Monday, March 1, 2010

In the Long Run

I almost composed this entire post whilst running so forgive me. The longest runs I have done the entire winter were 3-4 miles at best. I have this massive mental block about running longer distances. Especially running them alone. I actually get sort of panicky sensation in my gut about it.

Because I essentially missed a week of training I combined weeks 2-3 a bit and decided to run three miles Saturday and six miles Sunday. It was much colder then I had hoped it would be this weekend so I ran inside on Saturday but there was no WAY I was going to run six miles on a track/mill so I waited until what would potentially be the warmest part of the day Sunday to get started.

And it was COLD. I froze my collective rump off. Which lead to me contemplate running pants with butt warmers installed in them as well as the fact that I opted not to wear a hat/ear muff type apparatus and holy cats my ears were cold. So cold in fact that the marshmallow ear plugs I have that are supposed to warm up and mold to fit my ears, NEVER WARMED UP so they kept falling out as they were seemingly frozen SOLID. I finally did warm up body wise around mile three but my head never did and I saw numerous people running with toques on and I though 'for the love of gawd girl be smart next time'.

I also contemplated the fact that from now on I will run with some form of tissue especially since I had pockets (and was so glad I threw on the fleece coat at the last second!). My nose ran as much as I did and all I had was my sleeve. Ummm gross. I may or may NOT have contemplated the woods and their depth off the trail for various reasons as well.

Any who, miles 1-2 went by quickly. My realization that it was damn cold came in the form of muck. Mucky trail encased in SNOW. WTF? Yes, well in the effing woods snow does not go away as quickly as on the roads so yeah for me running through the muck was a reminder it is indeed still winter.

I was okay running until I started to think about the length of the run and panic set in.  Once the panic set in I had to fight with every fiber of my being to let it go which is about the time I start gazing out into the woods wondering how to utilize them to my full potential. I noticed how stiff and sore and aching every part of me was and how my stomach was roiling in pain and 'OMG I CANNOT DO THIS' keeping passing through my head exactly like that - all caps and loudly.

I talked myself off the ledge of panic around mile 3 when I started to tell myself half way and then I started writing in my head. An old standby to pass the time. Then I started to notice all the nature around me. I passed an Eastern Bluebird that was an arm's length away from me, a Turkey Vulture who was directly above my head just hanging out looking for his next meal on a low branch, and, the best of all, by the quarry near Tapp Rd. a crane took flight very low in the sky right above my head. I also noticed that off one part of the trail now that the trees and bush are mostly dead for winter you can distinctly see the Beaver dam and all the trees felled for that. There were actually a lot of runners out which helped to get me through as well. I was not the only crazy soul out there running in the cold.

Anyway I made me way home and thought I was exactly two miles from home but it turns out I was a bit off in my estimation so I took a minor detour to get the mileage in which included running down the side of a busy road and included some small hills that almost killed me DEAD. Oops.

When I got to mile 5 and was heading into mile 6 I breathed a sigh of relief. As always as I walked up the small hill home I was thrilled. It is one of my first long runs in a long time that I did by myself and I had a fairly decent time. I did not intend to go out and run fast just slow and easy which is what I did. I felt good and even though I was cold I felt accomplished. Next weekend I have a three mile and seven mile run for the weekend! YIKES. One thought that got me through was "6 miles? Hey wait that is just under half of a mini marathon!" I can do this, I can!

***
The speaker I saw on Friday evening, Michael Pollan, truly delivered. He was funny and light and did a great job sending a message about eating local, organic and trying to find new ways of eating other than what we know. That this is not an easy process. It is a lot easier to run to the large chain grocery store and buy what we need without thinking about where it came from and how it got there.

Recently one thing I have been doing religiously again is I have taken to reading labels and I am trying to find products with less in it. The less the better. I thing I find hard about these products both for me (though not as much) and my family. Food tastes bland! Can you imagine? I remember reading a book about our food supply years ago. About how there is a company in New Jersey that specializes in smells. And not just perfume smells. In fact the company they highlighted in that book produced perfume for Clinique as well as smells for foods, crackers, chips, yogurt. I remember putting the book down and thinking this through. SO if we removed the MANMADE Strawberry smell from my Yoplait what would be like? Gelatinous red yogurt? It was around that time I made the switch to eating differently.

But back to Pollan and the message I liked from him was DO IT. Do it big or do it small but try. The impact will be like ripples on the water. YOU and I can make changes that are lasting and send a message to big corporations. BUT if you keep on keeping because it is easier then big corporations will keep doing business as is.

I was super GEEK when I saw they were selling his books in the lobby and the line to have a book signed was pretty short by the time I got there SO I went and had my booked signed. I was in a little starry eyed by the notion of a successful author sitting before me! Mr. Pollan spoke a bit about writing and not setting out in life to be an author, especially not a food/environmental author. I thought that was very inspirational so it was a neat experience overall for me. I hope to do more things like this in the coming year. I love the sense of learning and the thing about living in a small university town is that I get close up experiences that I would not get if I lived in a larger city! I plan to take advantage of this more.

***
Next up, do not even get me started on the state of education in this state. I am heavily contemplating what I will do if the schools/state do not man up about the money needed to run our school district next year. We heard a rumor that the kindergarten classes are supposed to swell next year to 40:1 ratios. WHA... SO I will be watching and waiting to see what happens. I have an idea of where I would send Matthew if this turns out to be true and I plan to visit the school Matthew will attending in the coming weeks to inquire about the situation. GRRRR...
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