Sunday, January 25, 2015

Trail memory

Have you heard about scent memory? Somehow maybe a smell reminds you of a specific time or place. Almost like you're right back there. You know, like when some dude walks into a room wearing Drakkar Noir I immediately flash back to every dude in high school that thought they were awesome. And it isn't just a memory, it overwhelms me. All the awkward awful high school moments and boys I had a crush on that of course liked my best friend and not me and then I end up crying again......

I digress.

This post wasn't meant to be about high school. But that's how scent memory works for me. It doesn't just remind me of it. It takes me back to it. Obviously sometimes the results are not nessecarily  fun.

So this weekend I'm out on one of my favorite trails that I train on all the time and as I'm rounding a corner I flash back to a great run with a dear friend. We ran "with" the same group (she's a bit faster than me) but rarely together. This one random day we set out for a run that ended up being a sheer delight. Running with this person always felt like therapy to me. So I treasured them. 

And today, on this one random trail, I got to re-feel a wonderfully therapeutic run. And it was awesome. 

I've met some of my closest friends through running. Some of them still run, some have stopped, some just trained for that one bucket list race and then moved on. But I love that running helped bring these people into my life. And I LOVE that sometimes out of nowhere I get to relive some of those moments that make me extra grateful for my sport and my community.

It was a good run. Filled with stupid grins and rainbows and unicorns. Gotta tuck that away and pull it out when I'm stuck in  run that sucks so badly that I want to blow chunks.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A New Headlamp = NEW FUN!

After going to a few 100 milers, my brain has gotten used to the general idea that "people" run trails at night. There are even some races in my area that are specifically that, night races. But, there has always been this part of me that still thought.... That's ridiculous.

I did start the Dances With Dirt 50k in Hell, Michigan in the dark, but somehow that didn't count in my mind. This weekend, that changed and it was SUPER FUN!

For Christmas I got a fancy new Petzl Tikka RXP headlamp. I don't like to wear headlamps, but I had this idea that if I had a higher quality headlamp I might feel a little more comfortable with night running. TheTikka RXP is recharable, has a comfy headband, AND it has fancy pants reactive lighting! So, when there's more light in your environment, it dims itself, when it's really dark out, it shines brighter. It also has a wider beam than my old headlamp, it turns out that takes away from some of the tunnel vision problems I get with a headlamp. So, basically, it's magic. Like a magic genie lamp that's strapped to your head. And the strap is orange, which I also enjoy.

So, back to my run this weekend. I wanted to get on the trails, and running with someone sounded more fun than running alone, so started making plans to run with a friend. But, she had to start early.... Like pre-sunrise early. Normally, this would result in me saying, well, let's just run on roads then. But this time, we said no let's run on trails, in the dark. We somehow roped another friend into a predawn start and from there the plan was set.

For some reason, the simple act of running for 30-40 minutes on the trail before dawn, made the run infinitely more exciting to me. I couldn't wait for Saturday to come. That's a feeling I've been missing. I love to run, but it becomes so automatic for me that I sometimes forget how much I LOVE to run. 

I got to the parking lot early and looked into the woods with with the light from my car lights.

I was nervous, excited, and darn near giddy. When all three of us were there we nervously chatted for a bit and then we were off. Slower and quieter than normal, I kept adjusting my headlamp to get it comfortable and trying to figure out where is the best place to look. Before I knew it there was a bit of light in the sky and we had already gone a mile. Once the sun really started rising, we picked up the pace to try to get the best view and the best picture of the rising sun. My friend behind me kept saying, hurry! We have to get to the top of that over there! And the views just kept get better! I definitely screamed NATURE with a raised fist as we skittered up to one ridge line and then next trying to get the best view.

For a recovering slightly burnt out runner, this run was a breath of fresh air. Instead of worrying about mileage, speed, splits, fuel, and bib numbers, I was out in the woods with two great friends, racing a sunrise. Runs like this make me fall in love with running all over again. And that's exactly what I needed.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I'm Gonna Eat Better!

In 2013 I turned the way I run and the way I eat upside down. I started heart rate training and I cleaned up the way I eat….big time. People in my gym were all atwitter about this thing called the Whole 30. I heard them talk about how exciting it was so I looked into it. I looked into it and immediately decided that it was stupid, restrictive, and impossible. And then a month or two later as is often the case with stubborn, overreacting, alarmist people like myself, I calmed the heck down and decided to give it a shot (you know, once I pretended that it was all my idea, of course). I learned a lot from it and once I got over the initial feeling awful part a felt great!

So, what is it? Well for30 days you cut out dairy, grains, legumes, and sugar (and sugar substitutes). Oh my lord, what’s left? Well, tons of veggies, protein, fruit, and nuts! FYI, peanuts are a legume, not a nut. This was a fact that resulted in a few false starts for my husband’s first Whole 30. Here’s the website for more detailed information:

Anywhoo…. As 2013 turned into 2014 my “eat right 90% of the time with a treat occasionally” way of eating slowly turned into “eat right 20% of the time, not awful 40%, and total crap %40 but still pretend you’re doing well”. Why was I gaining weight, achy, not recovering as well, etc? Well, around the time that I admitted I was burnt out on training, I had to admit that my diet had turned to not good. Time to clean it all up!
And what a great time to start,  January 1st! I’m not a typical new year’s resolution gal, but my gym and a few of my closest friends were all doing a Whole 30 starting on January 1st. So, I reckon that’s as good a time as any right? Weeelllllll, kind of right. I might have eaten my body weight in sugar in the month of December in preparation. Oh, and I might have had a sugar binge to end all sugar binges on December 31st, but hey, I never said I was smart.

Now I have a plan to blog my way through a Whole 30. Ok, I plan to do at least a couple posts on it.

I’m seven days in now and here’s a few excerpts from some ongoing exchanges I’m having with friends as we stumble through another Whole 30 together.
- (Day 2) Talk about New Year’s Eve binge. I definitely had more fruit than I should have yesterday to avoid diabetic shock. I was wolfing down baby food on the way to my run to avoid the sugar shakes.
- (Day 3) Oh good, I think my sugar withdrawal headache just arrived, I was afraid I would miss it. The good thing is that they seem to come in nausea inducing waves. At least they aren’t constant.
- (Day 4) Today’s run was brought to you by… Oh my god my body hates me and doesn’t know how to use energy.

-(Day 6) – I seem to be entering the I hate everything phase of this Whole 30. I got violently angry at my husband yesterday because he was cutting up cauliflower the wrong way. You know, totally normal to freak out about that, right?

Things I learned today;
1)      Maybe I AM a bit moody and should keep to myself
2)      Don’t try to explain to anyone how I’m eating because they will be hateful and unsupportive and I will want to drop kick them. (absolutely not overreacting, right?)

- (Day 7) - I went running, at a low heart rate yesterday and IT FELT LIKE AWFUL!!! I don't even know if I was too hungry or what but I felt like I was dying.

Sure this sounds awful, and right now it is, I'm not going to lie. But I have to think that part of the reason it seems so awful is because my body has become so used to eating garbage that it's taking it a minute or two to figure out how to fuel itself on


Will it get better? Oh my good night I hope so. But in the mean time, if you see me looking like a hot mess and then I snap your head off for no apparent reason, please forgive me.