Week 9

I can never remember what week I’m on, so I always have to look back to see.

I missed a couple of days of pushups last week for various reasons, but I keep adding on and when I do boot camp I notice I have more strength. One day I’ll do a damn pushup!!! I’m up to 1:15 on my planks (1:10 last week).

It was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week last week and I got a little pushed over the edge by all the articles I read. I thought enough time had passed but apparently not. It’s all too easy to remember the obsessiveness, self-hatred and secretiveness.

I had a rough week of emotional eating which didn’t help either. I finally put two and two together and figured out why I was overeating; the simple realization that my binges had a lot to do with the rage I woke up with every morning has seemed to help quell my frantic cramfest a little. Someday I’ll deal with the root of this problem, but for now I remain debilitated – paralyzed – by hatred for two reasons:

  1. I’m terrified to take the cork out of my hatred bottle. This is not going to be pretty for anyone. I don’t know what all is in there and I’m afraid to look.
  2. I don’t want to take the cork out because that means I’ve set the wheels of confrontation in motion.

Anyway, my 10k is in less than three weeks and I’m getting more excited than nervous now. I ran 5.5 miles on Saturday on the worst, hilliest course I could think of – that’s right, good ol’ SH 7. I’ll admit I had to walk a few times but I still came in at a respectable time. It was the longest I’ve ever run, which means that next weekend’s 6 miles will be the longest I’ve ever run too, and so will the 10k itself. That simple fact is enough to keep me going when I’m huffing and puffing along.

The Children of Brutes

I think children start out only knowing how to love. I think they learn not to love as someone scares them, ignores them, threatens them, hits other people they love, beats the dog. Until children learn not to love, they follow the Big Person around, trying to make them happy and wanting nothing but approval. Desperately seeking approval.

Then, if a repeated pattern of disapproval prevails, children are taught not to look for love from that person. It doesn’t happen quickly or suddenly, although this is what the Big Person thinks.

Someday, those children become adults and that Big Person turns it around on them, looking for doting affection. The Big Person thinks the children are selfish, wrong and unfeeling. The Big Person is the victim, and the adult children are assholes.

The children no longer desperately seek approval. They dream of the day when the Big Person will expire. They’ve learned from a young age that life would be so much better if only the Big Person weren’t in it. They may have written a variety of stories where the happy ending occurred when the Big Person left the family. Only in their dreams were they safe. Only in their dreams were they loved.

My Happy Place

Interestingly enough, I was pondering this yesterday and when I saw this post from The Daily Post, I knew it was a sign that I needed to delve into this a bit further. This may become a disjointed post as the memories reopen.

I told Erik last night that maybe when I go to Heaven, God will turn me into a dog. The one thing I have wanted to be my whole entire life is a dog. Caitlin and I spent countless hours ‘tending we were dogs (among other animals). I pretended that school was really obedience school. I brushed my hair and teeth and pretended I was being groomed for a dog show. I curled up in Tiffy’s crate in Gramma and Grampa’s kitchen. “Poor Tiffy was probably like, ‘Get out of my crate, I want to go to sleep!’” I laughed as I told Erik.

As I talked about my dream life as a dog, I remembered walking by Tiffy’s outdoor pen as I came and went from Gramma and Grampa’s house – up the Field, down to the Brook, through the Pine Grove and into our backyard. Her smart, inquisitive face greeted me as I came and watched me as I went. “There’s that little person again!” She’d wag her tail. “Oh, my little person is leaving again.” She would not wag her tail.

I still remember how Gramma’s snores sounded during her afternoon “catnap.” Days of Our Lives would be on and she’d curl up on the loveseat, a blue blanket over her legs, and soon I’d hear those funny little snores: the snores that sound suspiciously like Lady’s snores.

I used to watch Grampa shave, completely fascinated. I never saw my father shave, so this was new territory to me. Look at the faces he makes! I wonder if he ever noticed me watching him or if I was covert enough in my spying.

Gramma used to stand in the storm door and watch as thunderstorms raged. Grampa would yell at her to get away before she got struck by lightning. I got nervous about it, too. Us nervous Aries had to stick together!

They had a lot of cool artifacts in their house: ancient stuff, from the 60s and 70s! A three-dimensional picture of the Pope, drink stirrers from Hawaii, a clock that chimed every hour. I learned the order of the planets by matching them to the sound of that chime. Even today, I repeat this song in my head when I order the planets. An electric card shuffler that lived on the stairs so you’d know just where to get it from when it was time to play Rummy. A tube of pick-up sticks to dump on the blue braided rug in the living room. A plastic TV tray that lived at the end of the lounge so you could set it up quickly when it was time to color and watch PBS.

