books, running

Oatmeal is my teddy bear

After Working, by Robert Bly

A terrific poem by Robert Bly: thank you.

After a long drought of poetry, our local library has helped me find some new poems to enjoy before bed, and to share with some of my yoga classes. One such poem is posted above. It’s from his “Eating the Honey of Words: New and Selected Poems.”

I have a month to go before my first marathon. I feel like training for it has taken over my life, which is making me just uneasy enough to think that it may, in fact, change my life by the time the sun sets on October 5, as promised. I am curious to see the how part of this equation. I can share these surprising recent discoveries:

  1. I am able to run 20 miles with no food (no pre-run meal and no mid-run Gu, etc.) in me other than a few calories from Nuun-fortified water…as long as I run slowly enough. Which won’t be happening on race day, but it’s been an interesting experiment in trying to train my body to burn something other than glycogen (AKA fat). Truthfully, skipping my pre-run bowl of oatmeal was more of a mental test, anyway. It’s like my teddy bear for long runs.
  2. I need more sleep than my standard 6.5 to 7 hours, if I’m logging 35+ mile weeks. And, I can’t just chop off the last 1.5 hours or my evening; I still need to do my rituals, but skip whatever fun I’d normally do before those rituals.
  3. Trying to balance the various elements of training for the race, as well as trying to balance life around it has helped me make a few decisions … faster. Priorities seem to come into clearer relief.
  4. Running with a GPS watch – this is the first running season I’ve done so – has been helpful in a variety of ways. I rely most on the heart-rate reading it gives me, to help me determine my training pace on most runs. It’s also been nice to have a mileage counter, though I still spend a little time pre-mapping out some runs, to help hit mileage goals. However! I ran two races last week, a back-to-back 10k and 5k, and the GPS component to the watch wasn’t working. And it was ok, if not better, to just go by feel and use the watch as a stopwatch. I did not PR in the races, but I did run consistently faster than I’d predicted I would.
  5. I put away (ate) a 3-cup volume of cut-up raw veggies, on Saturday.
  6. I have found a way to elevate my feet while watching TV after a long run: put ’em up on the rocking chair!

I can also share these not-so-surprising discoveries:

  1. I have not lost weight, but I think my shape has changed a little. I didn’t so much run my butt off as run it … denser. There are certainly worse things that could happen but I still harbor some degree of hope that I would carry just a little less weight over those 26.2+ miles on October 5. Ah well. I doubt it will happen in taper. As a result, I think my mantra is evolving into “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
  2. a walking commute

    One one of those sunny commutes

    Man, I go through a lot of laundry. Way more than I did when I went through yoga teacher training, four years ago. A week with 4 runs, 1 strength workout, 1-2 rock climbing evenings, teaching 2 yoga classes, and at least one round-trip walk or bike commute… this does not equal a week of 5 superheated yoga classes.

  3. I haven’t yet suffered – though there’s still time – through blackened marathoner toenails, though I had a close call a few weeks ago on a 20-mile trail run. However, every single run leaves a few bites on my torso, usually from abrasive parts of my running bra. So … I’m not unscathed.
  4. Good god, my orthotics SMELL. I’m re-thinking the decision to go with full-length style ones, versus the 3/4 length ones I’ve had in the past. Yes, it’s nice that they don’t slip around in the shoe a little, but I don’t think there’s a way to get the stink out of the insole glued to these $700 wonders. Grrr.

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