Tag Archives: life

A bad run.

I’ve mentioned here before that I’m training for a marathon.

This morning’s training run was awful. Okay, maybe not awful… but not good. Not good at all.

I just couldn’t move naturally. Everything felt heavy and stiff. I set the treadmill at a pace that normally feels easy and comfortable and natural to me, and I felt like I had bricks for legs. When I bumped to a sprint (it was an interval workout), I was panting like a dog. Normally my sprints light me up and then tire me out, but this one drained me right off the cuff.

I told myself right away that I would finish the workout, even if I had to walk a few times. I did let myself slow to a walk a few times during my easy intervals – though for no more than 45 seconds – and still felt out of whack. I did all six circuits, but I felt like garbage. Heavy, stiff garbage.

I just couldn’t get comfortable. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no stranger to discomfort. I’m training for a marathon after all. But there comes a point in every run when you just kinda settle into your pace and go. My eighteen-miler on Saturday felt like that. Once I hit a good stretch of trail, I found a rhythm and relaxed into it. I did get tired and my running got kinda wobbly, but I kept going without exorbitant effort.

Today? Not so much. I had to work for every damn step.

Of course, during the run I composed a comprehensive list of possible reasons why this particular run was so awful:

1. I didn’t warm up enough.

Possible. I really didn’t, and I hadn’t done a sprint workout in two weeks, so I could’ve just startled my body.

2. I’m still recovering from being sick.

Unlikely. I’ve covered over 20 miles since then without trouble.

3. I’m still recovering from my 18-miler.

Mildly possible. Yesterday’s run was fine, but there were no sprints, so maybe I’m not back in it for sprints yet.

4. I’m not cut out for speedwork.

I am finding that I don’t enjoy speedwork and much prefer to just go and let myself enjoy the run, but I think that’s preference rather than biology.

5. My supper last night was abnormal and didn’t fuel me very well.

Reasonably possible. I had polenta and roasted veggies last night. It was delicious but not a supper I have often, so maybe I didn’t get enough fuel out of it. The rest of my diet yesterday, however, was normal, so it couldn’t contribute that much.

6. I’m a terrible runner and I should just quit and who the hell am I kidding I can’t do this I want to go back to bed.

Yeah, this crossed my mind. I’m not proud. I also know it’s not even remotely true, because the mostly likely reason is:

7. Bad workouts just happen.

They do. There are bad stretches of everything in life. Bad days at work, bad nights of sleep, bad batches of cookies, bad relationships, bad friendships, bad fights with your sister, they just happen. Sometimes there’s no reason, and that’s okay. All that matters is that you decide when it means “quit” and when it means “brush it off, kid, and get back to it tomorrow.” See that list I made up there? Toss it in the garbage and just get back to it.

My dad always says that a really bad run is what makes you a runner. Being able to work through it, keep going, don’t let it discourage you, don’t let it make you feel like you can’t. Which is why I’m going to finish up this smoothie, take a shower, stretch it out in yoga today, and then get up bright and early tomorrow and get right back up on that treadmill.

Because I am a runner.

Also: let’s just talk about the fact that I managed to keep myself from making any digestive jokes about “bad runs.” Does this mean I’m an adult now?

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Day 37: gettin’ stuff done.

Just because I want to show off, here’s a list of all the stuff I accomplished after work today:

1. Caught up on all the dishes that didn’t get done when I was in school or sick.

2. Signed up for my CSA box.

3. Paid bills.

4. Made a student loan payment.

5. Emailed my uncle about a possible visit.

6. Registered for a race.

7. Cleaned out my fridge.

8. Made (and ate) guacamole.

9. Clean all the papers off my counter and recycled/stored them as needed.

10. Watched some Big Bang Theory (haters to the left).

11. Looked up some recipes and read a few articles.

12. Wrote this here post.

13. In bed with my book by 8:45 p.m. (forthcoming)

Nights like this are my favorite. I didn’t get started on cleaning out my closet, but maybe I’ll get a jump on that this weekend! I was reading about Project 333 today, and I’ve already eyed down my closet in passing. There are quite a few pieces hanging in there that will soon be under the line of fire.

I can tell I’m still recovering from being sick. I felt tired this afternoon after yoga, which usually perks me up, but the combination of that and my first run since illness was probably a little much. Also, my guacamole supper made my tummy just a liiiiittle fussy, probably from the fatty avocado and salty chips. Especially dumb since I almost never eat salty stuff anyway, so… yeah, it’s a learning curve. Thankfully, my body’s pretty tough, so as long as I put it to bed early (which is where I’m headed right after I click “Publish”), I should wake up feeling fine. I’ll be careful to drink lots of water and eat well and clean tomorrow, especially since I have to run 18 (!) miles on Saturday for my training.

Man, I feel good. My apartment still isn’t immaculate, but it’s on the way!

Hugs. Go clean something, it’ll perk you up.

Day 36: in which I get all crankypants.

