Sometimes, running is just that extended moment alone — my thoughts more lively
Well, it’s been a while. I would say that I haven’t had the time to write, but that would be a lie. The truth is, I haven’t had the will, or the want. While that is mildly sad to me, it kind of is what it is. Losing my motivation to write on a daily basis is understandable under the circumstances; I’m working around 45-55 hours a week and running about the same total in miles, all in the hot ass sun. Some days I don’t even want to run, and that’s understandable as well. It’s not always easy and fun.
Mostly, training has been decent. At the time of my last post, I was just beginning the schedule. Since then, there have been some ups and downs but for the most part it has been smooth sailing. Two weeks ago, however, I took a week off. I was experiencing so much fatigue at work and during runs that it started to affect my mental well-being. I wasn’t able to communicate effectively with co-workers and customers. My relationships felt burdensome. I probably should have taken the break earlier, but it took me some time to accurately locate the problem. I kept telling myself, “You’re training, of course you’re tired,” but at a certain point I knew something was wrong. I was feeling anxious at work and even around people whose company I enjoy. So that’s when I decided. I’m so glad that I made that decision. My energy levels went back to somewhat-normal and my head cleared, kind of putting me back where I needed to be. It might be that I lost a little fitness, but that’s far less important than maintaining my mental stability.
All that is not to say that training has become easier since the break. Just when I thought the heat had reached its peak, the humidity cranked up as it always does in August. I had to rethink my routes for long runs. On the first 24-miler, I tried breaking up the miles into two 12-mile loops with a break halfway at my apartment to refuel. That worked pretty well, but the last 3-4 miles turned into a death march. So the next 24-miler, I broke it up into four 6-mile loops. This strategy was much more effective. With the additional stops, the average pace of the two runs was similar, but I was able to finish the run… running, not walking. Also, the rest of the day I felt okay, not like a zombie. This Sunday is the 30-miler, so I’ll do five 6 mile loops. Luckily, the next day is Labor Day, so I don’t have to work. The training schedule calls for active recovery but no run. My goal is to complete the 30 miles on Sunday and still do 5 miles on Monday, but if I feel terrible then I’ll take the rest day as scheduled.
I am going to try to post again before the race, at least once. I mean, come on, I can do that. And then I’ll post again after the race to review and summarize.
Hopefully, New Orleans and all the affected areas bounce back quickly from this hurricane. From what I’ve read, it seems like getting electricity back up and running will be the biggest challenge. I really want to be able to run the race, but at this point it’s not very important in the scheme of things.
This photo is objectively bad, but it is not intended to show this bumper sticker in any artistic way. It’s only intended to show the content of the bumper sticker. I had never seen/read this particular saying and I found it to be true, or at least to be a statement that I wish to be true. Mostly referring to bathroom activities that unfortunately occur outside of bathrooms, “What happens on the long run, stays on the long run.”
At this point, I didn’t do a long run today. I just did my every Sunday 2 hour run. 13 miles @ 9:35 pace. It didn’t feel long in time or in distance. I had a little pain in my left foot, around the ball of my big toe, about miles 7-9. Nothing too bad. It went away. I had a little pain in my right foot, around the same area, about miles 9-11. That went away too. Then I had some, I don’t want to say pain, more like irritation, in my left calf from mile 11 to the end. I think that was due to me not tying my left shoe tight enough. My heel was lifting slightly and I was too stubborn to stop and fix it. Pretty stupid. Not like I was on some kind of record-setting pace.
I had a very easy time mentally blocking out those pains I had today. I guess now I can tell the difference between pain that is serious, and pain that is fleeting. Now, sitting on the couch, I don’t feel any of those pains. I also think my mind is in a good state right now. I’m distancing myself from the negativity that was creeping into my thoughts and kind of plaguing me a few days out of the week. Just waking up in the morning and thinking about all the things that can go to plan instead of thinking about everything that can go wrong makes a big difference on my outlook. Not stressing about a bedtime that’s set in stone is helping as well. I would really like to get 8 hours of sleep but it’s not realistic. 7 hours, maybe. 6.5 is doable every night and I feel ok in the morning and throughout the rest of the day. I catch up on my days off and go about my business. Worrying about it multiplies whatever tiredness I may feel. So cheeseball but just thinking positive thoughts is important, apparently.
But I can’t stay positive without a few positive occurrences… occurring. I met someone and today we are going for a walk. Hopefully a long one. All kinds of excited, and a little nervous.