I still remember the smell of their stuffy house: a mix of wood smoke, cooking or baking, and warm air. The house still stands, but is completely changed, remodeled and modernized by my sister. It doesn’t smell the same anymore.

10k – The Saga Continues

I made the mistake of looking at the course map for my upcoming 10k. I thought it would put my mind at ease.


Ooh, look at that massive hill from mile three to mile four! Isn’t that exciting? Isn’t that exactly what you wanted to run? Good God. But I suppose it’s nothing compared with the gradual uphill that will finish out the race. OK, in all honesty the total elevation gain is a measly 479ft. I do that on most of my running routes around here. But the stupid graph makes it look so dramatic!

Dramatic ol' graph! Courtesy of alloutmultisport.com

Dramatic ol’ graph! Courtesy of alloutmultisport.com

Somehow, the course map makes 6.2 miles look daunting. Somehow, it didn’t seem that scary until I looked at the map. Part of the problem is that I mostly run out-and-backs when I’m training. It feels so much easier to run to a destination and then tell myself, “Alright, now just run back.” When you’re running a loop you can’t see the end. I know a lot of people prefer this method, but I am not one of them.

Also, I don’t have a “race pace.” I don’t push myself any harder on race day than I do on any other day. In fact, I panic if I think of it as a race instead of a run. I don’t track my time, either. Maybe that’s why I’m so slow! The way I see it, I put enough pressure on myself without checking my watch every thirty seconds.

Now listen, I understand that it’s a good idea to look at the course map in advance of your race. Actually, I bet this 10k would have kicked my ass if I thought it would be flat the entire time. The last 5k I ran – with the “rolling hills” it so gently touted – helped me mentally prepare a bit better to be running up! But can’t I whine about it, just a little bit?

Week 8

One month from today, I turn 30.

I think I’m finally alright with that. I think I’ve spent enough time freaking out over it, and now it’s out of my system. I feel like I turned 30 a long time ago. I looked at the calendar this morning and realized it was time to order my birthday party invitations and finalize the guest list. I am a sucker for printed invitations.

Anyway, another week of push-ups and planks is done, checked off the list. Success! What’s concerning me is my training plan. With my 30th birthday looming a month away, that means my first 10k is slightly less than a month away. I do not feel slightly less than a month away ready for my first 10k. I’ve been extremely spoiled this winter, running in warmth and on bare ground. Now, snow is finally arriving and it significantly slows down my gait, even with my precious screw shoes.

The new worry? What if the training plan doesn’t work because I have to run slow?! What if running slow is basically like not running at all?!

You know, I really wish I was a dingbat who wasn’t so strict on myself. I wish I could breeze through life shrugging my shoulders and saying, “Oh well, it’s all good!” You have to imagine that being said in the most pleasant, Disney-Princess voice you’ve ever heard.

Well, life continues and snow happens. I keep running, doing push-up variations and holding planks. It’s all good.

One Ugly SOB

They say all runs can’t be your greatest, and the key to truly training for a race is to bravely make it through the good, the bad and the ugly.

State Highway 7 heading toward Twin Sisters. Photo courtesy of eptrail.com

State Highway 7 heading toward Twin Sisters. Photo courtesy of eptrail.com

Today was truly ugly. Not only were the odds not stacked in my favor, they were stacked against me. My first mistake was choosing to run up SH7. It’s a windy (that is wind as in blowing, not wind as in wending) stretch of highway that’s gradually uphill. Nah, I got this, I thought. I’ll just take the bike path. It’s not as hilly.

Ha. Ha ha. Ha. Good one, Jo.

So there I go, puffing up and up and up the highway, wind blasting me from the west and south. It felt like running into a brick wall while getting pelted with ice crystals and sand. I’ve been fighting a cold as well, so fatigue set in pretty early, along with irritation and frustration.

It felt like it took an hour to get to 19 minutes (the time I figured I should turn around), but finally I made it. Awesome, now I can cruise down these hills and make up for lost time, I thought.

Ha. Ha ha. Ha.

Excellent timing, shin splints! Boy have I missed you guys. Love feeling like all my stabilizers are shredding. Love the feeling of one foot slapping the pavement with no control. Love the feeling of defeat.

Shin splints aside, the wind was literally pushing me forward and sideways as I ran back. At one point I had to throw my arms out for balance to avoid falling into a ditch. The magnitude of what I had been running against was truly stunning. A small victory.

All I had to do today was run 35 minutes. I reminded myself of this over and over again as I staggered back home. Speed doesn’t matter, you did it, it’s done, and you don’t have to do it again today.

I seriously think tomorrow’s five-mile run will be easier than this stupid 35 minute run.