Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sleep? Pfsh.

So I kind of signed up for a half marathon in, like, 3 and a half weeks.

Fortunately, I still accomplished my 9-mile run today despite a very fitful 3 hours of sleep thanks to whatever the hell is wrong with me.

Once every few months I get this unbearable, itchy, crawly sensation on every part of my body. It starts with an itchy toe, then my whole foot will itch, then up the leg, then my back and head... it makes me a little worried.

So I googled my symptoms - like any hysterically exhausted person would do at 4:00 AM - and came up with this: neurotic excoriation. Except, I don't really like that answer. For one, most cases of neurotic excoriation result in flesh wounds caused by obsessive scratching that won't ever heal because of obsessive picking. The other reason I don't like it is that it would lump me in with the rest of the dysfunctional Americans I already make fun of because they make me wonder how we've evolved as a species, what with all of our hoarding, addictions, and ADHD.

Unfortunately, there's no physical explanation for my itch-induced fits of insomnia. I had been prescribed Ambien for this a couple years ago, but I won't take that while home alone with a baby. I've never experienced any unusual side effects, but the last thing I need is to wind up sleep-driving while she cries in her crib because she can't find her paci.

This leaves me fretting about what to do about this race on April 24th. Sleep is so, so important to me, and I'd hate to think something as stupid as a little neurosis could keep from from sleeping or achieving my running goals. I'll run it no matter what, I guess. I mean, these 13.1 miles aren't going to wait for me to have a perfect night's rest, are they?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

16 miles and an unofficial shoe review

Yet another reason to frequent your local running store: they don't just clear their shelves for new models like chain stores do. In fact, if they know it's the shoe you want or need, they have no problem letting you walk away with last year's shoe instead of trying to convince you to shell out major dough for a sneaker with updates that you don't really need.

With that said, I would have bought anything with rubber and laces for $60 so long as I didn't have to run another step in my now tread-less Asics GT-2140's. Luckily, what I got for my money was last year's Brooks Adrenaline 9's.

The shoe: pretty good. I mean, I didn't expect to strap them on and start sprinting at a 6 min/mile pace. The thing is, it's kind of hard to gauge the quality of a shoe when you haven't broken in a pair of sneakers in well over a year. So all that "smooth ride" and "great transfer of motion" stuff that people write about kind of escapes me when my big toe (yay, more toe issues) feels like a knife is being driven into it because the top of the shoe has yet to be bent, twisted, and worn into submission. Also, my feet went numb on the first expedition forcing me to stop and re-lace my shoes to prevent any possible amputation situations.

On a more positive note, me and my new kicks logged 16 miles in 3 runs so far this week. So while I'm not making money doing real gear reviews (because I'm not spending the money on it, and that shit ain't free, unless someone wants to send me stuff, but I'm pretty sure I have to advertise or something on my blog...) I feel like I'm getting back to having a pretty solid base. Time to start looking at upcoming races in cities that I can easily drive to, since flying and hotels are kind of out of the question if I have to factor in the cost of entry. Which brings me to my next point...

Why is racing so friggin' expensive? I mean, the swag bag is cool and all, but if I kindly decline the t-shirt and free goo, can I please just pay for my bib and chip, which - let's me honest - can't cost more than a few bucks a piece. Yeah, I know there's the cost of hiring police to monitor the course and other venue expenses, but still, I can't justify flying and paying for lodging on top of a $100+ race. Which leaves me all depressed when I read race report after race report that I can't join in on the fun on my part-time server salary.

I worry that if I don't race I'm not a runner, despite the miles I may log. Why does it seem that you're not taken seriously in the running community if you don't cross at least a dozen finish lines a year?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thank You. Not an Alanis Morissette song, I promise.

I'd like to take a moment to thank running for so many, many things.

Thank you for letting me play like a real runner and do things like bust out a 7.5 mile run in 60 minutes.

Thank you for always being there for me, even when I break up with you for silly things like nursing an injury (broken toe much?) or being with child.

Thank you for making me feel strong and capable, even when I have all these new floppy bits that show through my cool running shirts and I still need to wear two running bras.

Thank you for helping me take 52 minutes today to run like before I was pregnant and rock out like before I graduated high school.

Thank you for giving me something else other than motherhood to define myself by. I'm fine with being fully immersed in the world of kisses, giggles, gurgles, and love (also snot, spit-up, and poo), but it's nice to take a break from babycenter.com and go over to runnersworld.com instead (just as much trolling and flaming, but way less paranoia).

Thank you for allowing me to not have to strictly adhere to a diet of steel-cut oats and bean sprouts. You may not enjoy chik-fil-a before intervals, but you sure do love it afterwards.

Most importantly, thank you for helping me undo years of bad behavior that may have lead to a decade or more of damage had I not rediscovered you after I was through being a smoking, rock-climbing, wanna-be-rockstar pseudo-badass.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

If Clumsiness were an Olympic sport...

That damn toe. The left pinkie. It now requires either reconstructive surgery or amputation. Can you run without a pinkie toe?

After it's last mishap - a well-time collision with an old floor vent on the day I was supposed to go for my first postpartum run - it twists inward at an awkward angle and no longer makes contact with the floor. It also doesn't curl when I flex my toes (as a point of reference, I checked to make sure my right pinkie toe does curl, just so I knew for sure that the left one was messed up).

Now that it sticks up ever so slightly, it finds things to continue to stub itself on. The fact that the baby crap in our house seems to multiply faster than the gremlins doesn't help. My husband swore up and down that our house wouldn't become that house. You know, the one with walker 2 feet from the entryway, the jumperoo in the middle of the living room, the swing in the corner, and the high chair taking up half the kitchen. But alas, we have that house.

Anyway, it wasn't actually a piece of baby-restraining or entertaining equipment that caught my toe this time, it was the dryer. I know- how does my toe just reach out and collide with the dryer like that? It's beyond me. But running hurts again and I'm not happy about it. Notice the use of bold font.

I managed 1.6 miles on the treadmill before the dull ache progressed to a quiet roar so I switched to the elliptical to finish my workout. And I wonder, will I ever break 7 miles again?

To say I'm frustrated is an understatement.

I'm reading all my other mommy-friends' posts about exhilarating runs of 9, 10, and 16 miles and wonder when will it be my turn again? Do I have to wait until my daughter is in half-day preschool or boarding the big yellow bus? Is finally moving to Georgia the answer so that I have the husband there to assist in baby-care, or will my phalanges find a way to sabotage my efforts once more?

Ok, I know "Waaaah!" I'll shut up now.

Right now, my strength-maintenance plan consists of running when my toe is comfortable, and going at it on the elliptical or spin bike like a madwoman when it's not. I also decided I need to get back to doing yoga. Every day. My shoulders and hamstrings aren't sure they agree but I know they'll come around. And my hill running will thank me in the end. So will my baby, when my arms are able to accommodate her every growth spurt.