As the two readers of this blog know, I have had a rocky few weeks. Between house sitting for a friend, ending the most important relationship I’ve ever been in, and then doing a grueling syntax summer school in London, I haven’t had my own physical or emotional space to just focus on me for about a month. One of the things I find more comforting than pretty much anything else is the calm regularity of routine. This month I’m using a solid routine to get me back to my happy place. I also have to turn in a full rough draft of my dissertation by July 28th, so that’s some additional motivation to get comfortable – so I can get working!
A considerable component of this routine is going to be a run streak. I’ve never done a run streak before, as I tend to be part of the ‘less is more’ training camp when it comes to running. But starting today, I plan on running at least one mile every day for the month of July. Should be fun! I’m hoping the motivation of consistent running will spur on my writing, and vice versa. I also plan on writing about it a little bit every day, so stay tuned for more run talk.
I started off today with an early(ish) (for me) 7km run with Maria. I could feel in my lungs the fact that I didn’t run at all last week and ate like crap, though my legs felt pretty good. I just generally feel kind of bloated and slow, but I know that after a few runs I’ll be feeling better.
I’m super tired, so I don’t have the enthusiasm I should for this post, but oh well.
I had my first weightlifting class yesterday and it was rad! It turns out it’s an Olypmpic Weightlifting class (which I didn’t really even know what that meant before I went) which means doing lots of snatches and clean and jerks (ask wikipedia if you’re not sure – I wasn’t). It was definitely hard, and I even fell over a couple times (lol). The teacher is a nice, burly, meathead named Mark and he’s very Scottish so he’s kind of hard to understand. He’s patient in his own bro-ish way though, so that’s good. And he’s got a great sense of humor, which helps when you’re me. There’s only one other person in the class, and he has a bit of experience but not so much as to make me feel bad. My legs were the most tired after class last night, and they are DEFINITELY the most sore today. Holy quadriceps, batman, am I sore. Like, hobbling levels of sore in my quads, and then my back and shoulders are feeling it too. I guess that’s what happens when you do squats for an hour. Oddly, after the class I had this energized, nearly high feeling, which was encouraging. I don’t tend to get the runner’s high, so I was excited to feel something positive after weightlifting.
School has been ambling along this week. I’ve been making slow progress with both my essays and my dissertation survey. I’ve been in the MSc study lab every day this week from 9:30 to 5:30 or so, which makes me feel crazy productive even if I’m only being moderately productive.
There were no posts last week because I spent the majority of my waking in hours in existential depression hell. It’s been a bad week. It wasn’t a total loss – I got a moderate amount of work done and I managed to get my workouts in, but I spent most of it in a very dark place. I’ve got a plan for the next two weeks of paper writing though, and I think it will help. Now that it’s light out until about 8pm, I can get to school by 9 or 9:30, put in a full day’s work, and workout or run afterwards. I think just being around people will make things easier, and hopefully make me feel at least more human, if not more comfortable. Big, thankful hugs go to Greg and Caitlin, for fielding my desperate emails and mopey skype calls. Also, big thankful hugs to anyone that reads this for understanding.
I did make it out on my long run today. It was hard and tiring, but I managed to get a bit of my ‘goal half marathon pace’ in, and that felt good. Unlike last week, I didn’t spend the whole time trudging through a mental wasteland of exhaustion and disorientation, which is also a good thing.
This run was, however, much more chafe-tastic than my usual long runs are. I have a raw spot on my lower back where my zippered pocket from my pants was rubbing, and I have a few tender spots along my bra-line. Definitely made showering uncomfortable today!
Finally, I also start my weightlifting class this week, which I’m looking forward to. Having a sense of purpose when I’m in the gym will be motivating I think.
Today I kind of screwed up my long run. I got lost, and even with my GPS-enabled smart phone, my run ended up being 3k longer than I meant it to…and that includes cutting off the end part. Luckily it wasn’t so long that I had to talk my way onto a bus or convince a cab driver to take me home, wait, and then take me to a cash machine (moral of the story, always bring an atm card/bus change when running in a new place! Rookie mistake!). It does mean that I ended up running 20k when I only meant to run 17k. Now I know that kind of distance isn’t a big deal for people who run 20-30 km in one shot on a regular basis, but considering I run more like 20-30 km PER WEEK it was a bit rough. It doesn’t help that I didn’t fuel properly beforehand so I felt nauseous and lightheaded afterwards, even though I fueled well during the run itself. Here are my (unimpressive) stats if you’re curious:
They’re pretty much what I expected. I ran my half last year in 2h24, so if I actually run at race pace, this predicts I’ll at least be able to match that, if not beat it. At least I know for sure that the distance won’t be a problem – I was only 1.09 km away from running a half marathon today!