I don’t know what the eff to write about today.

And it’s annoying me. This project is starting to make me feel resentment. Maybe because it’s every day, maybe because I’ve pigeonholed myself into a God-centered blog, maybe because I just don’t have enough interesting thoughts on a given day to crank out a meaningful post. I don’t know. Either way, I’m not feelin’ it.

I have a lot more things I want to write about. I want to write about why my vegan diet is grounded in my Christian beliefs. I want to write about running, my running tips, the races I’ve done. I want to write about going vegan and tips for eating a vegan diet and recipes for vegans. I want to write about social justice issues. I want to write about all these things but I’ve almost scared myself out of it.

Because the internet is full of people who are really, really mean. The ladies at TheFrisky.com sometimes post pictures of their outfits, and people actually post comments trashing their bodies. Seriously. Trashing their bodies, telling them they’re fat, ugly, out of shape, all this crap that is so unbelievably rude and hurtful.

And it doesn’t stop there. Christians bash each other for not being Christian enough or not following the bible correctly. Vegans bash each other for little slip-ups like not knowing the sugar they buy uses charred animal bone in the refining process. Women bash each other for being fat, men bash each other for being skinny, parents bash each other for raising their children wrong, kids bash each other for listening (or not listening) to their parents. When we’re hiding behind our screens, we can’t leave each other the hell alone. We’re MEAN.

And it’s terrifying! What if a Christian tears into me for supporting gay marriage and thinking the Westboro Baptist church is hurtful and cruel? What if a vegan shoots me down for occasionally drinking beer made with honey? What if a runner tells me I’m an idiot for preferring minimalist shoes? Do I just trust that God will give me strength and discernment in dealing with said folks? What does it mean to rely on him when a good majority of blog-hoppers don’t even believe he exists?

But then there’s the joy of being connected to other vegans, other runners, other Christians. Not everyone is so buoyed by the anonymity of the internet that they feel free to unleash their personal furies on everyone that pops up on their Google search. Are the thoughtful, considerate folks worth the threat of the hurtful ones? Is every enjoyable, thought-provoking conversation worth every person who starts a petty argument with no thought of considering the other person’s side?

I sure as hell haven’t figured out the answers to any of these questions. But here I am, once again, with a whole post when I started in confusion. Once the challenge is over, I can take more time to write my posts and edit them for thoughtfulness. I can open up my target audience with more topics. I can start building more pages for archives or specific subjects. But for now, I’m just bangin’ out words, scared of pissing someone off.

And sometimes having no idea how to conclude. So… yeah, bye.

Day 35: an explanation.

I missed two days of blogging. In a row.

Sunday, I chose to skip. I was with folks all day. I went to church in the morning and out to lunch right after. My friend and I spent the afternoon get our nails done, and then my boyfriend and I went back to church for a core team meeting. We then hung out at my apartment until fairly late, since we barely saw each other last week. By the time he left, it was past my bedtime and I knew I would feel nothing but resentment if I had to bang out a post when I was ready for bed. So I skipped, with every intention of apologizing yesterday.

Yesterday, I wound up getting so sick I could barely function. I first felt off-kilter just as I was leaving work and found myself shivering on the bathroom floor less than six hours later. I had chills and aches and muscle cramps. You know, your average miserable flu patient. I finally told my boyfriend to go home once I started throwing up. The sicker I get, the less I want company. Sniffles? Sure, hang out, dote upon me. Bad headache? You can stay, but keep your distance. Vomiting? Get the hell away from me.

Thankfully, it was a true 24-hour bug. I woke up absolutely miserable with aches and that icky my-skin-hurts feeling, but I spent most of the day napping, watching movies, and nibbling saltines and finally felt mostly normal by late afternoon. So here I am. Writing. And eating oatmeal. Real food!

I did have a surprising moment, though. It happened last night, after I’d kicked Jackson out and dragged myself from the bathroom floor to the couch. I was curled up under my blanket, being totally pathetic and making noises halfway between a whimper and a sob. I was so uncomfortable, so miserable, so unbelievably sick that I actually started talking to God. I wouldn’t call it formal prayer, per se, but I was asking, out loud, for him to help me, to heal me. Please, I begged.

I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. I’m still learning how to turn to God in time of need. A few months ago, I was upset over a hurtful comment and cried it all out to God himself, but this time I was just physically miserable. And I asked him for help. I didn’t notice a marked difference, but just asking for his help… helped.

And he clearly listened, since I’m now halfway through this bowl of oatmeal with nothing but happy sounds coming from my tummy. To think I had my chin on the toilet seat not 24 hours ago… God is good indeed.

Hoping you are well.

Day 25: good things.

A lot of good things happened today. Like one of those days where God just throws a grab bag of good stuff at you. Know what I mean? Since I’m not exactly firing on all pistons after my big day (ahem, see #3), I decided to cheap out and write a list. Hey, YOU try banging out 40 straight days of excellent posts!

