Monday, June 27, 2016

Letting Go of Stress and Worry - June 27, 2016

As summer begins, I am learning to let go and do without a lot of the noise in my life.  To be sure, every life contains a certain amount of chaos.  Most chaos visits in uninvited spurts: car wrecks, illnesses, sleepless nights with unhappy children, vague assignments, hard deadlines.  Other chaos is invited in willingly, even joyfully.  What begins as a hobby or a volunteer project or even a simple social engagement can quickly escalate until it creates more stress than it relieves.

I have been experiencing a lot of both type of chaos in my life lately.  I am feeling a real need to simplify my commitments and rest my body and mind.

Now, I realize that -- as much as I would like to -- I cannot wave a magic wand over my life and remove everything that is causing me stress.  I am learning to be more patient.  I am learning that I cannot control every facet of my day-to-day experience.  I can, however, create a restful and meditative state of mind by reducing some of the more physically exhausting things I do.  To this end, I have started cutting out late nights, driving in traffic, and running in summer heat.

This is my choice.

I spent the past week doing exactly the physical exercise I wanted to do -- no more and no less.

Monday - Summer solstice, with a glorious full moon that stayed up past early morning twilight.  I wanted to run on trails with my dog.  We enjoyed the predawn light, and she chased a rabbit (while attached to my waist with the hands-free leash, natch!).  I saw six of my friends.  I quit when it got hot.  3 @ 9:27.

My wild little coyote.

Tuesday - 75 minutes of vinyasa hatha yoga.

Wednesday - 70 minutes of weight lifting with my friend Katherine, and a huge cup of amazing coffee to follow.

Thursday - Nothing at all.

Friday - 70 minutes of weight lifting with my friend Katherine, then 40 minutes in the pool with Katherine and some other triathlete folks.

Saturday - Saturday Morning Long Run with the Birmingham Track Club.  The weather was abysmal...92 degrees and 85% humidity.  I felt real pain on this run, but stuck it out.  My running buddy Andrea got some heat exhaustion midway through this run, and another friend and I dragged her into a Starbucks and stuffed her bra full of ice.  After some electrolytes and cold water, we jogged the last three miles at a pace I can only describe as "heroic."  I'm glad I went.  Amazingly enough, the Chevron station near the track club HQ was doing a promotional event and handing out free ICEE drinks.  I helped myself.  10.25 @ 9:47.

The "Before" picture.  I'm front and center in a pink bra top.  It happens. 
Have a fantastic week, everyone.

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Week of Workouts - June 20, 2016

Hello and happy Monday, everyone!

The sky after Saturday's "long" run.  It seemed especially beautiful to me, but maybe it was the Percocet talking. 

I effectively cut my running mileage in half this past week.  Change is good.  I had some minor surgery on Thursday (with another procedure to follow this week).  The medical procedure itself isn't bad, but I have been completely addled on pain pills ever since.  I am am trying to deal with quite a bit of related stress and worry.  No, it is not anything that specifically affects my ability to run.  But I do need to take better care of my health overall -- particularly by resting a bit more.

Life has seasons.  They are not permanent.

Monday - an hour or yoga.

Tuesday - another hour of yoga!  Look at me, turning into a yoga fiend!  Also, my mom returned from an extended trip overseas, and was able to visit for a day.  It was a really lovely time.

My dog took a selfie, and it's probably my favorite photo from the week. 

Wednesday - 3 @ 8:10 on the treadmill.  It was pouring rain outside, and the gym was packed to the gills.

Thursday - 4.2 @ 8:42 on the trails of Veteran's Park.  I planned to go to yoga, and dressed myself accordingly in the morning.  Then, I bumped into a friend and spent so long chatting that I missed the beginning of the class.  Oops.  Instead, I just headed over to the park for a little run.  Luckily, I carry spare running shoes in the back of my car, but I didn't have socks, a hat, or sunglasses.  I put on some sunscreen and tried to suck it up, but ended up slipping my feet into some handy dog poop bags to help with the friction.  Yes, I wore dog poop bags as socks.  Don't try to tell me I'm not creative!  This run was HOT, HOT, HOT and the temperature was 103 Fahrenheit when I finished.

Poop bags for socks.