Because the run was so much longer than I expected it to be, I was wiped when I got home. Predictably, this had an effect on my ability to work tonight. I didn’t get as much of my semantics paper done as I would like. I managed to outline my syntax paper yesterday, but I’m still researching to even understand the question for my semantics paper, let alone how to answer it. Tomorrow it’s pragmatics and dissertation day, I think, though I might try to sneak some semantics in there.
Finally, I know this is neither about school or about running, but some of you might enjoy it:
Have a photo of my (newly bearded brother) and my dad being cuties.
In all of my workout ramblings yesterday, I forgot to mention that yesterday was my LAST DAY OF CLASSES. That’s right, I have officially survived to semesters of grad school classes. Unfortunately, I still have the majority of the work left to do, as my essays aren’t due until late April and my one exam is in mid-May, but hey! Classes are over! That’s exciting.
Yesterday was a rest day so I didn’t really exercize, but I wanted to try out the push-up blog instructions, so I gave that a go in my bedroom. My arms were a bit tired after 4 sets of 10 wall pushups, but otherwise it seemed not too bad. Today, however, I can tell you: I have triceps, and they are SORE! I take this as a sign that I’m on the right track. Full push-ups, here I come.
Today, on my first day post-classes, I hope to finish up an editing project that has been on my plate for a bit too long, and then go on my first run in nearly a week. I hope 8k isn’t too hard on my lungs. I’ll use my garmin pacing to try and keep me slow, so we’ll see what happens. Fingers crossed!
I ran five kilometers on the treadmill at the gym yesterday, and my lungs didn’t give out! I ran it at an agonizingly slow pace (only made worse by how much I hate running on a treadmill) but I ran and didn’t collapse into an Alex Mack-like puddle of phlegm. Score! I’m still hoping to get my 17k run in this Sunday…
Since I’ve been spending more time at the gym and not running over the past week or so, I’ve had to be more creative with my weights exercises so I don’t get bored. This has lead me to trying out new things I find on the internet, which is both good and bad. It’s good because it means I’m (re)discovering new (old/dormant/whatever) muscle groups, but it’s bad because I don’t know if I’m doing it correctly, and with weights I’m always afraid of injuring myself. I’ve actually found a lot of the encouragement to lift weights and do other bodyweight exercises from running/nutrition/health blogs I read so I’ve been trying to do that more on my own during my cross training days. I’ve been feeling for a while now though that I’m ready to learn more about how to do this all properly, so I’m going to sign up for a weightlifting class that they offer at my gym. Exciting!
My other related fitness goal is that I’ve always wanted to be able to do a real, legs extended, body down to almost-but-not-quite the floor push-up. I found this article yesterday on how to teach yourself to do a push up, so damnit, I’m going to do it!
Finally, I want to write something about food, but I’ve been having even more conflicted than usual feelings about eating and food and fullness in the past week or so, so I’m going to hold off on that for now.
Managing the functions and malfunctions of a sick body is really hard! On the one hand, I still have a cough and am leaking from many orifices, and still generally feel miserable. On the other hand, my body feels stiff and slow from so many days sitting and laying around. One thing I noticed from yesterday was that I felt considerably better in the late afternoon/early evening. Hopefully that will become a trend today, because I hope to go to the gym to do the same kind of workout I did on Friday. Light but solid cardio on the bike felt really good for my wonky body. Last week I focused on ab exercises because my arms were feeling weak, but I think if I can find some floor space today I’ll work on my arms and core.
My body isn’t the only thing feeling weak these days. I’ve had a few seriously hard days of mental abuse – often I feel like I’m not smart enough to be here or do the work that I’m expected to do. Then, when I finally have the motivation to do it, it’s hard to find the energy to power through work that is genuinely challenging. Some of this is lingering sickness brain-fog, and maybe some is also PMS, but I also know some of it is good, old-fashoned self-doubt (with maybe a touch of self-hatred thrown in). I have a study group this afternoon, where we will all reconfirm that none of us actually understands the homework due on Thursday, so at least while I’ll probably still feel stupid at least I won’t feel alone.
The silver lining in all this is that, hey, at least I’m out of bed and being productive. I woke up and fiddled a bit with my assignment. Next I have to gather my things for school and the gym. Then I’ll go to my study group, go to class, go to the gym, come home, eat, shower, and keep working. The day feels foggy and uneven, but I think I can chalk that up to illness and the typical end-of-semester funk.