Sunday, February 26, 2012

Heartbreak Run

Weeds are Beautiful Too

Looking Down

Week of February 19, 2012:

Monday: Recovery yoga

Tuesday: Short run

Wednesday: Bike commute

Thursday: Short run

Friday: Very slow and slightly chilly walk with Matt

Saturday: Another slow walk with Matt and furniture construction!

Week of February 26, 2012:

Sunday: Long, awful run

There’s no easy way to put this: I’m nursing a broken heart today.  Most of the time, I think a statement like that would be followed with a declaration like, “We broke up.”  But that’s not true—the situation is far more complicated than that, and I have far too much hope that things will work out.  Still, Matt and I are operating under different expectations these days, different from our past, and it was really hard to see him in pain and not be able to offer him comfort.  It was hard to see him not turning to me for comfort.  So often he has offered me comfort during hard times, and we’ve grown closer as a result.  Not being able to make him feel better makes me feel like a failure.  It makes me feel like our relationship has failed too, which is really scary.  We’ve always been able to work things out!  But we’ve never faced anything like this.

I don’t want to say too much, in part out of respect for Matt’s privacy and in part because this isn’t a tidy little story with an obvious problem that could be analyzed to reveal an obvious solution.  Suffice to say that when I set out on my long run today, I was feeling pretty drained, emotionally.  I was hoping my run would make me feel better.  But at my first stopping point, a street-crossing on Texas Ave., I felt really dizzy and nauseous, so I sat down.  I must have then laid down and passed out, because the next thing I remember was a lovely young woman waking me up and asking me if I was okay.  She offered water and a ride home, but I declined.  Then another woman in a car came by and asked if I was diabetic, to which I said, “No.”  She was suspicious as I tried to say I was okay (I wasn’t, but eh—it was worse than low blood sugar).  I kept saying, “No, thank you” to all their offers of help, and I crossed the street and sat down on a stone structure.  I still felt dizzy and kind of sick, but I hoped the feeling would pass.  I stood up and walked for a bit, then I resumed my run.

It was a seriously awful run.  I was fighting tears on and off, I took more walk breaks than I can count, and I was slow as molasses on my feet.  I thought about turning around many times, but I kept moving forward, perhaps hoping to find some solace in the comfort of my run.  Somehow I managed to run for 92 minutes (at a very, very slow pace), and I came home and cried some more.  I drank some water and went outside for a little walking cooldown, then I came back and ate a banana, which made me feel marginally better.  But goddammit, it was the worst run of my life.

I feel a little better now, after a shower and lunch and some therapeutic writing.  I’m so sad about Matt and our predicament that I can’t worry about how the half-marathon is next weekend and I just ran the worst long run ever.  He and I are, as the saying goes, giving each other some space, which I think will be good for both of us.  I hope love prevails in the long run.

Monday, February 20, 2012

You Can’t Avoid It Forever

February Dusk

Tree Branches at Dusk

Snack Tray

Week of February 12, 2012:

Thursday: Bike commute + grocery shopping

Friday: Nothing.  Slothdom.

Saturday: Short run

Week of February 19, 2012:

Sunday: Long run!

First, can I get a hip-hip-hurray for the photos?  I haven’t been taking many photos lately because I’ve been really preoccupied with work stuff (thinking about work, doing work, or fretting about work), but yesterday evening, while my soup bubbled away on the stovetop, I headed outside to catch the last of the dusky light.  I especially like that first photo, with the different lights and shades of blue and purple in the sky.

This weekend I think I ran close to the equivalent of a half-marathon: 35 minutes on Saturday and 90 minutes on Sunday.  Woot!  I was really lucky too, as it has been raining cats and dogs around here this month, and I was able to avoid running in a downpour.  On Saturday, it started raining before I headed out for my run, and I thought to myself, You can’t avoid it forever!  If you’re going to run, you’d better go.  But by the time I was all sneakered up and ready to run, the rain had tapered off and the sun even said hello before the end of my run.  Lovely!

Sunday was a dry, somewhat cool run.  I felt pretty good on Sunday—not speedy, but steady and calm.  The last 25 minutes or so were tough.  I could feel the fatigue setting into my legs.  It was a relief to finish, but overall it was a nice long run.  And for the rest of the day, I had that glowy, just-ran-lots-of-miles feeling.

One more long run and then it’s race weekend!  Woot!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Amazing, Amazing, Amazing

Hi, friends!  Happy Friday.

Have you seen Diana Nyad’s TED talk about swimming the 100 miles of ocean from Cuba to Florida?  Please, please watch this talk.  It is so inspiring and deliciously funny.  If you’ve ever thought about doing something crazy just to feel more alive, watch this talk.

(And now I am completely embarrassed that I felt like I wasn’t up for a 35-minute run tonight.  Let’s just say sometimes I answer the siren’s call of the kitchen.  Also, it was raining.  Also, I am full of excuses.)

Anyway, WATCH THIS TALK!  And have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Brick Run, Sort of

Week of February 12, 2012:

Monday: DIY Recovery Yoga

Tuesday: Bike commute and short run

Wednesday: Off (off baking cookies, that is)

On Tuesday, I doubled up for a bike commute and run.  My legs felt rather brick-like during the run, more so than other times when I’ve done the bike/run combination.  A brick, for those of you who aren’t triathletes, is a run immediately following a bike ride, and it derives its name from the way your legs feel when you try to hop off your bike and move forward on two feet.  It is, I think, an apt name.

