Twenty Six Point Two

run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Running: The Hobby

I am having a hard time getting back into running. Of course, I expected some of that. Running sucks when it's hard. But just because I expected it, doesn't mean it makes it any easier.

This morning while running, I started thinking about why I run. I've done many, many posts on that topic, so, I'll spare you another. But the two biggest things are that running makes me feel good about myself and I think the physical exercise keeps the black dog at bay. Running is not just my exercise of choice, but for the last few years, it's been a big part of my identity, as well. At it's core, running is my escape from the humdrums of life and my biggest hobby.

Now that I'm in my 30s, I find myself comparing to myself to my parents a lot. Every day, I look more and more like my mom.

 My mom's in the pink.
My aunt's in the white.
Yes, they are wearing matching rompers, but in different colors.
Yes, you could do that in the 80s.


I will never be as hot as my mom was, however.
She's had 3 kids in this pic and I've had ZERO and my 
body will never look this good. 

 And every day I find my personality becoming more and more like my dad. When I was growing up, my dad was a hobby enthusiast. He was a member of a Spelunking Club and a Spoonplugging Club (also known as a fishing club). And he took us out camping and on the lake a LOT.

Spelunking Club.
My dad is second from the left.

He's always been interested in cars and when my brothers got older and interested in them, too. They spent MANY hours every week together working on old cars.

And now you know where I get my body from.
Stumpy legs and long torso. Thanks, Dad!

To get all therapist-y on my dad, I think a big part of him keeping busy and having lots of different hobbies and interests is for a couple of main reasons. One, he was drafted in the Army as a young man, and I think having 2 years of your life taken away from you to serve your country would put anyone's spare time into perspective.
Stationed in Alaska.

And two, he was the sole provider for my family and worked long and hard hours at a desk. He definitely worked/still works more and harder than I do, but, I too feel the need to do something with my life when I'm not at work.
Back in the day, visiting dad at the office on a Saturday.
Please note, he has a pic of me on the credenza behind him.

All the gratuitous photos and stories of my family to say... I've realized that running is pretty much my only hobby. I mean, sure, I do other things... I read and watch television and I enjoy cooking and yoga. I would love to hike and camp more often than I do now. And while travel is probably the thing I love most, it's not something that I can do every week/weekend (see: why I don't hike and camp as much as I would like to).  So, the fact that running has become such a chore for me, is kind of slowly sucking away at my soul.

Ahhhh the good ole days.
When my main hobbies included clomping around in adult shoes...
 
And hosting my dolls and imaginary friends
for tea parties.

When the hobby that makes you the happiest and feel the best about yourself, suddenly turns into dogshit, it's hard to get back on track. And it starts affecting your daily life.

All this navel-gazing to say... I think my mental focus on running right now needs to shift into a different direction. I'm going to try not to worry too much about GETTING BACK INTO SHAPE IMMEDIATELY. But, into trying to find enjoyment in running again. Getting back into shape and mileage and speed will all eventually come back.

I feel like I've written these sentiments in MANY posts over the course of the past year or so. And I know, it's boring. But it's something I'm really struggling with. It's not as easy as.... just run when you want! Because, honestly... I'd barely be running if that were the case. And whether I like it or not... I NEED TO RUN. I like who I am when I'm running a lot: I feel better, I sleep better, I work better, I'm a better partner and friend. But, I'm finding that maybe wrapping up so much of my identity into one hobby can be a dangerous game. I wonder if spelunkers have as many existential crises as I do?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August Favorites

This is going to be a dump of a post wherein I talk about my favorite things from the month, as if I were some kind of consumer guru or something.

Favorite ACTIVITY:
Whitewater Rafting the Ocoee

The picture is not of my raft, because holy hell not only do you pay $98 per person for a trip. But then they have the audacity to charge you $54 for a cd of your pictures AND ask you to tip your guide. Um. Wut? Despite the price gouging the trip was an absolute blast. If it wasn't an exhausting all day excursion to get there, I would probably quit my job to become a guide and raft that sucker 5 days a week. But it is WAY far away from Nashville. We left at like 8:30 in the morning and got home just after midnight. Anyway, it was so much fun. I'm pretty sure all I did was sit in the back and giggle like a maniac while simultaneously kneeing The KoB in the back. (I laugh hysterically when I am nervous/anxious).

