I hate this shit.
I just want to get it out there. I really do.
I hate sticking my neck out every day and trying to convince people that competitive sports provide this amazing opportunity and outlet. I hate the little Pollyanna optimist in my gut that keeps getting kicked in the teeth every time another athlete gets nailed or finally admits to doping. Continue reading
I’d never noticed the house before.
Small house. West side of 37th street.
I might never have noticed it, but I was flying down the street at full speed having just escaped my house for a much-needed nighttime run. I was flying down my street and the pavement was wet and shiny underneath shoes that probably need replacing.
I noticed the house because of the dog. Continue reading
Filed under life, running
Welcome to the first-ever edition of Gear Friday – my weekly dish on all the gadgets, gizmos, and gear that are currently rocking my world (and should be rocking yours, too).
In 2003, I played just over 100 softball games. I was on 5 league teams and a tournament team that played 1-2 times per month. It was heaven. It was the best softball year in history. It was amazing.
But about halfway into the season, the arch of my left foot started to ache. I went to a podiatrist who told me I had plantar-fascitis. He injected cortisone into the ball of my foot (OUCH!), ordered me some orthotics and then told me I’d likely have to just play through some pain.
I’m an athlete. I play sports. I compete.
First and foremost, that’s how I define myself. That’s where I find value in physical activity. My heart believes that it (the activity) should serve a purpose as a means to end toward a greater goal.
For years I considered myself a purist in this respect. I scoffed at the idea of a gym. I scoffed at the idea of diets and nutrition and exercise tapes and dumbbells and workout “aids”. I actually scoffed at the very idea of a “workout” insofar as I defined it as an isolated set of activities designed only for the purpose of achieving a certain level of fitness driven solely by vanity.
Not for me, I thought. I’m an athlete.
Sure. Sure you are.
When I start to get really stressed out I often have the uncontrollable urge to retreat. Shut and lock the door. Erect social walls. Stop taking phone calls. Cease with all the endless emailing.
I stay in the bathtub longer than I should reading the New Yorker, ZoeTropes All-Story, The Sun Magazine, The Tin House and Bicycling magazine. National Geographic even. Anything to feed the mind while the body takes a vacation, submerged in warm, bubbly comfort.
I know I can’t live my life from the bathtub – even with this newfound freelancey-freedom that I have recently come across. The quieter I get, the more my emotions start to congeal. The more they congeal, the murkier and messier they get. I’m a person who can go really deep – I wade into the murky depths and it can be a valuable exercise. I frequently write from that place and most of my best material comes from those excursions. But I have to be careful not to stay very long because it can be heavy and hard and dark and the further I go, the harder it is to get back out.
With all the hard emotional bullshit that his happening for me right now, I’ve found it really hard to get myself to boot camp these past three days. During these times I absolutely rely on the presence of accountability to get me through. Quite honestly, the only thing that has gotten me there has been the idea that people are waiting for me – that people might miss me if I didn’t turn up.
Boot Camp ended this week and I wanted to run my timed mile in under 7 minutes. That was my goal. I got a chest cold on Thursday morning, the day before the run, but I figured I could still pull it off. I also wanted 60 pushups in the push-up test. I did 40 on the intake test and ran a 7:39 mile in 18 degree weather.
I figured these were challenging but still reasonable goals for improvement. I worked my ass off in camp, posted a perfect attendance record, and ate reasonably well. I wanted to see the results.
By the time I hit Friday morning I had already worked about 55 hours that week. My immune system was beleaguered from the stress and long hours. I woke up at 4:30am and put on all my favorite cold-weather running clothes: sugoi tights, high-school running bra (still my favorite), wife beater, long-sleeve, loose-fitting running shirt, pearlizumi headband. I threw Sam’s North Face flight-series anorak over the top for good luck and added stripey, stretch gloves for hand warmth. Downstairs I found my water bottle, apple and ipod mini just where I’d set them out. The mini was already set to play Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” at full blast on repeat.
I was nervous [but on the surface I looked calm and ready].
I was quiet and focused during warm-up until the start of the run. I kept reminding myself to cut slack, take off some of the pressure. “This is what you do.” I told myself. “This is what you’re good at. Relax.”
Dear Boot Camp Diary,
I spent about 75 seconds On Tuesday in a full gymnastic bridge, with my forehead on the ground, back arched, hips high, feet flat on the ground. I have been working into the position slowly. The world was throbbing and bright when I righted myself. Pulsing and vibrant.
Heroin! Crack! What is this drug?! Acid.
Everything so pretty, every cell so alive, head reeling. Can this be the same world I was in 90 seconds ago? Impossible!
Daniel chimed in and explained that those of us who’d been in a full bridge (as opposed to partial) might be feeling kind of funny.
I am high. I am so happy! What is the meaning of this?!