my own steam

forgive the hyperbole, but the world is a much safer place because i run.  whenever i’m unmotivated/feel like crap/want to throw things, all i have to do is put on my running clothes and i’m halfway to feeling better.  then, once i’m hauling ass, i’ve pretty much quashed the urge to rage quit the world. the act of running is on my own steam, but i have to say that my running gear is what generally makes me feel all super-hero-y and prepared to face down the villain that is depression.  running is my way of stomping all over its face with my size seven shoes.

yesterday, i decided to wear my running gear to work.

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it made the commute easier to navigate.  getting to work during rush hour fills me with mild anxiety, so i love being able to boogie up and down train platform steps without being slowed down by cumbersome strappy sandals and a giant purse.  as a sweaty person, it also helps that i’m wearing sweat-appropriate clothes while sweating in the 80 degree heat of the subway stations.

i wore my new mizuno evo levitas shoes, and they felt fantastic on my feet. i spent the work day at my standing desk, and only sat down once for 30 minutes.

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my commute home was even more rad.  i didn’t plan on it, but somehow i managed to run the longest distance i’ve ever run in one workout.  my trusty legs carried me down the west side highway, across town, over the brooklyn bridge, through downtown brooklyn and over to crown heights.  if you had caught a glimpse of me while i dashed down the home stretch that is my block, you would have seen the goofiest, unsuperhero-y looking expression on my face.  i was finally home.  i had kicked ass.  i was happy.

plans and things

i entered the workweek feeling refreshed from a long weekend of naps, good food (i made challah bread from scratch), and two rest days from running (saturday and sunday).  whenever i take more than a day off from running i get bummed out, but i know that rest days generally good for me.

coach jenny from runner’s world published this column that highlights the benefits of running less.  while i’m not training for a full marathon (and likely never will), jenny’s thoughts are on point:

As I coach aging runners, I focus their training based on how their bodies respond and handle the stress. In many cases, this means running fewer days per week. I also use this strategy for younger runners who are more prone to injury and burnout. We’re all different.

the runs i have been going on this week are gauged by how i’ve been feeling, rather than focusing on breaking PRs and running long distances.  mostly, i’ve been running easy.  this has all been in an effort to alleviate the soleus pain i have in both legs from overuse.  after 12 easy-ish miles this week, i’m happy to report that i’m feeling much better!  no more whining, no more limping!

below are just a few things that happened this week:

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on tuesday found eight dollars in cash in an old jacket pocket at work!  this went toward a sofritas burrito bowl from chipotle.  unexpected money well spent.

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i took some work colleagues to peloton fitness on wednesday morning.  i placed 4th!

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i was able to head out on thursday with the wonderful melissa of healthy happy broads to run down the west side highway before the start of the workday.

also on thursday, i scored pairs of reebok, mizuno, and newton running shoes, and i’m trying them out over the weekend.  the newton shoes are the ones i’m most stoked about.  i’m a forefoot runner, which means my heel doesn’t strike the ground while i run.  newtons are designed for this kind of running, so i’m hoping to see a difference in how i perform. i’m planning on getting a long-ish run in on sunday around brooklyn.

while i’m psyched to get out and about this weekend, i’m also slipping into a sort of nesting mode. chilly fall weather is months away (our AC is still on full-blast these days), but i’m already thinking about cooking soups, stews and casseroles in bulk.  sunday night is reserved for at least one of the three things i’m thinking about cooking up.  this kale and white bean stew looks to be the one (with vegetarian “sausage” of course).

next week, i’m going to check out equinox’s new program, precision running. all of this takes place on the treadmill, which i am loathe to run on when it’s perfectly nice outside.  but!  if i’m going to be spending time on the treadmills this winter during the crappy weather days, i’ve got to find ways to use them right.

today’s a rest day, so i’m going to channel all of the energy i have into cleaning the shit out of my apartment and rearranging ALL THE THINGS.  wish me luck.

 

looking ahead, kind of

while january is the beginning of the calendar year, i consider labor day weekend an unofficial kick-off to a brand new year.  i’m largely absorbing this year’s “new year” though my family since next week nolan starts his first day of high school, and todd begins a new semester of teaching.  i’m twitchy with anticipation!  after trudging through a particularly swampy summer, i’m looking forward to chilly weather, sweaters, and apple picking.  this is all very premature, of course.  nyc takes longer to transition into autumn weather than it does where i was raised up north.  getting all psyched up like this right now is like immediately biting into a sizzling slice of cheese pizza.  shit needs to cool down first!

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i’m already nostalgic about last week

northern california provided the perfect kind of weather for running last week–70 degrees, sunny, and almost no humidity.  i’m missing it already, but i can be patient.  nyc will dry off and cool down soon.