Friday - a spin class, which I totally sand bagged.  I was still recovering from the previous day's medical crap and didn't trust myself with anything more strenuous.  The nice thing about cycling classes is that you can take them at your own pace.  We also hosted a large-ish dinner party, and I spent the whole afternoon cooking, which was incredibly entertaining (and distracting -- perfect!).  Planning and cooking for large crowds is definitely one of my favorite things. 

Saturday - 13.1 @ 9:06 with the Long Run group.  This turned out to be a half marathon distance completely by accident, haha.  I ran about five miles early on, then joined the Track Club for a hilly route through Mountain Brook.  I felt really strong and happy the entire run, and was shocked to look down at my watch and see I had already run ten miles.  I turned back at that point, and ended up with just over thirteen.

Happy Father's Day from us!

Sunday - complete rest.  I finally finished reading Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall on Sunday evening, and I ordered the sequel -- Bringing Up the Bodies -- from Amazon almost immediately.  While I wait for it to be delivered, I am reading a nonfiction thriller called Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, by Donnie Eichar. 

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Week of Workouts - June 13, 2016

This will be a quick update.  I'm definitely going to reign in the amount of running I'm doing over the next several weeks, and thinking of sidelining these blog entries as well.  I've had some fairly serious health problems come back to the fore, and I need to focus on resting my body right now. 

Monday - 7.2 @ 9:30 in Spain Park, on roads and trails.

Tuesday - yoga

Wednesday - 7.1 @ 8:36 in Spain Park, on roads.

Thursday - 4 @ 8:49 around my neighborhood, followed by MYRTL and stretching.

Friday - yoga

Saturday - 8.1 @ 9:54 with the Track Club Saturday Long Run group.  I almost skipped, then decided to do an easy run and see how I felt after. 

Sunday - rest

So as you can see, not a whole lot to report.  About 26 miles of running, and two yoga classes.  The end!  Have a great week!

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Week of Workouts - June 6, 2016

Woot!  Summer is here!

Beautiful Veteran's Park.

Monday - 6 @ 9:02, appropriately enough at Veteran's Park.  I met with a group from the BRATS running club (Birmingham Running and Training Society).  They had a brief remembrance ceremony and moment of silence, an hour of running in pace groups, and then some snacks and adult beverages.  All before 7:00 am!

7:00 am

That afternoon, my family drove a few hours to go to a big family picnic at my parents' house.  We had such a good time, that we decided to stay overnight and until early Wednesday morning.

Chilling with old photos of myself. 

Tuesday - 5.1 @ 9:01 with Nate, around my parents' neighborhood.  My dad agreed to watch W while we put some miles in together, which is always a rare treat.  Unfortunately, we ran at 10:00 am, when it was close to 90 degrees and very humid.  Five miles was definitely enough...any longer and we would have needed to stop for water and some recovery.

I look like I've been punched in the face. 

Wednesday -  Complete rest.

The effect that two days with the grandparents has on W.

Thursday - 7 @ 9:02 around Homewood and the Villages of Mountain Brook with some friends who train with Resolute Running.  I wanted to get away from my neighborhood a bit.  I parked in Homewood pretty early on, and did a three-mile lap while I waited for folks.  For miles four and five, I paced some of my friends who were doing tempo (pretty mellow, 9:05 pace).  Then, I sped up a bit coming back into town by myself.  The temperature was pretty decent (about 75), but the humidity was unreal at 99%.  Probably the most humid run I did all week.

Alleys in Homewood.

Homemade ice cream is probably my favorite food. 

Friday - Hour-long Ashtanga yoga practice, then some pull ups.  Heated yoga studios are like NBD for me anymore.

Saturday - 14.3 @ 8:53 on the Track Club's long run.  I got an early start on this one, by meeting Gary and Bryan for five-ish miles at 5:00 am.  I also set up one of the club's water stops, which meant I left home around 4:15.  I threw my oatmeal and coffee in travel containers and consumed them on the drive.  Never again!  I had major indigestion and thirst issues for the first two miles of the run.  I think I'm finally getting somewhat heat adapted, though, because as the sun started rising and people began to complain, I was like, "this isn't too bad, I guess."  I did slow down for miles eleven through thirteen, because I started to feel a little winded.

A big crowd on this run, for some reason.

Sunday - Another day of complete rest.

Doing another virtual yoga retreat, which means yoga in the living room when it rains. 

Totals - 32.5 miles of running, a yoga class, some pullups, and plenty of rest.  Also, I'm pretty proud of the fact that I ate ice cream six times in two days.  So it was an epic week for ice cream training.