Sunday, November 20, 2016

Do I Detect Some Fitness in There?

I want to write a very quick race report while it's still fresh in my mind.

Saturday morning, I ran the Panicking Poultry 5K out at the reservoir. It was freezing out! I'm someone who prefers hot to cold, but even those who like the cooler temperatures were looking uncomfortable. I will admit that the cold affects my heart valve leak and drops a dose of anxiety into my system. A few times during the race, I placed my thick wool gloves over my mouth to try to make the air feel warmer and calm myself down. Despite the nerves and the cold, it turned out to be a fun race, and I think I sensed some fitness in me somewhere.

Since I haven't been training for anything in particular, more just getting used to running again, I'm definitely lacking confidence. I'm not sure when and how to push myself in races. That's partly a mental thing and partly a physical one. Making sure I stay within what my wobbly and mechanically challenged body can handle is my top priority right now. I'm doing a pretty good job of running without getting to a point where I am crippled the next day like I have done in the past. Everything is more of a tempo run, but I can still push it on some level. I hope I can eventually push it without worrying so much about this twinge or that ache. The more I work on overall strength, the more I feel like I'm getting there.

I ended up running 23:39, but my chip time was a little bit faster, which is great news to me. I'm oddly very happy about my performance, because after a total of eight (yes eight!) surgeries shared between my two feet in the last bunch of years, there were times I thought I might not even walk again without pain. Neither the pain nor the issues are completely gone, of course, but I'm managing things as well as I can and am thrilled to be able to run at all at this point.

Don't look if you're easily grossed out:

Shortly after the surgery on my right foot

I'm not flipping you off; I just can't bend my toe.

It's not perfect, but they work.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Check Yourself

Lately, I'm amazed how much time passes between the time I think about a blog post and the time I actually write it. Now that I have a few projects completed or close to being complete, I'm going to try to blog a bit more than I have been.

Of course, the election is on my mind, but I'm too shocked to comment much on it at the moment. Besides, Sam harris and a few others did a fine job of expressing a lot of what I was thinking. No need to beat a dead horse.

I hate to admit, but I got caught up in one of those 911 conspiracy theory debates when I shared a video on a friend's timeline on Facebook a few weeks ago. The whole thing got so out of hand, some of us being tagged couldn't find the comment in which we were called out. I ended up backing out of the whole thing and eventually deleted the video when one individual wouldn't stop calling people names, posting links to bogus websites and boasting about his super high IQ, which had to be a joke, because the guy couldn't string together a coherent sentence and seemed to lack the brain power to understand simple equations and concepts. He kept asking the same questions over and over, and just when the issue finally seemed resolved, he would go back to it yet again. No matter how many times I said that metal doesn't have to melt in order for it to become unstable, he couldn't seem to understand. I find it odd that these types are the first to call others stupid. As one friend pointed out, it might just be the Dunning-Kruger effect.

In general, I've been shocked at how venomous people can be, especially lately. I feel like I just wrote about another incident in which a woman was horribly rude, condescending and arrogant in an online forum, and the other day, a friend pointed out an episode on a different forum in which a woman went a bit nuts attacking a guy in a series of bizarre posts that were eventually deleted. I can't decide which event was worse, but the overall tone of all the posters in each case was the same. Instead of a legitimate debate or an honest declaration of goings-on, people who insist on putting others down aim to turn any conversation into a bullying match, which never accomplishes much. I suppose it might make the biggest bully temporarily feel good on some level, but people stop paying attention when things get that out of control. When the scurrilous activity drags out and the same shit get stirred over and over and over again, it becomes increasingly unpleasant and tiresome, really fucking old.

Though this might be somewhat discontinuous, I've noticed my own anger and mixed emotions coming out in the last few weeks, though I try not to take it out on others. In general, I struggle more than usual during the changes of seasons and also in the dead of winter. Even as lovely as the weather has been, I still feel that nagging anxiety and sadness that comes this time of year. For example, yesterday I went to the CU cross country course and had a repeat of my tempo run in 2012, right down to the time, only this year I ran a hair slower and it was a dog encounter that interrupted me instead of an untied shoelace. Overall, the experience was incredibly similar, but the biggest difference was my mood. Yesterday, I was running alone and was very unsure about my capabilities after all the surgeries and soreness I have dealt with. I could feel the worry weighing me down during my warmup run, but I tired to go in thinking I will just see how things go.

When a lady's dog cut me off just after the halfway point, I moved to the other side of the trail, but her other dog followed me and then lunged at me. I yelled a few choice words at nobody in particular and felt slightly embarrassed about it later. Sometimes you have these moments where you're thinking, "Oh shit, I probably could have handled that better," but a small incident like that can unleash a lot of built up tension and the end result is much like the damaging straw on the unfortunate camel's back. I don't like when owners can't or refuse to control their dogs on a trail, especially when there's a dog park RIGHT NEXT to the trail, but I also don't like feeling like I may have overreacted. I've been bitten too many times to take these things lightly, though, and I think the lady realized she was being kind of lax about keeping her dogs in check. 

In the end, I'm glad I managed to get through a solo tempo run at a pace that's not super slow. Given everything, I should be happy, but the competitor in me still struggles. What's funny is that I told myself I would be happy if I ran anything close to 30 min, but when I did, I felt sad that I didn't run closer to 27 min like I have before. Then I listed all the excuses: My toe is about as close to being surgically amputated as it can get. My hips aren't functioning at 100 percent, and my mechanics are a bit out of whack etc. The main problem I had, though, was that I kind of fell asleep halfway through the course and didn't trust that I could go harder. I think I can. 

And on a wonderful but unrelated note, I won some free cheese from Cypress Grove the other day. If you haven't tried their products, you are missing out. The Purple Haze cheese is phenomenal! That was such a cool surprise. I have been a huge fan of their cheeses for a long time. One of my favorites is their Truffle Tremor, but I also like the Lamb Chopper as an everyday cheese. Soooooo good. Mmm

One last thing:
During any uncertain or difficult times, a friend of mine had some very good advice that I will add to here. Be sure you are practicing self-care. Make sure you are eating nourishing food, getting enough sleep and reaching out to friends or others when you need. Look to those who inspire you, and, though the saying is old and used, be the change you want to see in the world.