Continue reading “looking ahead, kind of”

done did

when i decided to run 100 miles in 30 days back in july, i had no idea that it would conclude in northern california.

at first i thought it would be difficult to complete the challenge while on vacation, but i managed to run every day (to keep the miles from piling up toward the end).  i adopted a regular route–a flat four mile loop around the neighborhood where i was staying in berkeley. i was also able to run around lake merrit, and alongside the berkeley marina with todd.

while i was primarily concerned with keeping up on the miles, i was also worried that i might injure myself somehow before i could finish the challenge.  while i generally held it together since day one, the final two days had me wobbling around like a errant marble in the mornings.  fortunately, by the time the afternoons rolled around, i was feeling fresh and ready to run. i even broke my PR for the mile at 7:34 on one of those days.

friday was the 30th and last day of the challenge.  i made tentative plans to hit 100 miles on the golden gate bridge, but changed my mind after seeing photographs of the armstrong redwoods reserve.  that afternoon, we packed up the car and headed north to sonoma county.   on our way to the reserve, we picked up our friend, eduardo, in santa rosa.  when we arrived, the parking lot was nearly empty. score!

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after a quick pee-stop at the ranger’s station, we poked quizzically at the map where i would run, and then wandered into the woods.

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1,300 year old trees.  no big deal.

the running path, it turned out, involved a bridge, several hairpin curves hugging a steep ledge, a quarter mile of paved road, and a spongy, pine needle-y pathway flanked by gigantic redwoods.  i had to run four loops of the path in order to complete the last four miles of the challenge.

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holy moly.

for the first two miles, i did some starry eyed sightseeing. i’ve run across the brooklyn bridge at sunset, down the lakefront trail in sunny chicago, and over the golden gate bridge on a clear day, but this was probably the most beautiful place i’ve ever run through.  i kept an eye on the trail, but craned my neck at times to gaze past the trees ahead of me. beyond those trees were vertically sliced views of more trees, going on and on into the distance.  essentially, i was running through the forest moon of endor.

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here i am at mile three, super stoked to see todd, nolan, and eduardo cheering me on.

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YES.  SO STOKED!!!1!1!!

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but seriously, guys.  i did it!

after hitting the 100th mile, i found myself standing alone on the path, out of breath, and dwarfed by the redwoods.  i had earlier learned that some of these fuckers have been around since the magna carta was signed in 1215.  that’s about 800 years ago. what did 38 year old tamara do?  run 100 miles in 30 days?  that’s nothing compared to living through centuries of plagues, wars, and famine.  but you know…what i did wasn’t nothing:

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humbled, sweaty, and at ease, i turned around and ran back to the start where everyone was waiting for me.  for the first time in 30 days, i didn’t have to keep track of my running distance.

now that i’m finished with the 100 miles challenge, i’m ready to take on something new.  i’ll still run, hovering around 60-70 miles a month, of course.  once i figure out what that will be, i’ll let you know.

in the meantime, i’m going to finish up my vacation with mexican food, movies and sleepy-times.

california screaming

84.4 miles down.  4 days to go.

friday of last week was flyday.  i also took that day as a rest day to recover from the week’s mileage (18.66).  i didn’t get to sit still, though–there were trains, trams and planes to catch.  the flight itself was uneventful.  nolan and i watched crappy in-flight movies and took lousy half-assed naps. we got in to SFO pretty late, but since this was nolan’s first trip to california, he was wide awake and super stoked. todd was there to greet us after we landed, and we were reunited as a family for the first time since late june!

on saturday morning, we had brunch at cancun, and took nolan on a tour of uc berkeley (todd’s alma mater).

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handsome boys.

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the weather in northern california takes some getting used to.  the sun is warm, not hot.  the air is cool and dry, not swampy.  i totally underdressed for the day’s activities, having come from nyc where it’s generally hot and swampy.   i made sure to stand in the sun whenever i got the chance.  i’m such a temperature wuss.

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not complaining, though.  it’s lovely here.

now that i’m almost through with the 100 miles in 30 days challenge (friday’s the last day), here are a few things i’ve been experiencing:

  • skinniness. i’ve lost weight.  family and friends are telling me i look thin.  i’ve been eating constantly, but it hasn’t been enough to keep up with the sudden increase in mileage.  problem solved, though–i’m in the bay area this week.  more sourdough bread and mexican food for me!
  • soreness.  i’m trying to keep injury at bay, so i’ve been holding back on fartleks and speed work. it’s hard because i really love sprinting
  • smelliness. my running clothes reek.
  • annoyance.  i hate my running playlist.  i’ve been too busy to swap out some of the songs i keep skipping over.  time to troll spotify and find new music.
  • longing.  i miss spin classes and other forms of exercise.

when i’m finished with the challenge, i’m going to scale it back and run every other day which should be about 60 miles a month.  what with nolan entering high school, and new routines for the fall, i think it’s a realistic goal.

we’re in california until sunday. i’ve got burritos to eat, 15 ish miles to run, and picturesque places to visit.  hopefully i’ll be somewhere pretty when i hit 100 miles.

i’m closing this entry with one of my (and everyone else’s) favorite dead milkmen songs that quotes other songs:

awesome & terrifying

58.08 miles down.  11 days to go.

on friday afternoon, i packed it up and hopped on a bus heading to maine. everything they say about greyhound is true.  it is truly the worst bus line to take.  the a/c busted on the first leg to boston and the driver was rude to everyone . the second leg of the trip ran over an hour late, and involved bellowing barefoot babies in diapers scampering up and down the aisle.  i also had the displeasure of sitting next to an insufferable woman.  she kept invading my personal space with her elbows of valyrian steel.  i was poked in the ribs five times!   it got to the point where i had to mash myself up against the window.