Today, I felt like this guy. All disjointed and in need of a bench. 12 miles @ 9:45 pace. Very difficult for the pace and distance when compared with my last few runs of similar pace and distance. I never hit a wall, but the whole time, I felt as if I was pushing some kind of imaginary weight, and if I tried to speed up, the weight would turn into a wall; if I slowed down, I wouldn’t have enough momentum to continue pushing. Contributing factors were not very good sleep last night – I went to sleep late and had a lot on my mind so I didn’t get right to sleep – and heavy humidity that was wet blanket-like. The wind was also strong in my face on a few sections, which helped cool me off, but slowed me down and made me work harder. Kind of a trade-off, but I had to think about it, like think through why I was feeling cooler but not feeling any energy return, and thinking about it, the mental toil, is also taxing. Slightly dreading the runs to come when it is exactly how humid it was today, but with no wind, and temps in the 90s. Adjustment time. The positive from this run is that I talked/thought myself through it, and never thought of walking it in. The deeper I get into summer, the longer the runs are going to get, and I’ll need more determination and grit than I have now. It’s been a minute since I was ready for 20 mile runs when the heat index is 100+.
Everything is connected, but non-running-wise, this week was a big improvement over last week. I didn’t feel like I was on that seesaw from struggle to ease but one day. It was bad that day, but I talked/thought myself through it and made it a decent day instead of an angry one. Work is finally smoothing out to a point where I think I know what to expect, and that is a huge help.
About to leave and go get my first shot. I’m getting the Pfizer one. It’s raining like crazy and I have to drive to Venice. It was the only place I could find doing both shots on Sunday, when I know I don’t have to work. More soon.
Today I ran 13.1 miles at 9:10 pace. It was one of those days that I anticipated in an earlier post, where I said that I would have the urge to run semi-long, even though I don’t need to. It’s tough to know when I shouldn’t run as far as I want to. It always feels right to run far if I have the time and the energy. I ran straight down the trail, away from downtown, and bypassed Clam Bayou and it’s water fountain this time. I ordered a handheld water bottle for days where I don’t wear the hydration vest, but need to have water with me. So that worked fine. Overall, it was a fine run. Not strenuous until about mile 10, where I started to notice how slanted the asphalt on the trail is at that section by Gibbs High. I never noticed it until today, and possibly it’s not even all that bad, but my left ankle was telling me otherwise, and I had to grind a little. It’s fine now. When I got past that part, I was able to run easier and my best mile splits were the last two miles. Had a pretty good time out there, but this was one of those runs where, mentally, I just had to suck it up and get it done. My heart wasn’t really in it.
Afterwards, Eddie came over and we went for a long ass walk down to the pier and then around downtown. Total time walking was about 2.5 hours, after I ran for 2 hours. It was the first time I had seen the new pier, so that was cool. It’s a little strange to me though, the thought process that went into the design. There’s a big castnet thing draped over a section of playground at the entrance to the whole place. If I remember correctly, it’s a playground. Just from looking at the castnet during the day, I couldn’t tell if its’ purpose is artistic or if it has some functional purpose. Eddie said it lights up and changes colors at night, so maybe it’s a functional piece of art, but during the day it just looks like a giant’s castnet, thrown over a playground for normal size children. Then, there’s a berm. Just a berm. I saw a few people lay down on the ground at the top of the berm with their arms at their sides and their legs tight together and try to roll down the berm like they were logs. That’s really the only purpose I can see that berm having. It can’t be a comfortable place to stand and hang out, what with the uneven footing. Then there’s the rooftop bar, which I totally get. There used to be a rooftop bar at the old pier, so, continuity. But the real problem for me is, the only part of this pier that’s an actual pier is at the very end of the entire structure, and it is minuscule in relation to the rest of it. Used to be, the pier was a pier. You could fish off of every inch of concrete that hung over water. Now, the place is like a theme park without rides. I’m just a grumpy, old man. I will say, architecturally, it is pretty cool looking, if not organized or cohesive.
Eddie doesn’t take showers before work. He says it’s because he’s just going to get hot and sweaty anyway. I do take showers before work. Because it wakes me up.
