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Over Halfway February 15, 2010

Posted by wanderinggrizzly in 20 Something, Life, Marathon Training, Quarter-Life Crisis.
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As of yesterday I am seven weeks from the marathon.  Seven weeks!  That’s less than two  months, that’s only 5 more long runs so five weeks of high mileage and then the taper!

I am a little disappointed because I didn’t stick to the training as best as I should/could have.  Not sure if I’ll add marathon runner permanently to my resume.  You spend a lot of time running.  You may be going “well obviously” but I don’t think you can really comprehend how much time you can spend running until you start training for one of these things.  Especially if you’re a slow runner like I am.  It takes me around 3 hours to do 16 miles.  That’s 1/8 of my day, 1/8 of my day spent running, consider you spend approximately 8 hours working (1/3), 8 hours sleeping (1/3) 1/8 is a pretty big chunk!   These longer weeks I am running  34 miles, that’s approximately 374 minutes or over 6 hours of running per week.  I’m not sure I’ll make this a permanent part of my life.  I might aspire to run one a year or maybe even two…   We’ll see how I feel once I finish this thing. Depending on my experience at the VCM I was hoping to do the Missoula Marathon in July.  However it might be full by then and I don’t know if I want to do another one so soon…

For all these miles and minutes to be honest I expected more of a transformation, in my habits, body, and mentality.  While some growth has occured it’s not as drastic as I admit I had hoped for.  My weight is sort of yo-yoing from week to week.  My legs are bigger but harder and my boobs have almost disappeared.  I don’t think anyone who hasn’t seen me for a while will believe I am training for a marathon.  Granted it’s not nearly over yet, I have two more 16-mile runs and three 18-mile runs (I might trade one of those in for a 20 mile run just to see if I’ll ‘hit the wall’ and my other training program has a 20 mile run in it).  We’ll see how I feel once it’s all said and done.  I’m not saying I’m disappointed, I’m 100% positive I made this decision, but let’s face it, the marathon is a metaphor.  This is about changing my life, and while I think I’m made improvements, really I’ve just tweaked it a bit.

One thing is for sure, a marathon is a HUGE commitment, and I’m not even being hardcore about it.  After the marathon I think I’ll take a break from running.  I’m sure I still will, I just won’t be training.  That will give me a little over a month to focus on riding and roping before I head out West again.  I appreciate the insight running has given me into my life so far, but I will definitely need both a physical and mental break from it.

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The Handshake’s Cool Cousin February 2, 2010

Posted by wanderinggrizzly in 20 Something, Life, Miscellaneous, mischief.
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You know what I wish?  That the high-five would recover its place in society.  Not only recover, but improve its station.  As I was grocery shopping today I thought how awesome it would be if someone came up to me and said “You’re buying rawhides?  Nice!” and then we’d high-five.

Think how much better your day would be if you got high-fived by an amiable stranger.

(Thank you first people for the photo)

Deficit of 11 Miles January 25, 2010

Posted by wanderinggrizzly in 20 Something, Life, Marathon Training, Quarter-Life Crisis.
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i.e. I was supposed to run 28 miles this week and only put in 17.

This was a tough running week.  It started out pretty strong with a really nice 4 mile run, where I picked up the pace and felt really good.  For my next run, six miles, I simply did not want to do it.  I was sick of running, sick of training for a marathon and I just did not feel like it.  I still did it.  Usually when I’m feeling negative after I get into the rhythm of the running things take a 180 but this time it didn’t.  With each step I became more irritable and more annoyed.

When I woke up the next day I felt sick.  We’ve been having wet weather here in Raleigh and I think that’s put me a bit ‘under the weather.’  I was also having some pain in my right quad again.  Looking at my work schedule as well as the weather forecast I decided to switch the order of my long run and short run.  In actuality I ended up taking three days off from running.  Between my quad and my sniffles I felt like I was over-training a bit and decided to take a bit of a break.  Friday I went out and bought new running shoes as mine are a year old and starting to actually get holes in them.  I hoped this would give me both a mental boost and help out my quad.  It sort of did.  I wanted to do my long run yesterday but half way through I realized I wouldn’t be able to finish and make it to work on time.  So I only ran 7 miles as opposed to 14.

