in. Tuesday's late night and flat tire precipitated an early Wednesday morning run--4.5 miles with my beloved, who was willing, but less than happy about the 5:00 a.m. mileage.
Thursday night brought the scheduled moderate/long weekly distance, with Jared and I scurrying to the gym to avoid the frigid weather. A miserable 11 miles for me--despite my fabulous new kicks--and likely miserable also for Jared, who had to put up with my griping--I was tight, my can was sore, my calves were uncomfortable, my knees were aching, I was thirsty, I was hungry, I was tired....all can be summed up with the simple fact that I had decided, for some reason, that I was going to have a "bad run."
Once you've told yourself "I'm having a bad run," that's exactly what you do--and no amount of stretching, loosening, hydration, good conversation, or encouragement can talk your mind out of the funky dark place it has wandered into of its own accord.
What is it in us that does this? I know full well that my body is willing, is in fact, stronger than it has ever been. I know that my legs will usually loosen up within a few miles. I know that 2 liters of water is enough, that the amount of calories consumed is on the shy side, but still sufficient. I know that the treadmill is, in fact, easier than running outside, and that the distance is shorter than my weekly long runs.
But none of this mattered on Thursday, when I was having a "bad run." None of it mattered at all, as I climbed into that dark place, and shamelessly wallowed in my self-imposed self-misery. No amount of gentle teasing by my other half, no chatter about picking up the new puppy next week, no discussion of news, work, and life could pull me from the deep well of grumpiness I'd rolled directly into.
These runs for me fulfill only one purpose, and perhaps this is why they exist at all--they serve as a reminder of how much we should appreciate the other runs--the runs that leave our minds singing, our legs turning, and our bodies feeling fast, strong and capable, as though there is no distance too great, no hill to high, no turn to sharp, no end to the possibilities incarnate.
As we finished our 11 miles, Jared having pushed me to it, I was happy--happy we were finished, happy to have done the distance, and happily, looking forward the next, better run.
Special props to my beloved on both of these runs--on Wednesday, though cranky about it, he got out of our warm bed, and slugged through some cold miles. On Thursday, he not only ran next to me for 2 hours on the dreadmill, but also forgave me my surliness, and pushed me to go further than I wanted to...gently, but firmly, ensuring that we'd both feel good about the day's miles. This run will likely be our last long run together before the Hyannis Half Marathon on February 22, as next week will likely hold a taper. Wish us luck!