Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sweat, snotrockets, beleaguered toenails, and other niceties

Warning:  Not for the delicate, squeamish, or faint of heart.  You may want to shoo the children from the room.

Okay, I am a decent, refined, educated woman and I have spent the better part of my adult life cultivating that image.  I even strive for being classy and/or dignified and although I don't always reach the mark .... the effort is there.  I don't swear.  I don't spit.  I try to use decent grammar.  I don't even call policemen, cops.  My clothes are somewhat coordinated with my jewelry, shoes, and handbag.  Decorum is my middle name.  Bottom line:  I work on it.  I do.

But running has introduced a certain level of crudeness into my world.  And the former image is waning.

Several years ago I was running with someone who shall be nameless, except that he is a sibling ... and he runs .... but I won't mention any names ....  Anyway, he did what I have seen cyclists do ... who shall also remain nameless .... which is to relieve a drippy nose by holding one nostril closed and blowing out the other, in the general direction of the local flora along the way.  I noted that he seemed quite casual about it.

Many months later during a routine run, after I finally tired of carrying a wad of kleenex in my pockets, or stuffed into my sleeve, or in my gloves .... we're talking wintertime here .... I, after carefully checking to make sure NO ONE would see, ..... tried it.  I did.  ..... And it was amazing!  It worked!  Wow.  Freedom.  In case you are in a state of shock and dealing with mental pictures, just know that I never aim for pavement.  And I remain profoundly judgmental of men who spit in public and leave it there for the rest of us to step carefully over.

(Okay, the worst is over.  You may now bring the children back into the room.)

And then there's sweat.  Yes, I do it with the best of them.  I can lose two lbs. of water weight in a vigorous 5+ mile run.  And my poor toenails!  I have two that are currently hanging on for dear life, hiding under L'Oreal's "Cravin' Raisin" nail polish.  (I did not make that name up.)  It is typical for runners to lose toenails, and I can't recall how many of my own have bitten the dust.  (I have purchased toe guards and may report on them in a future post.)  Add to that, calluses and the blisters that come and go, and you have feet that don't strut around in sandals like they used to.

Finally, I often notice at the end of a long run and miles of heavy panting, my chin feels crusty .... as if I've been drooling.  However, my friends assure me that they haven't noticed any drool.  But maybe they're just being kind ....  And we've already had the discussion on the lack of makeup and frizzy hair.

Anyway, there you have it.  Running isn't for divas.  It takes a fair amount of self-acceptance combined with increasing apathy for one's public persona, to be able to run openly.  And if you ever see anything suspicious on a sidewalk .... it was NOT me.

Nope.  Was not.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Don't worry. Be happy.

I write solely on inspiration.  If it hits, I write.  If it doesn't, there is a looonnnngggg gap of time between posts.  Plus lately my passions have been lured over to my other more serious blog.  Warning:  if you go there, you will see another side of me.  It may not be pretty.

So back to running ..... here's the thing.  Other than my Marathon Year, the annual highlight of my summer is the Hood to Coast relay and it is now less than three days away.  This week, one and two years ago, I was in serious need of therapy, anti-anxiety meds, and/or someone's strong hand to grip.  I was the team captain, desperately keeping my mental boat afloat.  Being cursed with the need for perfectness ..... I typically drove myself close to The Edge, with worries and last minute details.  You may recall this and this post.

However this year ..... I just came off the whirlwind of Favorite 2nd Son's very recent wedding, shown in Favorite Daughter's blog.  Involved were visiting relatives, lots of sewing, luncheon planning/managing, cleaning, and cooking, cooking, cooking.  Details were stuffed into, and falling out of my brain and I had lists written on many scraps of paper.  It all turned out to be a wonderfully beautiful (and exhausting!) event and this family totally SCORED with a perfect and beloved new daughter-in-law.  And it completely overshadowed the Hood to Coast.

PLUS as I have said recently, I am not team captain this year!  Have you heard that enough times yet??  And the wedding is DONE.   AHHHH ..... do you feel the serenity  ..... the calm ..... the lack of concern for this weekend?  Yes, there are still a few unaddressed HTC details, but whatever .....

I've done my training, finishing with an easy three miles yesterday, and am in full taper-mode until Friday at about 8:00 a.m. ... when I begin my first leg.

No problem!  All is good.  Rest, sleep, eat carbs .....  don't worry .... be happy.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Freedom ain't free, Part 2

This is a follow-up of a previous post.  No need to provide a link; just scroll down a bit.

In my not-young age, I am free to run 5+ miles non-stop.  T'was not always so.  And that freedom came at a price.  It takes work, darn it.  I have to give up an hour or more, several days a week, and go out into the cold, or the heat, or the wind, or the drizzle, ... and run.   Alone.   Most of the  ... Pretty much ALL of the time, I don't want to. And too bad if I wake up to a good hair day.  After the run, the hair is toast and demands a complete do-over.

There is a saying that speaks to me nearly every morning: "If you started running when you first thought about it, you'd be done by now."  I get up from THE Most Comfortable Bed, put on my running clothes, and if I can get myself out the door within the next hour, it's a good start.  I'm a shameless procrastinator, letting the minutes slip by while I dink around on the computer.   Once I remember walking RIGHT PAST my laptop as I headed to the door.  I actually ran BEFORE going online!  ONCE!  And for me, the BEST part of a run is after it's over.

There are plenty of runners, or cyclists, or swimmers, etc., who make me look whiny and lazy.  One friend, a mommy of toddlers, runs in the early morning darkness (while I'm still in my Most Comfortable Bed) before her husband goes to work.   And sometimes she has to run, not only in the dark, but in the cold and rain.  And she does it.  As a result, she was free to experience the heady fun of running in her first relay this summer.  It's this kind of diligence, that says "marathon" in her future.  Not many are willing to pay the price for the freedom to do that.

So essentially, it means giving up something significant, for something better.  This principle is true on so many levels.  From the price of skipping some calories during the day, so as to have semi-guilt-free ice cream that evening ...To the sacrifices of our hallowed military for the freedom to live as our Founding Fathers intended.

Most freedoms don't come cheaply.  But the reward is so worth it.  And my next reward is just three short weeks away, when the BEST team of 2012 (which will include Diligent Friend mentioned above, plus Favorite Daughter, and a bunch of other cool people) returns to the ....

... drum roll .....

Hood to Coast!  AKA The Mother of ALL Relays!

YES!  And did I tell you that I'm NOT team caption??