GOOD THINGS:

1. I volunteer at an animal shelter nearby, and I was there for an hour or two this morning. I typically help clean out cat cages on Saturday mornings, which means I share a sink with the woman in charge of small critters such as bunnies, guinea pigs, etc. This morning she told me she admired my work ethic and gentleness and asked if I would be willing to receive special training so I could work more closely with the little fluffers. How could I say no? I was so touched and so thankful that I could help her. Plus: bunny snuggles!

2. I joined a online message board nearly ten years ago that was made for young fans of a certain fantasy author (don’t judge me for being a nerd, that’s God’s job). I’ve stayed in touch with a lot of the girls, one of whom messaged me today with a very special request. She and I have both recently connected more closely with our faith, and she wanted to strike up a relationship where we could talk about God and his workings in our life. It was the best kind of surprise, and what a blessing! I’m so excited to talk with her!

3. I ran 16 miles today. Did you hear that? Sixteen. Two eights. Four squared. Ten miles, and then half again, and then a little more. It took forever in the slush, and I’m hobbling more than walking, but still. SIXTEEN. AMEN.

4. The peanut butter oatmeal banana smoothie I drank after was the greatest smoothie of my life. I may start a petition demanding that it replace wine at communion. I’m only sort of kidding.

5. I went to a CD release party tonight! It’s a brother-sister pair here in Illinois. I don’t really do artsy things like this, so it was a really, really fun new thing to do! This was three-fold good:

a. My boyfriend opened for them. I don’t know if you have a guitar-playing boyfriend, but it turns you into a major groupie fangirl. Watching him sing and play was so much fun!

b. The duo’s whole family was at the party, and I made friends with their mother. Turns out she and I share a love of athletics! We wound up chatting for at least an hour, swapping stories about our favorite races and talking about “our” respective musicians. I tell you, befriending someone unexpected is the best part of events like this.

c. Kendel and Shep were incredible! Kendel has such a unique voice, and their music was refreshingly original. The lyrics were fun and clever, and the sound was new and different without being intentionally weird. I also want to reiterate how much I enjoyed spending my Saturday night at a local music event like this. Dating a musician has its perks!

6. The leader of my Tuesday bible study invited me over to have supper before group this week. She’s training for a major bike trip (check out her blog!), so we have our distance athletics in common. She wants to chat about veganism and my choice to eschew animal products. I’m really looking forward to spending time with her, and I’m thankful that she reached out! Also: she’s making chickpea sweet potato curry. YUM.

God is good. Little blessings are still blessings, and we must be thankful for each and every one. Right now, I am thankful for the blessing that is my bed, and off I hobble for some restorative sleep. Good night, all.

Day 12: birthdays.

If I even have readers at this point, you may have noticed that I skipped blogging yesterday. It was my birthday and I didn’t feel like making time. Since it was my birthday, I’m letting myself off the hook. One missed day is fine, right?

But I did spend some time thinking about birthdays in general, and how much we build up the idea of the perfect birthday. There needs to be a perfect party with the perfect mix and number of guests, a perfect playlist in the background, a perfect level of enthusiasm for all games, and a perfect spread of food. Expectations are so high.

Historically, I’ve let those expectations have a huge impact on my emotions. Will enough people come? Will we have enough fun? Will I feel sufficiently birthday’d when the sun sets? This year’s plans were slightly derailed at the last minute, and I spent a good hour in a tizzy, panicking that everything would fall through and no one would come and the few attendants wouldn’t have any fun. This is an important day! It can’t fall apart! It must be perfect!

The night wasn’t exactly what I pictured. It was just a few friends, hanging out and eating vegan food and talking and playing games. But when I went to bed, I realized that was all I needed.

Birthdays aren’t about one day. They celebrate a whole year, and looking back at my day 10 post, I have a lot to celebrate. There’s no way a single day can live up to 364 other days of awesome, and that’s okay. It’s just a day, a day to remember and celebrate and be thankful for what God gave you in the last year and for the fact that he gave you another whole year!

And really, your birthday should be about doing what makes you happy, even on a micro level. I ran fourteen (FOURTEEN!) miles on my birthday, so I celebrated with a sense of accomplishment. I cooked all sorts of treats, so I celebrated with the joy of creating food for others, one of my greatest loves. A dear friend from high school traveled to Chicago for the event, and my friends gathered in my little apartment, so I celebrated with fellowship with the ones I love the most. All of my favorite things happened on my birthday, so who cares that they didn’t happen on a massive scale?

My birthday is hardly over, either. I still get to celebrate with my work friends tomorrow (with more food, of course), my friend AJ is taking me out to supper on Tuesday, and I still have a few cards coming in the mail. A birthday is really several days of small, joyful celebrations.

I’ve learned that birthdays don’t need to be massive operations that cause stress and disappointment. They can be celebrations of love, joy, and memory that commemorate a whole year of life with a few friends. That’s what I got.

And that, dear people, is enough.