Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rest weeks, Poison Oak and "Weighty" Issues

Rest Week Musings

Last week was nice. I didn't run much, I like 60 miles all in all. I didn't set or follow a schedule. I just ran when I felt it, but didn't stress. Just gave my body the opportunity to catch up after all the beating I have been putting on it. That makes two weeks with lower mileage in a row and I am definitely sure it was a good call. Last weeks runs were short, but I could feel my body unwinding and giving in to some of its fatigue, so they were not necessarily easy runs. My run on Sunday was crap, I nearly passed out and just felt like I couldn't muster up any energy at all. I tend to forget that this is my first year of ultrarunning and the toll I am taking on my body is infinitely more than the other year and a half of my previous marathon running, so that sometimes feeling that way is expected and that taking these kind of weeks is such a good move. Plus, I didn't feel guilty about it at all. I enjoyed it. Takes the pressure off, reminds me that having expectations of myself is a good and quick way to derail myself. I must be smart. So I was. And this week thus far, I feel good and am running well! I have renewed vigor and a renewed focus on the details. It is not just about getting out there and doing the workouts, its also about the supplementary workouts (CrossFit and Yoga and cycling), its about the nutrition, its about the rest, its about the level of stress in life. All of these things, everything in life affects my running and so I am trying to put my focus towards my passions. I have been struggling lately with feeling stressed, pulled in many directions, feeling unsettled and having too much on my plate. It has denied me a great deal of the pleasure I get from my passions because I am so crunched that I am literally running through life. I realized last week and this week, that I must "slow down" and be back in the moment so that my passions can bring to my life what they have and what they can. They are my sanctuary, they are my joy. I am so glad to be reconnected with that. Instead of focusing on the things that I have to do or stressing about them, I am drawing the line and putting the joy back in my passions. I have been anxious about alot in life lately and it has made me feel like running for the hills, but instead of running for the hills proverbially, I am literally running in the hills to let it all go. I am finally finding a bit of reprieve...

Poison Oak

Two weeks ago today, I went running with my friend Dr. Mike and he decided in order to "slow me down" he would insist we take a path that doesn't actually exist. Well that had us running through some low brush and brambles and my legs got severely scratched. We then ran down a hill through some grass and bushes, etc. Earlier in the run we had been commented on how its a good thing that neither of us are allergic to poison oak. And its true. I am not. Unless of course I have a bunch of open wounds aka massive scratches from running off any descernable trail. At first there was no reaction, for about 3 days they were fine. Actually, Thursday you could barely see the scratches. Then about Wed last week, bam. I have a bad, bad case of poison oak. It took a while to process I guess, but it is gnarly. And itchy and annoying. By Saturday, it was looking very dicey and starting to worry me. I finally got a steroid cream from the dr on Monday and it looks like they are beginning to heal, but geez oh man, it is rough. I had to cut the tounge out of my running shoe so it wouldn't rub on one of the spots.

"Weighty" Issues

People always have opinions about runners weight. Runners and nonrunners alike are very judgmental about what they think a runner "looks like". When I started marathoning and well through last summer, I was told often that I "didn't look like a runner". While that all could be argued as true, since I still retained my basketball player stature and weight which I had worked for 5 years to attain and maintain, I definitely for a 6 foot tall person was not heavy. It always bothered me immensely when people would say that. I have lost alot of weight since last summer (about 20 lbs) and feel great. I didn't lose weight through fancy dieting or anything else. It happened because I increased my mileage and training and maintain an incredibly healthy diet (which has only gotten healthier since I started my Natural Chef program). Even a few months ago I was getting, "those aren't runners legs those are cycling legs" and "if you were so and so, you would be thinking that you would want to lose five pounds". But now I am getting comments (by the same people mind you) that I am "so skinny" and that they are "worried about me".

The reality of the situation is that I am a healthy weight and that I am working hard on not only maintaining a healthy weight, but also I have accepted that if my body now wants to be a lower weight it will be. My body has adapted to my sport, just as my sports nutritionist told me it would a year ago. I am not underweight. Most of the time I don't even weight myself at all. I am doing weight workout (Cross Fit) to buy muscle strength. I eat excellent wholesome, tasty foods. I don't deny myself food, I eat to support my running.

It just goes back to the bigger issue about looking like a runner. I think it is a load of crap and it has influenced sport so negatively. I can't deny that when people tell me I don't look like a runner that it stings or say things like the above. But honestly, that standard is built on cadre of anorexic athletes (if you know your long distance running history, you know there was a huge rash of anorexia during the formative days of women's distance running). If I don't look like a runner, how come I am beating all those who do? Do I have to look like I haven't eaten in a month to look like a runner? I would rather have a fully fueled body and be able to power up a mountain with grace and ease than simply look like a runner. To me, I wish that people would just remember that runners should be lauded for what they are able to do with their bodies, rather than being judged about whether or not they look like they could. It brings a really unwelcome aspect and sentiment to a sport which is such a positive reflection of what the human body can do....

enough of that, time to run...

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