Monday, May 28, 2012

On Heat and Broken Glass

Week of May 20, 2012:

Monday: Off, I think

Tuesday: Bike commute + grocery shopping

Wednesday: Short run

Thursday: Bike commute + grocery shopping

Friday: Short run, with coffee beans at the end

Saturday: Errands by bike

Week of May 27, 2012:

Sunday: Long run (50 minutes!)

Monday: Bike commute to work

We seem to be settling into the hot season here, as the temps have climbed into the low 90s recently and my bike commutes have become even sweatier.  I remain committed to putting up a good fight run in next month’s Solstice 10K, in spite of the heat.  My burning desire to not be left in the dust by JD during the race is what keeps me lacing up my sneakers, but blessedly, I had a great 50-minute run yesterday.  You may recall that my long runs have been not so great lately—I’ve been feeling a bit out of shape, I suppose, and not well-conditioned for the heat.  But yesterday was terrific.  It was hot, of course, and I sweated a lot, and I think I have some very attractive sports bra tan lines on my neck, but it was still a great run.  I tried to keep it slow and even so that I could settle into a nice pace, and that worked well.

Tonight I’m a little sad.  I broke my Pedernales Cellars wine glass (because I’m a klutz), and I’m bummed.  It was a stemless wine glass—I happen to like the stemless ones—but it was also a souvenir from the trip to San Antonio that Matt and I took last fall.  That trip was the last fun time we had together when we were really together in the romantic, coupled sense of the word.  Now things are different between us in ways that I find awkward, painful, and disappointing.  It’s now been three months since we last saw each other and about six months since that trip.  The cracks in that wine glass remind me of what feels like the cracks in our relationship and the way that I feel kind of empty now when I think about us.  I know a wine glass is just an object, not a person, and a relationship is more flexible than a piece of glass, but still.  It’s hard not to see my broken wine glass as symbolic of my broken heart.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

One Last Run

Hidden Sunflower

White Flowers

Week of May 13, 2012:

Sunday: Long run! (40 minutes)

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Slept 13 hours

Wednesday: Bike commute + errands

Thursday: Bike commute

Friday: Went for a leisurely walk to The Home Depot

Saturday: Biked for groceries + yoga/strength session

Week of May 20, 2012:

Sunday: Long run—the last one with Christy, for now… :-(

Tap tap tap…is this blog on?  I didn’t mean to let an entire week go by between posts, but such is life with a full-time job, two blogs (ridiculous, I know), and some illness.

Let’s talk about running and friendship.  My friend Christy is leaving College Station to take a new job, and we’re all excited for her.  It’s a bittersweet departure, though, because our group of friends has had so much fun together.  I started spending time with Christy’s gang about ten months ago, and honestly, I wasn’t sure I would still be in College Station in 2012.  There was a good chance that I’d be leaving before Christy because I would be nudged onto the job market.  But Christy hit the market before me, and she’s off to join the Navy.

(The Navy!  I know!  She’s the first woman I’ve ever known who joined the military.  It’s such an interesting decision, and I look forward to hearing more about it after Christy starts her next adventure.)

You might recall that at the end of 2011, Christy and I were training for a half-marathon together, but she was sidelined by an injury, and I ended up doing the race by myself.  Today, for the first time in months, we ran together again.  I wanted to get 40 minutes under my running feet, and we ran about half of that together before Christy sent me on my way so she could walk.  Her hip was bothering her again, and she didn’t want to antagonize it.  (I don’t blame her.)  It was nice to have a friend with me this morning, and it felt like a nod to all the other mornings we had run together.  But this one will be the last one for a long time.

To be honest, I think I’m in denial about her leaving.  Christy has been my partner in crime, my adventure buddy, my favorite woman with whom to drink wine.  We just have fun together.  It’s hard to describe the dynamic between us, but I think because we are both female American scientists, there’s just something that clicks.  Maybe friendship doesn’t need to be explained when it works; you can enjoy it without analyzing it.  That’s how it feels with Christy.