Favorite SONG: 

Burnin' it Down by Jason Aldean

I d/led this song WHILE DRIVING to Asheville and listened to it about a zillion times on the ride because my mom's car stereo is freaking awesome. USB ports in cars???? Whoa. I don't even think USB's were a thing when my car was made in 2002.


*I included this pic of Jason Aldean because I just wanted to say that probably my least favorite song of the month is a little ditty called Hannah Montana by a rapper Migos. Watch the video. You'll be chanting HANNAH MONTANA all day. Seriously... it's a song about Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana. And it's ridiculous and frustratingly catchy.

Favorite TV SHOW:

The Americans

Holy Moly. BEST SHOW EVER. I've only seen one season (Season 2 isn't on dvd yet), but my interest and love for this show is almost as great as it was/is for The Wire. If you aren't watching the Americans. You need to be. SO GOOD! Such a great premise and so weird to be rooting for Russians. Like. Really weird. Plus the cars and clothes... OMG you gotta watch it.

Runner up:

Bojack Horseman.

Just watch it. I can't explain it.


Favorite DRINK:

Illusive Traveler Shandy

It's no secret that I am not a fancy beer drinker. I hate the taste of hops and I would pick a Miller High Life or a Beast Ice over pretty much any other beer in the world. (There are a COUPLE of exceptions: Innis and Gunn and Yazoo Dos Perros being the only two basically). However, Liz and I met for drinks this weekend and this beer was introduced to us and WOW. Delicious.

Favorite FOOD: 

Blue Mountain Pizza and Brew Pub

If you ever find yourself in Weaverville, NC you should go here immediately. Although, no one ever finds themselves in Weaverville, so instead... if you ever find yourself in Asheville, NC and don't mind driving 25 minutes to eat some DELICIOUS pizza... then go here. While I might not be a beer connoisseur, I do know my pizza and this place was legit.


Books finished/started and thoughts:  I finished Ken Follett's World Without End in August: FANTASTIC of course. And also read Lee Smith's Guests on Earth which was absolutely wonderful for the first 150 pages or so.. and then completely burned out for the last half. Currently in the middle of a book about Russian hikers who died in 1959 called Dead Mountain. So good!

Favorite MOVIE:

The African Queen

I must admit, I am not the biggest Humphrey Bogart fan. But I am a HUGE Katharine Hepburn fan. I never watched this movie because the plot synopsis sounds boring and crazy as shit:

In Africa during WW1, a gin-swilling riverboat owner/captain is persuaded by a strait-laced missionary to use his boat to attack an enemy warship.

Ummmm. Wut? That shit sound cray. But, on a whim, I gave it a whirl and was completely and utterly entranced for the whole movie. Brilliant! I loved it. That Katie Hepburn.... man, she was a real movie star.


 
Things I hate:

Summer is practically over. It has gone wayyyy too fast this year. Boooo.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It finally happened!

The last time I ran 30+ miles in a week was the week of June 9-15th. I finally broke my streak... I crossed over into 30 miles last week!!
Boo ya!

I must be completely honest... there was some walking in my 10 mile long run on Sunday. And as much as I would LOVE to use the excuse of humidity or dehydration... it was just a case of "WAHHHHH..." Crybaby/Out of Shape Amy not really wanting to run anymore. Thankfully, the route was an out and back, so I was forced to get the mileage. 

I am really hoping that this gets me over the hump of getting back into training mode. 

I've decided to tweak my training schedule a bit. While my little Mr. Leopold Bloom brings me such happiness....
 He loves getting in the bed while I'm trying to make it up.
So, I just end up making the bed around him.

He has presented a bit of a snag to my routine. He wants ALL THE ATTENTION in the mornings. So, it's hard for me to leave him and go for runs in the morning. In the afternoons he could care less about me. And in the past, I've been trying to force him into my schedule, but, I think now, I'm going to try to adjust my schedule to fit him and I think it will work a lot better. Yes, clearly he is the boss of me.