I went to my Mom’s for Easter dinner, at 4:45. That’s when old, grumpy people eat dinner. (I’m gonna eat more; I ran 13 miles today.) We talked about everything that is good and everything that hurts. There is a lot of both right now. My life feels like an alternation of ease and struggle and I have no warning when one will shift to the other. Maybe that sounds awful, but it’s been an accurate description of my life for a while now. It’s just that the circumstances of why that alternation is occurring are now different. It will take a while to get to where I want to be, I think, but I am headed in that direction. We talked about that.
Gonna try to have a good week.
I went to Fort Desoto to run today, clearly. 6.4 miles at 10 minute pace.
No matter what I do, I can’t seem to have anything but an average run at Fort Desoto. Stat-wise, today wasn’t supposed to be a fast day at all. Easy 6. But I’m talking about the time that I have when I’m out there, in my head. The scenery is so monotonous, despite it being one of the most beautiful places to run in or around St. Pete. I guess it’s like, if you’re looking at all this great scenery with nothing ugly breaking it up, it becomes almost tedious. Then there’s the wind. Always the wind. I think it’s 10 miles an hour minimum every time I run there. And no shade anywhere. Not surprising I don’t have any great runs here then.
I’m running the New Orleans Ultramarathon (50 miler) on October 9th of this year, barring any unforeseen events. I’m doing that with my friend Myke and I’m super excited. Yesterday, he and I tried to figure out when to start the training plan we’re going with. Seems pretty easy but it turns out that calendars are actually a necessity sometimes. Like, the one on my phone, because it’s not something I can physically touch, flip, or mark up with a pen, was not a suitable enough tool to help me figure out which week we needed to start. Whatever, we got it figured out and it is the last week in April. This is a good thing, as I still need to acquire a few things prior to beginning to train. It’s a 6 month plan, which will be the longest training plan I’ve ever followed. All that said, until then I will be keeping it cool, taking it easy. I will definitely have an urge to run semi-long before then, say 10-15 miles, and I won’t resist it, but I will have to keep in mind that I need to relax and have fun, first and foremost.
My shoe rotation is set for now, but it may change depending on how a few of the new additions work out. I have two of the old workhorse Nike Pegasuses (doesn’t matter which model; after a few runs, they all feel the same to me), the Saucony Kinvara (pretty much same, I don’t even know which model they are; they were the cheapest ones), and the New Balance Beacon 2. I’m not sure how the Kinvaras and the Beacons will work out for running very slow paces, but my idea is that they are light and lack a lot of structure, so they’ll let my foot do what it wants to do. They both have a nice amount of cushion, too. It’s good we have 6 months to train because any issues with the rotation will get sorted out. I’m thinking for the race shoe it will the Pegasus, hence the two pairs.
I look forward to running more now that I am a regular carrier. Even in this past month, since I’ve been living alone, I’ve been able to make time to run at least 6 days a week. With the reduction in hours, however slight, I’ll be able to run more miles as well. Altogether, this increase in running time and distance should lead to reduced stress, improved fitness, and an excellent training block.
We got the Spotify thing figured out. The EP goes up on the 13th of April. Also, on iTunes, they would not let us charge $6.66.
People talking outside my window, go away.
I got to Fort Desoto before everyone else did this morning, save for like 10 people. I park in a spot where I cannot, with the naked eye, see one other automobile. When I come back from my run, there are cars parked on either side of my car, but no other cars parked within 1,000 feet. Why.
Finally a day off. And a pretty good one. I set out this morning around 10 on my run. The goal was just to do 2 hours at a relaxed pace. I set the goal this way because of the heat. It’s getting hotter now, gradually, and I knew that it would be a factor. I’m not used to running in the heat of the day because I run after work when it’s slightly cooler and the sun is closer to the horizon instead of beating down from directly overhead. Turned out to be just slightly harder than I thought it would be. I ended up going 12.7 at 9:30 pace, roughly. I took the trail going away from downtown and then took a left at the Skyway Trail junction. I couldn’t figure out how far the water fountain at Gulfport was but I knew the one at Clam Bayou would be about 6 or 7 miles from my start point and that’s about the distance I needed to go before turning around. Now thinking about it, I think both water fountains are about the same distance from my starting point, but the Gulfport water fountain is sometimes turned off. I made a fine decision, either way. I love the smell of saltwater so it was nice running through the little bayou back there. There was an older guy and his lady/wife/friend riding their bikes past me on the way back and he said, “Looks like you’re doing a great job running!” To which I replied, “I’m doing my best!” Then his lady/wife/friend dinged her bike bell and said loudly, “Bike on the left!!!” Like I didn’t know. It seemed almost like she was trying to discourage her guy/husband/friend from talking to me, because he was in the middle of saying something else to me. Oh well, I’ll never know what it was, but I have an idea that it was about my sweat volume. One other person commented on my sweat volume during this run. Overall, it was a good run. No pain of any kind. No GI stuff. My heart rate was elevated for the pace I was running only at the end of the run, when I was in need of hydration. I think it’s common for my heart rate to jump up towards the end of a run even when I’m fully hydrated, though. It’s the excitement of being done, maybe. I notice that sometimes in the stats, even on short runs.