But it was a good run.  I’m having a restless week over here, stuck in that feeling of not being able to get anything done or generate some new exciting data.  I always have a hard time when I feel like things aren’t moving forward fast enough for my taste, so this week, to fake a sense of accomplishment, I’m tackling my numerous piles of stuff at home.  Matt is visiting next weekend, and I always use his visits as an excuse to clean and organize a little more thoroughly.  (Silly man, he thinks I live like that all the time.  Ha!)  So far, I’ve only put away some CDs and cleaned the bathroom a bit, but I have plans, people, I have plans.  My coffee table will soon be nothing but glassy surface and some tastefully arranged decorations.  No more piles of mail and The Chronicle!  I feel better already, just dreaming about the reappearance of more clean surfaces in my apartment.

One more thing: Sure Happy It’s Thursday!  Make it a good one.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Running Short

Week of February 5, 2012:

Saturday: Triumphant short run!

Week of February 12, 2012:

Sunday: Long run

On Sunday, I made the mistake of drinking an enormous smoothie an hour before heading out on my long run.  In a word: Oof!  I felt like a running, sloshing smoothie myself, so painfully full of liquid that I can’t believe I ran like that for 45 minutes.  Luckily, I had a built-in bathroom break when I stopped by the lab to take care of some fly stuff.  When I left the lab, I decided to run straight home and call it a long run.  I ended up clocking about 82 minutes, a few minutes shy of my 90-minute goal, but what can I say: it was getting late, I was getting tired, it was cold, and I just wanted to be done.

Since I fell short on Sunday, I’ll add 10 minutes to one of my short runs this week.  And since I didn’t hit the 90-minute mark this weekend, I’ll try for 90 minutes next weekend.  This adjustment means that at the most, I’ll run 100 minutes before the half-marathon.  I hope it will be enough to prepare my legs for 13.1 miles in one fell swoop. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Weekday Sunset

Week of February 5, 2012:

Monday: Short yoga session

Tuesday: Bike commute

Wednesday: Run!

Thursday: Bike commute (with grocery shopping!)

Friday: Nothing.  Total slothdom.

I’m not sure what’s going on with me these days, but I have been so tired this week.  I know I’m having a bout of intestinal weirdness, which I blame on Monday night’s dinner at Abuelo’s.  (This is the third time I’ve had digestive problems after eating out somewhere in College Station.  And now this is the third restaurant I will put on my to-be-avoided list, which is sad, because we had such a nice dinner there.)

I haven’t kept up with my running schedule this week, completing only one short run during the week.  I hope to redeem myself today with my other short run, and tomorrow I have a 90-minute run on the docket, which terrifies me.  I don’t know how much of my exhaustion is due to running, but I really don’t want another week of feeling lethargic just for the sake of a long run.  The upcoming week is going to be very busy, starting tomorrow, during which I’ll be in the lab for several hours doing one part of a three-part experiment.  For today, other than my short run and some grocery shopping, I hope to perfect the art of slothdom in order to recharge my batteries for another crazy-busy week.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Grinding It Out

Week of February 5, 2012:

Sunday: Long run!

Sometimes I get done running, and it feels like, What just happened?!?  I feel a little disoriented and my body doesn’t feel like my own.  It feels possessed by fatigue and soreness, and it starts demanding carbohydrates and water, stat.  Today was one of those runs.

It wasn’t a bad run, not by any means.  I had 80 minutes on the calendar, and I felt reasonably confident that it would go well because my long runs have been going smoothly—no injuries or even painful soreness or fatigue the next day.  And it did go well until about 40-50 minutes into the run, when my hips started feeling sore.  It was fatigue-sore, not injury-sore, so I kept running.  I hit the 55-minute mark, and I thought, I need to walk.  My hips need a break.

So I walked.  I reminded myself that the goals for this half-marathon training season are 1) to go the distance at the race and 2) to re-establish a running habit for spring.  A little walking during a long run doesn’t hurt either of those goals.  And yet…I haven’t been walking during my long runs, so I felt bad about doing it today.  When you stop to walk, it’s tempting to not finish the run, too, but at that point, I only had 15 minutes left on the clock (I walked at the 65-minute mark), which felt tough but do-able.

I did a final loop around my neighborhood, through the dog park and back toward home.  It was hard—sometimes those last few minutes are the absolute worst part of a run.  But I finished, and now I know I have 80 minutes and 8+ miles under my feet.  I’m anxious about running 90 minutes next weekend, but so it goes in the running life.

How were your latest long runs, my March half-marathoning friends?  A breeze, a grind, something in between?

Time Flies, and so do Birds

Fly Away

Week of January 29, 2012:

Tuesday: Short run

Wednesday: Off (running errands again)

Thursday: Short run

Friday: Half a bike commute

Saturday: More biking (more errands!)

Last week was a busy, rewarding week.  I finished up revisions on a grant that is due this month and got myself organized to start a new set of experiments.  When science was draining me of all mental capacity, my short runs refreshed me and gave me some much-needed time away from the computer screen.

On Friday, my bike commute was cut in half by a terrible, impressive lightning-and-thunder storm which sent buckets of rain sloshing down on our heads.  Now, I’m not afraid to get a little wet.  I may whine, but I am not a wuss.  But this storm was ferocious, so I left my bike on campus in favor of the safety of the bus, and I’m glad I did—some weather is not safe for bikes, especially when the rain is coming down so hard that it’s not clear how well the drivers can see.  I returned to campus on Saturday to retrieve my bike, which thankfully still had both its tires.  (Bike theft is rampant on A & M’s campus.)  Happily reunited with my bike, we rode over to Target, where I spent too much money as usual (who can resist a cute striped dress?), and to HEB, where I bought edible goodies.  All in all, a productive Saturday that exhausted me and let me sleep blissful, restorative, deep sleep.