So, my plan is to switch from being a mostly morning runner... to an afternoon runner.  I'll still jog around with Leo for a couple miles in the morning during the week because he enjoys it. And, I already run on Monday and Wednesday afternoons with the KoB, so, I'll just add in another couple of evening runs. It will be much easier to do this training for a 10 mile race as opposed to a marathon, because, I'm assuming I won't be running 45+ miles for lots and lots of weeks. So, running 6-8 miles on weeknights after work will be no big deal.

Also, hopefully, since I am at my core a morning person... having my mornings free-ish, will encourage me to do some yoga and pushups and stuff. In theory.

I will obviously still do my long runs in the morning, because... ain't no body got time to do that shit in the evenings. But, I think this schedule will cause me a lot less stress.

It finally feels like I am actually back at training now. I'm even thinking of doing my 10 mile long run this  weekend on the race course to get myself geared up for the training. Let's do this, bitches!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Forcing It.

So, it's no secret that I kind took this summer off of running. I mean, yeah, I was still running... but, I only ran when I wanted to (usually only if I had a partner to run with or when my dog needed some wearing out). Turns out... "when I wanted to" ended up being around 10-20 miles a week.



It was nice. But, I miss being in running shape, I miss being completely exhausted at the end of a run and then the feeling you get afterwards. I miss being a little creaky when I first get up after sitting for too long. I miss firing off emails to Coach explaining myself when I rearranged my training or ran my workout too fast. I miss annoying the fuck out of The KoB by picking his brain constantly about running.


 So, I thought it would be so easy to get back into my routine of stringing multiple days of running together and managing to actually run more than 25 miles a week. Turns out, I was wrong.


While I miss all those things ABOUT running. I actually don't miss the running part, apparently. So... that's a bummer. Since my goal race is in November, I can't really spend anymore time pussyfooting around. I'm having to force my running these days. Once I get out of the habit of being disciplined about something... I just end up going into super lazy mode. I mean SUPER lazy.

That fan is fucking disgusting, btw.

I gotta shake it though. I am really excited about my goal race, and it's time to start working for it. Starting with: actually getting my ass off the couch and onto the pavement. Operation Get Off your Fucking Ass and Get Motivated is officially engaged.





Friday, August 15, 2014

IM Arizona 2014

Did that title get your attention? Nope, I'm not doing an Ironman. But, I'd like to do a little post about a friend who is...

Liz and I New Years Eve 2012
(and now I miss my shorter hair).

Liz and I met at a Strider's Training run a few years ago. We were both waiting for rides (It was the Kroger to Kroger Run) and we struck up a conversation about what we were training for, etc. We ended up running together on another training run later on and we've been pals/running buddies ever since.

Here we are at 6am in our hotel room in Chicago
before the shit show that turned into The Chicago Marathon 2011.
(I'm glad she got the memo about the hand on the hip pose).

Two years ago, I got a text from her, I believe it was on a Friday, because when I initially saw her name pop up on my phone, I assumed she was asking about doing a training run together that weekend. Unfortunately, that was not the case. She had been out for her regular weekday morning run through downtown Nashville and she had been struck by a car. She was okay, in that she was ALIVE and thankfully hadn't broken anything. But, she ended up suffering damage to her knee that required surgery and a year worth of physical therapy. All because a driver failed to look before turning. The accident was not her fault. She had the right of way.

Now, Liz is like me and the rest of us runners out there. She doesn't just run for exercise... she runs for her general well-being, for her sanity, as a stress reliever... and all that was essentially taken away from her for about a year. She stayed as active as she could with lots of time in the pool. When she finally got the okay to start running more, she decided that she wanted to give the triathlon world a try. 

She signed up to do a half ironman in May of this year. She trained hard for it, and showed up the weekend for the race and the weather was bad and they ended up cancelling the swim portion. Ugh! So frustrating. She signed up for another one in July that involved a freshwater swim and rocked the shit out of it a month ago.

After that, she signed up to run for Team Smiletrain at the Arizona IM this November.

Smiletrain is an organization that facilitates repairing cleft lips and palates for children internationally.



From their website: Millions of children in developing countries with unrepaired clefts live in shame, but more importantly, have difficulty eating, breathing and speaking. Cleft repair surgery is simple, and the transformation is immediate. Our sustainable model provides training and funding to empower local doctors in 85+ developing countries to provide 100%-free cleft repair surgery in their communities. 