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oh so uncomfortable.

i took pictures to pass the time i spent pressed against the glass.

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as a kid, i used to pass this place on my family’s many trips down through boston from new hampshire where i grew up.  i always knew that we were “almost there” when we’d pass the iconic sand & gravel co.

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i was relieved to jump off of the bus in portsmouth, nh. sweet freedom!  farewell, lil’ miss pokey-poke and the diaper twins!  goodbye, smelly bus!  my dad picked me up at the station, and together we made the rest of the trip up to wells, maine.

once we arrived, i jumped out of the car and reunited with nolan. he looked like he grew over five inches since he left in july for grandma and grandpa’s. when i went in for a hug, his shoulder collided with my forehead.  surreal.

after settling in and unpacking, i wrangled my feet into my running shoes. desperate to shake the afternoon’s travel off of me, i took off down the lane, little dust clouds blooming behind my heels.

i took a hard left onto mile road. i’ve driven down mile road from my parents summer house to the seawall countless times, but i’ve never experienced the road as a runner. i could smell the familiar metallic scent of the saltwater marsh, delivered on the wind that skimmed across the tall grass. inspired by the scenery, i uncorked my earbuds and ran to the droning sound of chirping crickets.  i also chose to ignore the mild pain jabbing my calves while i made my way to the seawall.

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somehow, the coast of maine always manages to pull its shit together just in time for me to take a picture of it.

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i tried pulling my own shit together here as well, but i wasn’t as successful.  todd took a photo of himself while running earlier that day in berkeley, california, so i thought it would be cute to make an east coast/west coast photo collage. it didn’t come out so cute. i laugh-cried over it for a few minutes, as did todd.

the run itself was a fast one, and i was happy with my splits, but i was hurting.  it felt like my calf muscles were tearing away from my bones with each step i took.  i forced myself to take a rest day on thursday, but leading up to that point, i had run 9 days in a row.  rookie mistake.  of COURSE i hurt.  i didn’t give myself enough time to recover.

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after eating dinner, nolan, my sister and i walked over to the scoop deck ice cream shop.  it’s a yearly tradition of mine to reward/punish my gut with three large scoops of delicious black raspberry ice cream.  no regrets this time around.  a pound of ice cream in the belly is good for recovery, right?

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post ice cream shenanigans.

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i spent saturday hanging out with the family, barbecuing and playing with my baby niece.  in the late afternoon, i headed out for a run on the beach at low tide.  a slow run. from the very start, i was feeling sore in the calves.  while i happy to be running on the beach with the ocean wind at my back, i was kind of bummed out.

on sunday morning, we all headed to drakes island.  instead of sitting on the beach, nolan and i chased each other down the jetty. the gaps grew increasingly wider between the rocks on our way to the end, so i slowed down quite a bit halfway through.  nolan, however shuffled across them barefoot like it was no big deal–it’s both terrifying and awesome to watch as a parent.

sunday’s miles had me skittering over a groaning, old treadmill in my parents bedroom. boo!  but yay–it felt better on my calves!  but still, boo!  i have over 40 miles to run before the end of the 30 days challenge on august 22nd.

howamigoingtodothat???

i’m worried, sore, and annoyed, but i think i’ve got this.  i am going to have to run the rest of those 40+ miles like i handled those rocks on the jetty–very carefully.

mutiny

44.55 miles down.  17 days to go.

woah!  i’m almost half way through the 100 miles in 30 days challenge.  prior to starting the challenge, my monthly averages hovered around 50 miles, so pushing it up to 100 miles is a major increase.  while i’ve been generally gung-ho about it, my body feels like it’s about to stage an epic mutiny.  because of this, my last two runs had me feeling a little disconnected from my body. we all know that the first mile is a lie, right?  my legs are now taking up to two miles to realize what they’re supposed to be doing.

with my metabolism newly fired up, my eating habits are out of whack.  i’m hungry at all times, under any circumstances.  i’m hungry for the wrong things, and those wrong things taste so good.  at like, midnight.  much tummy troubles.  very ouch.  i haven’t felt this physically challenged since i was pregnant with my son!

can i have a little whine with my cheese?  if there’s cheese, then the answer is probably yes.

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last night’s run was the long run of the week at 6 miles. knowing how my legs have been misbehaving, i paced myself so that i could make it through without rage-quitting in the middle of my planned route.  the splits were all over the place because i plodded down the west side highway taking my sweet-ass time, enjoying the view.  after coming off of the brooklyn bridge, i was nearly flattened by a frozen yogurt food truck that ran a red light. shaken, i managed to continue on to run the fastest split of my commute home.  there’s nothing like a sudden existential threat to get you moving along a little quicker!  also, yelling “WHAT THE FUCK?!?” will do it, too.

Continue reading “mutiny”