Thursday, January 23, 2014

Embrace it...or...Soy más fuerte

Staying off the subway, extreme edition, proving two tenets this morning:

1. I'm told yes I was dropped on my head once as a baby.

2. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear. Today's 9 mile bike commute started in apparently 2 degree air. Brought to you by garmont hiking boots, marmot thermals, that full-wool sweater from Ecuador you bought in the student center lobby almost thirty years ago, Gore tex, ll bean for the jacket, and black diamond mittens (the ones that do nothing for you waiting for a bus miraculously kept most of the cold out this morning!) And fleece. Thanks heavens for fleece, including my Samaritans hat!

My phone said I couldn't use the flash in low temperatures...

Stay warm and careful out there!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Warm pajamas

Beautiful morning for a 16 miler (two hours forty minutes). My body feels good - nothing so sore that an ice pack can't fix, and I keep going out for longer than planned, finishing strong. I had company (Thanks, Jen!) for the first few miles, then it was me and my brain, my breathing, and eventually some light snow. 

Had a great catch-up conversation yesterday in which I was reminded why I'm doing this off the charts running, committing to my third marathon in three years, committing to honoring the memories of now two young women from my community by raising money for (and awareness of) Samaritans, Inc. suicide prevention and grief support services. 

At a high school guidance meeting for parents, we were presented to about suicide and the supports available through school. It has been a difficult stretch for our town, having lost two children as well as last year an entire family to a murder-suicide that involved a father, mother, and twin infant boys. I'm obviously heartened that the school is applying resources to connect students with support and awareness. 

This morning, in relatively balmy thirty-degree weather, I thought about warm pajamas. I suppose when it's been much colder I haven't had the luxury of thinking about much but survival. This morning? Beautiful. 

 - A few years ago, when my thyroid hit the weeds, functioning so low my physician wouldn't tell me the number, I would get up and dressed for the day and stand there staring practically in tears at the pajamas folded, still warm, on my pillow, desperately wanting to get back into them and go back to bed. It took me several months to figure out that this went well beyond my typical winter hibernation and say something to get started down the road to diagnose and fix. 

 - When my daughter was small, I would gather her pajamas for the laundry, appreciating the sleepy warmth clinging still when I got them early, grateful for a small being to care for, grateful for that warmth, our ability to provide a cozy place to sleep, a warm house, a soft bed. Warm pajamas. She's a lot more responsible for her own laundry, and she's long outgrown the feety pajamas with embroidered cupcakes and critters that so melt my heart, but we have her, for which I am grateful. 

In my neighborhood, there are families grieving the loss of their children. I cannot fathom the extent of this grief. A small thing I can do is run a marathon to support a service provider with a mission to prevent losses like these. 

Please join me. There's a link over there ------------------------------------>

Watch this space for details of an upcoming fundraising party/raffle/silent auction to help raise money for Samaritans. Thanks!

Apropos of nothing, here's what today looked like: 
this is me, a little gassed after sixteen big ones. 

this is some of the appalling amount of calories I get to take in on a day like this - Taza cacao puro hot chocolate! If you look closely you can see the reflection of the splint on my finger that has almost fixed my six month old overuse injury from taking too many photos and still needing to get an external mouse for my laptop...

Monday, January 6, 2014

Marathon Training, Frozen Tundra Style...

So this is how it's gonna be. Well, Happy New Year from the land of permanent First Night Ice Sculptures. 

In Copley Square on New Year's Day

It occurred to me that this is my third winter in a row filled with marathon training. I ran Hyannis in February, 2012. That was the mildest winter of the three, hands down. Warm, little precip, a joy for training. 

A fluke. 

We appear to be in year two of an ice nightmare winter trend. Cold, wet, icy, snowy. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Erasing all memory of spring leaf, flower, fastball. 

after 13 miles outdoors in temps from -2 to 8 with windchill

This past Saturday, I ran thirteen miles on semi-plowed suburban sidewalks. In single digit temperatures. I overdressed - three layers on my legs and five layers of shirts/jackets. Three layers over my ears (balaclava, hat, turtle fur)! A pair of gloves under my mittens. 

I could have subtracted a layer from my legs and probably two from my tops but the wind chill was supposed to be in the minus twenties and I hate the feeling like I'll never be able to warm up after I've gotten chilled. The feeling that sets in November and doesn't lift until mid-May without me even leaving the house. 

At this point, with road shoulders plowed like clogged arteries, darkness, and bouts of arctic air, winter feels insurmountably constricting. (Though around here we are now getting more than a minute's worth of additional daylight each day, and finally sunrise and sunset are both moving backwards to more humane hours.) 

I so want to just stay in bed. But. Boston is calling and I want to run it like I own it because there will never be another one like it...and I'm not sure I have another one in me. So I train. 

I so want to just stay in bed, but Samaritans takes 350 calls each day - 24/7 - and I am honored to be able to use my running to make sure resources are available for each individual seeking help. I think about caller 351 - will that be someone I know, care about, depend on? Will Samaritans be able to take that call? 

I was asked why I'd run 13 outdoor miles on a day like Saturday, especially since I have a treadmill available. If I didn't get out there, winter would win, and I've got far too many years left in me to be cowed by an entire season. Even if I'd prefer it act more like 2012 and less like 2013/2014. I know what it's capable of and am disappointed terribly in this winter's failure to live up to that potential! 

With Kirstie Crawford (Samaritans marathon team coordinator) in Copley Square on New Year's Day