So, here's the pitch. I've donated and I'm asking you to donate on behalf of my friend Liz who has battled back from GETTING HIT BY A CAR to now training for an Ironman. It's a great charity and I would be so appreciative of any support you can throw their way. And if you aren't in a position to donate, or just don't want to... then, please, at the very least... be extra careful driving and running. It DOES happen and can happen to you or someone you care about.

(click the Support Elizabeth link under her picture).

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Drinkfest 2014

It was the 12th annual drinkfest this year. CRAZY. I can't believe that for 12 straight years, 4 of us have found a weekend in the summer to get together and basically do the same things every year.

This year, we thought we were getting a cabin 20 minutes outside of Asheville, NC. Turns out it was 20 minutes as a crow flies. By car, it took more like 45 minutes. Ugh.

It was a nice cabin though.

We mostly just catch up on our lives from the previous year and talk about college days. We usually try to do some kind of activity like hiking or a watersport like kayaking or tubing.

Playing Egyptian Rat Screw

This year our friend Pony, brought his pup... so we spent a good bit of time doting on him.

Posing like a good boy with Auntie Amy

We drove into Asheville on Saturday morning for breakfast and ended up taking the dog to a dog park in town. We met a giant Leo look-a-like and I struck up a conversation with his owner. Turns out there was an outlet not far from there where we could go and take the dog to the river.

Leo's enormous doppleganger. 
Kirby was his name.

We followed Kirby and his owner down to the water and spent probably an hour there playing with the dogs and talking to folks. Asheville natives are SUPER friendly.

Shaking it off.

Playing.

After the river, we wandered around the park where they were having some sort of festival.
 
Go cocks!

We headed back to the cabin for a bit and ended up playing a game of flip cup. I am sad to admit that I had never played flipcup before. Turns out, I'm pretty damn good at it.

Styrofoam cups make it easier, so I hear.

It was a great time. It's always good catching up and since I am TERRIBLE at keeping in contact with long distance friends, it's nice to know that we will always have at least a weekend a year to spend time together. I grew up with two older brothers and when I went away to college it was nice to find a "new" family of brothers that I could boss around and be teased by. We all spent a ton of time together in those days and now, somehow, we all just pick up where we left off.

Till next year...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Other Stuff

I promise you I am not turning into a lifestyle blogger. It's just that my runs haven't been very "noteworthy" lately and there has been a lot of other stuff going on in my life. So... that's what I'm going to write about.

Mr. Bloom could write a lifestyle blog that would be worth reading.

Probably the most exciting thing that happened last week was a delivery for The KoB.

The KoB's new ride.

Yes, The KoB bought a house and a car in the same month. WHO DOES THAT? To be fair... he only bought the house, so he'd have a garage for her. So...

Here she is topless. 
I joked that he needs to get a license plate that says...
"My other woman is a HUMAN."

Turns out, the only thing worse than waiting around a month from the time he looked at the corvette to the time she was delivered.... is waiting around on new tires, the tags, insurance, etc OMFG I just want to ride around in her for more than 10 minutes at time for chrissakes!.

******
I was away in Asheville, NC this weekend for my annual "drinkfest" (which we are now dubbing waterfest, because we are old and lame) with college friends. I'll do a post on that this week, because... ya know... automatic blog content!
 VERT, bro!
I actually just drove to the scenic overlook and 
hopped out of MY CAR and took a picture. 
No vert running. I'm a lazy sea level runner.

  ******

I am trying to decide whether or not to switch cell phones. I've had an iphone for a couple of years now and it's comfortable and pretty easy to use... but I HATE the email function. The way my email is set up with my work computer and the lack of ability on the iphone to "select all" and delete all old emails... It constantly looks like I have over 2,000 emails.

2,069 emails! UGGGGGHHHH!
So annoying!

But, I do like to facetime my mom and I'm nervous about converting my itunes over to a Droid. Ack! Decisions! The good news is... it's become pretty clear that my phone isn't really all that important to my life. It's nice to have email on it and internet, but really, 90% of my cell phone usage is for texting. So, I could probably deal with having an old school flip phone or something.

******

Something that actually is running related.. I am planning on running 30 miles this week! HOLY CRAP.