Thursday, July 18, 2013

Boring running stuff

No one wants to talk about this, right? Sorry.

After I got my first "real" job, around the time I started this blog, I would arrive home at 5:30 p.m. and feel spooked by my wide open evenings. I had done the thing I had spent the previous 3 years biting my nails over (getting a job) but instead of relief, I felt unsettled. So I signed up for a half marathon, despite being hardly able to run a mile. And, I did it the way that made sense to me: I followed a training calendar I'd found online, ran alone mostly so no one would have to suffer my wheezing slowness, I mapped out runs in my neighborhood using gmaps pedometer, listened to The Moth podcasts and hip hop on my iPod. I didn't worry about pace, only concerning myself with moving my feet.

I had two "scary runs" and I did the first with a group of friends. I didn't mind having witnesses to my wheezing slowness after all. The other I did on the bike path in my hometown as my mom, hero woman, slowly rode her bike along with me while we chatted. Do you know how hard it is to ride your bike that slow?? I think she fell over twice.
I did it, though! (Aaand let's not worry about the fact that as I crossed the mile 13 marker I decided that running a full marathon was NOT in my plans evereverever.)

Now I run with my phone using a run tracking app (don't worry, I don't synch it to Facebook or Twitter, I'm not a terrorist). I still map my runs out on the computer before I go, but the GPS on my phone helps me too. A female voice cuts into my music and tells me my pace when I hit each mile. I am comfortable with my slowness but I am pushing my pace this time. Marathon training runs can be up to 20 miles, and that's a whooole lot of time to spend pounding pavement when you're so slow. I like running but I want to do other things, too. Eat, sleep, etc.

Once my training runs surpass 13 miles, I'll get that exciting feeling of each long run being the farthest I've ever run. It's nice to feel a quiet accomplishment that concrete every Sunday, especially when projects at work can take months, and your apartment will never stay clean, and the world is running out of clean water and people are detonating themselves in crowded cafes...

It will be interesting trying to maintain my weight while training. Last August, I learned I had high cholesterol (to which I am predisposed but being overweight was not helping). And also, my doc was like hey, you're overweight! and I was like, ok, so that's what I've been thinking!  In the past, I always just convinced myself that I looked fine and that stores were changing their sizing (no) and besides I was too punk rock to own a scale. So for the first time in my life I intentionally manipulated my weight. I lost around 25 lbs between August and January, using a food diary app and ohhh facing my constant need to procrastinate via snacking in the cold light of day.

It might seem like runners should eat whatever but really your appetite and exhaustion can find you eating much more than the energy you expended. Some people gain 10 lbs training for big races. Fortunately, between managing my depression and maintaining my weight loss, I feel incredibly tuned into the Evie machine right now. I feel like I'm at a huge switchboard surveying all the dials for sleep, hydration, hormones, brain chemicals, and nutrition. I'm wearing a headset and there are theremin noises. And I want the machine to run brilliantly but still be able to, say, fit into jeans.

When I second-guess how amateurish and aloof I can be about training (no water belt for me, thanks), I think of my mom running a marathon in the '70s. Long distance running was starting to become popular but running blogs and performance wear and GPS watches weren't a thing.  Mom trained by...running a lot. In her cheap JC Penney sneakers. That's what I'm doing, too, but with slightly better shoes. It'll be fine, I think.

(Cut to me ugly-crying at mile 22 as diarrhea streaks my legs)


  1. I loved how attuned to my body I was when I was training for my half (except for not noticing the severe anaemia, whoops...). Yay for you for being such a trooper!

  2. when the marathon photographer takes a picture of you mid-diarrhea-ing and ugly crying, you better buy it!