Had band practice afterwards and that went well. Still need to figure out why Spotify and every other streaming service besides Apple Music won’t post our EP.
Went grocery shopping after that. Had to go to Publix and Trader Joe’s.
Made pizza with cauliflower crust after that. It was not as bad as I thought it would be, but not great. I guess that needs to be explained, ugh. I am trying to cut out as much wheat as I can from my diet. I’m eating things that are gluten-free. No nuts. No seeds. I have ulcerative colitis. It makes my life more difficult, but like anything else, once I get used to it, that will be the norm and I won’t think of it as difficult.
Oh, it’s been a long time since I have had the time and correct head to write here. It feels strange, like I am writing to an audience that doesn’t exist. That’s not too far from the truth, I guess. I’ve been writing in a journal that’s contained within my computer, but at some point I knew I would come back here. Today felt right, because of the run mostly. I can’t make any commitment to frequency here. All I can do is remember that it helps me to write for some kind of perceived audience, as opposed to the circuit boards inside my computer. And hopefully, that will be enough to make me write here more often. I’m in a better place to write and run now.
Bulleted list of things happening/happened:
- Black Lives Matter
- Oil change
- Started to notice weakness towards the end of runs
- Began body weight exercises again
- Got to the point with my job where I no longer care and it makes it much less stressful
- But still stressing
- New windshield sun shade
- 1 song for EP done, another halfway done, 4.5 to go
- Other music project is being exciting
- Reaffirmed to myself that running is completely necessary for my wellbeing
- So are workdays that end ~ 5
- So I can run
- And then sleep
- And go to work again
- Black Lives Matter
- Guy said to me while I was working, “All we need is to get rid of this president and for the temperature to drop and we’ll be doing just fine.”
- Realized maybe we move to the mountains eventually
- Ran 7 miles today at 10:20 pace and I don’t care because it felt beautiful to have sweat streaming down my body
- Soggy socks
- That chicken crossed the road
- And, Black Lives Matter.
I got my new vest and new headphones this week. Ran with the new headphones on Friday, and was pretty happy overall. Jabra headphones don’t mess around when it comes to bass. That Friday run was a half hour after work thing, just relaxing and cruising. Today I ran 15 at 11:00 minutes a mile with the new vest. I’m very happy with the choice I made. No more bruised ribs. Just have to get used to pocket placement but no big deal.
A theme at work for me this week was just to stop caring. Not about the quality of work I do, but about the little, annoying, extraneous things that I can make too much of. It’s like I want to have a fistfight with time — the concept, or construct, or very real thing which rules many (most) people’s lives including mine — over not being home earlier. I can’t care about it when I’m at work because it makes me super anxious, like wound up tight, and it’s another challenge in itself to get unwound. So maybe not such a little extraneous thing, but annoying to be sure. And things plural I said. I love my job because of the people I get to talk to. That’s one reason. But sometimes my interactions while working are very difficult to process. I take it to heart when someone displays even the slightest amount of negativity towards me and/or the quality of my work. That Abraham Lincoln quote though, especially with over 600 people to please. What running blog? This is about work today.Continue reading “5/24/20”
Kind of an in-between Sunday. Sundays are inherently good. No work. Time to reset, to regroup, and… clean stuff. But there’s like a smell that I can’t quite identify. Not a bad smell really, just a smell, and the fact that I can’t figure out what it is bugs me a little.
Housekeeping, I guess – I assumed I would be writing more than once a week. After last week, when it felt so great to post something here, I was like, back. I can’t make a commitment that I feel unsure about though, and at this point a weekly post count seems like it would get in the way of my big, important LIFE, life. So the approach that seems more practical is to take pleasure in the time I spend here, whenever I choose to spend time here. This place is a place my mind goes to, more than anything else.Continue reading “5/17/20”