And hit a mental low.

Part of the mental training in the Non-Runner’s Guide is to attach “…it doesn’t matter” to doubts.  I.E.  “I don’t want to run, it’s raining… it doesn’t matter.”  So I tried to do this here but kept coming back to, if I’m late for work, I might get fired and I don’t want to start a 4-12am shift after a 14 mile run without proper time to rehydrate/refuel.  The consequence of this was an almost tearful drive back to the apartment where all I thought about was how my failure of this week means I will not be able to run a marathon and therefore not be able to change my life.  It’s so frustrating how now I can finally stop worrying so much about finances and instead of feeling good my conscious just goes to something else to fret over.

Especially frustrating was that I am starting to marathon train in other aspects of my life like I outlined last week.  I tried eating right this week.  I did alright, I carbo loaded on the day before what I thought was to be my long run.  I ate lots of veggies (well mostly lots of brussel sprouts yum 🙂 ) and tried limiting my caffeine and alcohol.

So this week isn’t a total wash.  I still get to enjoy my Sunday Mornings (leisurely coffee, CBS Sunday Morning, crossword, blogging and a somewhat productive internet surfing session) and I do feel better about this week’s running performance.  I need to respect my body and this is just one week out of 18 that I am training.  With a little extra push this week I can make it up and I have a yoga training instructor course this week so hopefully that will help my focus.  Which reminds me that I need to practice my breathing techniques this week in preparation.  Also depending on time/money I might start going to a hot  yoga class.  There is a ‘free’ studio close to where I live and I’m hoping I might be able to swing going once or twice a week (it’s a suggested 10-15 dollar donation per class.)

So while I am disappointed in my week this week I am trying not to let it get to me.  I still have 10 weeks to go (!) and while this past week and this upcoming one might be a little shaky with scheduling, I am confident I can get back on track.  (Also I did my weekly weigh in and those extra pounds I gained last week are gone surprisingly, thank heaven for small motivators.)

This Week’s Mileage: 26.5 January 17, 2010

Posted by wanderinggrizzly in 20 Something, Life, Marathon Training, Quarter-Life Crisis, yoga.
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I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to my marathon training.  I started it because I was frustrated I could find no one to commiserate with about my quarter-life crisis.  Now I realize it’s kind of hard to blog about being 20-something and aimless without sounding… petulant?  self-absorbed?  melodramatic?  Besides what is a marathon but a metaphor for life?  Running is one of the best things in my life right now, one of the most reliable and most rewarding.  This is a time where I need to focus on the positive.  Training for this marathon isn’t about being able to complete 26.2 miles.  It’s about changing my life.  Not to say an entry on work or finances or any other aspect of my life won’t slip in, but just like my life this blog needs a focus and the finish line is as good a place as any.

This week I tried to start training for a marathon in more aspects than just the actually few hours a week spent running.  While I haven’t been doing as much as I could it’s a start.  Unfortunately I gained three pounds but I think part of that is I wasn’t properly hydrated when I weighed myself in previous weeks and I was PMSing this week.  What does PMSing mean for me?  All I think about is food, and I cannot stop myself from eating.  When I wake up I immediately head for the kitchen, after breakfast I start thinking about what I’ll have for lunch, any advertisement for food makes me hungry, any moment my brain isn’t active on something I think about food, when I’m one heartbeat a way from calling a psychiatrist my uterus releases and I feel much better about myself and my sanity.

The day before my long run I carbo-loaded.  A lot of pasta and vegetables, I tried to limit dairy and caffeine and was mindful of hydration.  The result?  Well the first three miles I felt pretty tight.  Perhaps the Reebok Easy-Tone sneakers I’ve been wearing to my waitressing job are having more of an impact than I thought.  However I was able to relax and the second and third 3-mile laps were probably the best.  There is one street that is almost entirely an incline and on my second run up it I passed three people who were walking it and that felt pretty good, especially since I knew I was going to run it two more times!  I passed my apt every three miles where I rehydrated as directed and picked up the dog for the last three miles.  She is good encouragement for ‘speed’ intervals as when her adolescent attention wanes I just run a little faster.  Running the same route a few times in a row really alerts you to inclines you didn’t realize were there before.  While my pace was really slow (11:30/mile including hydration and traffic breaks) I still feel pretty good about the run and am only feeling a little sore the next day.