This afternoon, on my way home from the lab, I stopped by the garden and took the photos above.  I was thinking about Christy and what to give her as a farewell gift, and I started crying.  I was overwhelmed by the sense of loneliness I felt as I thought about life around here without her.  I know that we adjust to new circumstances, and as old people leave, new people arrive.  But I think I’m going to feel her absence for a long time after she leaves.  There was something so reassuring about knowing she was always ready for an adventure, a meal, a “let’s hang out together.”  I’ll miss the ease of our local friendship.  But!  We’re already making plans to travel together.  She told me to get a passport, and to get ready, because this is not the end of our friendship. 

I hope she’s right.  {sniffle sniffle} 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fast Twitching

Week of May 6, 2012:

Wednesday: Running speed work-out

Thursday: Bike commute

Friday: Off

Saturday: Errands and grocery shopping by bike (you know, the usual)

I’ve been listening to a podcast called Latest in Paleo in which the host talks a lot about paleo approaches to fitness.  One strategy that paleo fitness people advise is to do high-intensity interval training.  In other words, choose work-outs where you push yourself really hard for short periods of time.  For runners, this means speed work-outs.

I may be a freak, but I LOVE SPEED WORK-OUTS.  Love them.  There is something so powerful, so primal, about pushing yourself to the limit for a short interval.  We’re really talking all-out sprinting here, or something close to it.  When I’m training for a long-distance race, like a half-marathon, I tend not to do any speedwork so that I can focus on good long runs.  But right now, I’ve got a 10K on the calendar, and I feel confident that the mileage will not be a problem.  I’ve done two 50-minute runs recently, and I have a plan to “ladder” my way up to two 60-minute runs in the weeks before the 10K.  When I’m not doing super-duper long runs, it’s more fun to make at least one of my running work-outs a speedy one.

On Wednesday, I hit the pavement for a 14-minute warm-up followed by two 1-minute sprints, with 1 minute of recovery between them.  The sprints were hard but good, which is exactly what they should be, I think.  If they’re not hard, then I always think I’m being too easy on myself!

Tomorrow’s agenda includes a 40-minute “easy” run and a bike ride to the lab to take care of a few things.  I’m dropping down from 50 to 40 minutes in my long runs because I was struggling at 50 minutes.  There’s no need to be struggling with my long runs when I have six weeks until race day.  And this is a fun race, an automatic PR because it will be my first 10K!  A fun race requires a fun training mentality, so I’m just happy to get out there and run.

That’s what it’s all about, right?   

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hey, Montague Bikes!

Hey, Montague bikes!  Want to sponsor this blog?

You guys make groovy folding bikes, and we love bikes around here.  I can think of someone who might be a good candidate for one of your bikes.  Hint: it’s not me.  Well, I might be a good candidate too, but I’m thinking of someone who could make really good use of a bike that stores easily in the trunk of a car.

Stop teasing me with blog comments and become my first Feels Like Flying sponsor, Montague Bikes!  If you’re interested, I can be reached by e-mail at lifeloveandfood [at] gmail [dot] com.

And by the way, I’m definitely interested.  Even though I ride a Schwinn…for now!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

Tuesday Morning

Looking Down

Week of May 6, 2012:

Sunday: Walk with sister

Monday: Bike commute

Tuesday: 25-minute run(!)

Last week was a blur to me, so let it be sufficient to say that it was busy.  So busy, in fact, that once my sister arrived on Thursday evening, I didn’t get a good aerobic work-out into my days until Monday.  That’s four days without breaking a good sweat, and that, my friends, is too long.

It was my fault, really, as I let myself get so wrapped up in being a good hostess that I neglected what is a basic part of my mental health wellness program.  It turns out that I really do need a good run or bike ride most days of the week in order to feel sane, calm, and happy.  My sister Theresa and I took walks together, which was better than nothing, but when she diligently went to the gym each morning to work out, I should have tagged along with her.

After my morning bike commute yesterday, I could feel the difference almost immediately.  Whereas on Sunday I felt overwhelmed and exhausted by my own ambition and worries, on Monday I felt refreshed and restored to calmness.  Even better was going for a run last night.  I hadn’t run in over a week, which was ridiculous, but last night I trotted out 25 minutes around my neighborhood, and it was good.  I’m excited to get into good 10K shape for the Solstice Run next month, and I may even be running a 5K as part of a triathlon relay team.  I haven’t run a 5K race in a long, long time, but I think it will be fun and a great excuse to do some speed work-outs.

Bring on the sneakers!