Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lost in my mind

In my lifetime, I've most likely spent thousands of hours clocking mileage on the Chicago lakefront. I've pounded my hopes, fears, frustrations, dreams, and disappointments into that asphalt path countless times where it kind of became a part of me. Every bend, crack, pothole, and creature I became to know like the back of my hand. Leaving it behind hasn't been the easiest of things for me to do in the last 4 months.

I'm not the kind of gal that holds deep sediment for the tangibles in life. Items generally hold very little romantic value and instead tend to feel like cluttered remnants of the things people can't let go of to me. Instead I develop hardy roots in people and places, where Chicago takes the cake.

The past 4 months have been rather rocky as I've been struggling to find my new norm in a place that I don't belong. I've been told countless times that the suburbs will grow on me, and that life out in what feels like the middle of nowhere will become peacefully pleasant with time. While I can't say that people are wrong, I do feel like it's a bit too peaceful and too pleasant. And I don't really want it to grow on me.

Everyone seems to look the same. Individuality is almost lost.
It's impossible to walk anywhere. I hate driving.
People drive like reckless maniacs. I refuse to.
Drivers want to run over runners. Bagh.
And it just feels blah. Boring.

As I've been able to slowly get back into pain-free running, it's been more mentally challenging than it has been physically. My mind feels like it could go on forever and it's on the lakefront right where I left it the day I packed my life into a moving van closing the book on the Chicago chapter of my life.

Sunrise on my last morning as a Chitown resident

I like the physical challenge of getting my running groove back where the legs feel like they can no longer carry me through another step but somehow always do. My head is the tricky part. It taunts and teases me saying "one more mile won't hurt anything" and I have to catch myself before I stumble into bad old habits that have gotten me into some deep do-do before.

One of the hardest parts of being a runner, athlete, or even human, is letting go of where we want to be or think we should be and instead embracing where we are. 

And where I'm at right now physically is nowhere near where my mind wants me to be. 

Put your dreams away for now
I won't see you for some time
I am lost in my mind
I get lost in my mind

The once 8 mile standard daily easy runs have now become my long run distance where I have no idea what pace I'm clocking because I avoid my Garmin like it's the plague. 
Pretty sure that the number would be nothing short than a huge blow to my ego.

Those cavalier goals my pretentious urban spirit has been unsuccessfully hunting down for the past 12 months aren't null, and I haven't yet given up hope. Just had to press pause for awhile to figure out where I'm headed, which I'm still not sure of. 2013 could be another year of countless PR's, and it could be just the opposite. Still learning how to let it all go while rerooting myself while trying to find new niches because I'm no different than anyone else...just a never-ending work in progress.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

the salts of the earth

In the past 21 days, I've ran a total of 5 times.
With a heel that has been hurting since September, it seemed best to induce a self-imposed running hiatus until the pain subsided. 

My speed has temporarily vanished. 
But in all reality, it's really been gone since late March.

My muscles feel soft, squishy, and weak.
Sore from toes to nose after day 1 back at it.

My endurance is in the negative.

And my body has forgotten how to run.
It's like it's a foreign language.

With 2012 winding down and 2013 lingering just past the horizon, it seemed best to give myself a bit of a break. Things haven't exactly been going my way on the running front this year, which I've pretty much had to come to terms with in order to keep my sanity. All signs begun to point to a bit of downtime after a very painful Saturday evening the first weekend in November when I actually thought there was a bone broken in my foot because I was in so much pain. There was an outrageous amount of swelling and I just couldn't bear weight on the dang thing.

Turns out that taking 2 weeks off of running wasn't so bad.

I made it through by shedding the salt of my wounds through hot yoga and tears, which in my opinion are the two most refreshing ways to cleanse the soul. Sometimes I don't realize how much crap I'm carrying around with me...

lust for Chicago.
anger for things that haven't gone my way.
annoyance for ignorant people.
anxiety for the things to come.
selfishness for my wants.
guilt for resenting those who would give their life for me.

I never thought not running would put me into a place where I felt vulnerable enough to have gratitude for my less than stellar running year. The moments where I felt angry with how I copped out, had to pull the plug, and even when I realized that I got myself into quite a deep pile of do-do...I find value in them all. 

There's nothing like a few moments in a 100 degree room with high humidities where sweat is rolling down my brow blurring my vision while bent over in Dabdayanaba Bibhaktapada Janushirasana (standing separate leg head to knee pose) to bring a bit of gratitude to my life. Standing in a pool of your own sweaty filth while silent really slaps your logic and brings to light that things could always have been worse.

So I'm starting fresh with running again.
No plans yet other than to just move soft and brisk ahead.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Life of the sports bra

Today I decided that it's time, time to finally have the sports bra funeral that I've been thinking about for months years.

Maybe it's just me being frugal, but I hold onto sports bras far longer than I should. Like years longer than I should. I know that they shouldn't have a birthday and that once the elastic starts to wear where they really don't hold things where they should be held that it's time to let go. But I don't, and there are members in the collection that have earned their tenure. 

Over the years I've enacted a system to maximize the life of the sports bra

First, the bra is introduced into the running category. Here it is kept until it no longer meets the standard of minimizing the bouncing factor.

Don't know how other people appropriately purchase their sports bras, but my very official way of buying them is to look for the smallest size in hopes that it will be so tight that it will hold everything in.
It's a full-proof method that hasn't failed me yet.

Next, it drops down to the wear around the house kind of bra on those days I'm feeling too lazy to put on a real bra (which in all seriousness is probably at least 5 out of 7 days per week). 

Then, it moves to the sleeping sports bra genre where it's only job is to cover and provide a false sense of security while sleeping (there seem to be quite of few of them lingering in this category these days).

Lastly, it becomes time to retire. This is the stage I struggle the most with where the bra usually sits in my designated sports bra drawer for a year, or in some cases 5+ years, until I am able to muster up the strength to dispose of it and let go of the memories we share.

With as many miles that I've ran in my life, you would think I am the kind of gal that could let go of a bra that is well past it's prime. But I can't. In all honesty, I'm 28 years old and have sports bras that date back to 1999 in my collection. Most of these I don't even wear anymore, but just can't bring myself to get rid of them.

What an odd thing to hold on to...