On my shorter runs (two of 4.25 miles and one of 6 miles) I tried to up the pace.  While I was able to I still feel as I can do better.  What surprises me is that while I was able to do it, it is so mental.  I know I can go faster still but it takes a lot more concentration than I am used to.

So what have I learned from running this week?  Now instead of feeling guilty and discouraged that I could ‘do better’ after finishing something I am excited for future opportunities to improve.

For next week I will continue to be mindful of what and when I am eating.  I will utilize more mental techniques.  Also I want to increase my strength training.  I actually have my first yoga instructor training at the end of this month and I’ve designed a few routines already.  I’ll do my ‘running’ practices on my shorter distance days as it focuses on the building strength in the legs and I’ll do my core/upper body practices on my medium and longer days, as they focus on strengthening the core as well as stretching the legs.

“Mother of Exiles” January 9, 2010

Posted by wanderinggrizzly in 20 Something, Equine Assisted Therapy, Life, Quarter-Life Crisis.
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Today was the New Volunteer Orientation at the Therapeutic Riding Center where I am starting to volunteer.  It is a non-profit that offers Hippotherapy and Equine Assisted Therapy.  The difference being that hippotherapy is more concerned with the physical aspect of riding (strengthening of muscles, improvement of balance) whereas Equine Assisted Therapy is more the overall experience (the physical aspect as well as developing language/social skills, lengthening attention spans etc).  The day was broken up into two sessions.  The morning was for new volunteers of all types of experience and the afternoon was for ‘horse handlers’ – volunteers both new and old who had (supposedly) horse experience.  The morning was pretty much fine.  It was very nuts and bolts “This is a horse, do not stand directly behind him.  This is how we load a rider.”  Beautiful.

The afternoon session was a bit like hell.  Horse people are nutjobs.  To be trapped in a room with 12 equine inclined females ‘discussing’ horsemanship for over an hour is brutal.  Everyone has an opinion/input on every aspect of being around a horse.  The question “Should a horse be allowed to eat with a bit in it’s mouth” does not require a 10 minute discourse.  I’m a little concerned I came off as having a bad attitude whereas while everyone else was trying to showcase what they knew I was just smiling bemusedly and nodding.  I totally understand that every barn has their own necessary and sacred way of doing things and I’m completely open to learning it – but don’t treat me like an idiot. Also, I’m not going to learn anything when I have 5 different people telling me 5 different things at the same time.

Sheesh.

I’m probably being too harsh.  For the most part I think that they are all lovely people with commendable passion.  I hope to learn a lot there and do my best for the participants.  I think it was just the stress of the situation coupled with the seemingly inborn neurosis all horse people have.

I cannot wait to work with the actual riders.

I used to think I’m just not a people-person.  I’ve come to realize I am just not a people person for persons of ‘normal’ psychology.  I have no patience for them.

“Give me your traumatized, your physically and mentally poor!
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Is “your physically and mentally poor” offensive?  I was just trying to keep the rhyme.

So while I’m very excited over this new development in my life.  I’m still concerned over scheduling and finances.  Will I be able to juggle 2 jobs (although I officially only have the one), volunteering, having a dog and my fitness aspirations?  Can I get to Montana without dipping anymore into my savings?  Will my barn boss ever call me back or will I add him to the list of idiot men who don’t return my phone calls?  Within one month I’ve done two things I’ve never done before, get a speeding ticked and have an overdraft fee.  I feel these are two mistakes that aren’t necessarily something I can learn from, they are both things I know are stupid and avoidable.

Anyway I digress.  My life is moving in the direction I wanted it to when I planned on moving to Raleigh.  Whether it’s the right direction is yet to be told.