Reflections on a Strange Weekend

My Running Buddy, London

Well, what an interesting weekend THAT was.

I had plans, wonderful plans.  And then all hell broke loose.

Friday night I set out for a quick eight miles.  When I arrived home from a busy work day as a desk jockey, my stomach/back/organs/gizzards (whatever) were feeling tight, almost crampy in nature.  It was a wholly unpleasant feeling, difficult to describe though the closest approximation would be the soreness and stiffness I had in the days after being rear ended so hard  a few years ago that my seat actually dislodged throwing me into the steering wheel – while my seat belt remained stationary.  My theory, however, was that I would shake it off after a couple miles and all would be well.

Sadly, all was not well.  After mile two, said bubbly crampy-ness had spread, encompassing my rib cage and kidneys.  Finally, it moved into my upper and lower back until I was nothing more than a painfully twisted, tight and crampy torso of  misery.  When the cramping started sneaking down into my quads and through my shoulders, I made the decision to hobble my way home.  As long as I was walking, the pain eased up but the instant I started to run the tightening continued.  In short, it was miserable.

I took an Aleve.  I foam rolled.  I did some yoga.  I also did some really good whining.  And then I did what any self respecting wounded runner would do:  I went out for a beer.

Technically, I went out for a hard English cider but beer sounds far more manly.

And these lovely beverages were enjoyed right on the river with this lovely view:

It was a pretty nice way to spend the evening after an epic fail.  As far as the long run gone bad went, I wasn’t horribly worried.  I figured I could pick up eight miles on Saturday and my six on Sunday.

That is when the Universe really started messing with me.  There were the car problems that made me miss flyball practice with the dogs.  Then there was the toilet breakdown in our modest three bedroom, one bath house-which inevitably meant hiking over to the hardware store to find necessary parts (and use their restroom).  The hardware store is conveniently located next to a delicious doughnut shop so of course we picked up a dozen doughnuts.  And as we were walking the mile or so home, we came across a garage sale with a giant dog crate in great condition for sale at the ridiculously low price of $20.  If you are in the business of dog sports, training and rescue there is no such thing as too many dog crates so we bought it too.

Picture this:  two bathroom deprived thirty somethings carrying a toilet repair kit, dozen doughnuts and giant dog crate three blocks.  If the neighbors didn’t think we were nuts before, they sure do now.

So anyway, after the morning’s adventures and lingering tightness up and down both sides of my rib cage and shoulders I was pretty much spent and decided that it wouldn’t kill me to take an afternoon off from running.  Instead, I did things like turn leftovers into new and creative meals.

Example 1:  Add red bell peppers, onion and tofu to pumpkin coconut soup and serve over rice for Thai Pumpkin Curry.

Example 2:  Add tofu, tomatoes, squash, onions and a variety of seasonings to leftover black bean and corn salsa for a delicious spicy southwest chili.

I like dual purpose meals.  Actually, as a general rule I hate leftovers so the only way I will eat them is if I turn them into something new and exciting.

I also made this very tasty lunch.

Note: You can totally make egg salad with Greek yogurt instead of mayo. It was absolutely delicious and the only difference was fewer calories. Darn.

Despite my general laziness on Saturday, I woke up slightly more motivated on Sunday if by motivated you mean walking three blocks to the grocery store to use their restroom because the toilet still wasn’t working and we sure as hell aren’t going to be driving 2.5 hours to NorCal for that dock jumping competition.  Fortunately, a plumber friend was on the way.  There are three types of friends one should always have:  a mechanic, a plumber and a masseuse.  I am still working on that last one but fortunately we have the first two covered.  Still, physically feeling fantastic and now stuck home for the day I decided to run later in the afternoon to challenge myself in the heat (because if there is one thing I can’t stand more than wind, it is heat!).

Around 3 PM I took a lovely nap in preparation for my run.  It was one of those deliciously sinful naps where you stretch out on the couch in your running clothes with one of those afghans made by Grandma with terriers piled on top of you.  This is code for, “I had every intention of heading out to run at 3 PM and fell asleep on the couch.”

But when I did wake up, I felt energized and ready to go.  I stretched and felt none of the cramping/stiffness from Friday so I leashed up London and Crush and headed out for eight miles.

Eight very consistent miles.  Consistently SLOW.

First, after about a quarter mile I realized that I had completely forgotten to fill my hydration belt.  Oops.  So I had to turn around and head back to the house, fill up then start all over again (so technically I ran 8.25 miles or so, but I decided to just reset my Garmin because I am cool like that).

We set out at a blistering 12:30 pace which steadily slowed to 12:58.  We loped the next few miles, pausing only to untangle dogs from my feet (they were squirrely as hell) and to wait for traffic at various stop signs or navigate through unusual heavy foot traffic.  There was no walk/running involved (which is usually the only way you see 13+ minute splits from me), I was just jogging at a slow pace.

Painfully slow at times.  I could sort of feet the motivation draining from me each time my faithful Garmin beeped another mile’s completion flashing painfully slow times at me.  I swear I could almost hear it saying, “Dude, WTF lady?  Where are those 11:15’s and 11:30’s?”  But still, we pushed on.

My lap around the Marina actually felt really free, easy and speedy.  It was not speedy.  Whatever.  I took a break and let the dogs cool off at the dog park before we set out for the house.  No matter how hard I pushed, I was creeping.  Oddly, the dogs (both well conditioned athletes known for their speed and endurance) were also creeping, even starting to lag behind me.  It was like there was some sort of invisible tractor beam pulling us backwards.

Crush and London try to cool down while getting mobbed by other dogs at the dog park.

Eventually, we rolled into the driveway, 1:42 hours after we started.

See how painfully slow this was? And yet I RAN the entire thing. Whatever.

Fortunately, the boy had interpreted my text about 2 miles from home giving him my coordinates as meaning, “Please have dinner ready when I get home because I am starving.”  My super delicious veggie chili dogs were ready.  Think two grilled veggie hot dogs smothered in the aforementioned spicy southwest chili on delicious Dutch crunch bread served with roasted corn on the cob and chilled watermelon.  Yeah, it was heavenly.

Crush is cooling off his feet.

I did learn something from this run.  The soreness and stiffness from Friday?  It is almost certainly related to training two new dogs to run attached to a waist belt because I was immediately tight and stiff after running with the dogs on Sunday in almost the same areas.  I noticed throughout the run that I was leaning slightly to one side to compensate for the pressure of the dogs pulling against me (when they weren’t lagging behind me).  It’s never been an issue before because I usually only run with the dogs on trails where they can be off lead.  I’m hoping that I will work through it with more practice-sort of like working a new muscle group-because the more comfortable I get running in the city again, the more often the dogs will be attached to me.

Public Water Dishes: Cleaned regularly and available to fill at your convenience.

On a great note, I put in 27 miles last week.  Sure, some were less than ideal but I did them.  They were MINE.

Thank goodness it’s Monday and that weird, funky, semi productive, sometimes fun but also really frustrating and not at all what I had planned weekend is over and done with.  It’s a new week.  Let’s make it a good one, shall we?