Thursday, January 24, 2013

Case of the Crankies

On the plane ride back to gloriously temperate California from snowy Saint Louis (I really will not miss seeing this temperature displayed on the dash when I get in a car), I had finished the book I brought and couldn't play any more games of Temple Run on my phone because my eyes were starting to cross. G was again engrossed in Hawking's "The Grand Design" and I feared if I asked any questions, he would start to weird out at me as he often does when whatever he's reading is bending his brain I left him undisturbed. 

As I often do these days, I began to think about running. Do I even like running? Why do I run? It started as a means to an end with the "end" being endurance for soccer. By the time I graduated college, it was basically a habit and a way to stay active. Okay, but there are plenty of others ways to stay active - most notably CrossFit - that I really enjoy...but I always still run. Why? I tried to come up with some profound reason, but it just boiled down to this: it makes me feel good. Obviously right now, I am running with a specific goal in mind (not dying on the streets of Boston), but in general, running is my go-to to get happy.

I'm pretty happy and easy-going, but like everyone, I can descend to a very crabby state. To put all my flaws on the table, I get fussy a lot and these are the main triggers:
 - when I'm hungry. Quick side note here that just a couple weeks of marathon training has caused a noticeable spike in my hunger levels and I've started carrying granola bars in my purse in an effort to stave off the rage and fury that hold hands with hunger pangs.
 - when I'm tired from lack of sleep. Contrarily, I'm a much better person when I'm bone tired from a workout.
 - when I haven't worked out, but wanted to. This usually comes with charming additions of indignation and  affrontedness for being so deeply mistreated (not sure who to blame when it's my own poor scheduling that precluded it...)
 - when I don't get enough "me" time
 - when I feel like I'm stagnant
 - when I feel like my husband is unjustly dividing his attention between me and something else (when he's insisting on doing something ridiculous like working...pssht)

As I write these things out, I'm struck by what a child I am and by how many temper tantrums running helps tame. When I run, I obviously get my exercise fix and my "me" time. But I also get a daily sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. When I'm following a training schedule (as I often do even if there is no race on the horizon), I have direction and motivation. Everyday that I attempt and complete a workout, I'm progressing. Working towards something big and scary like the Boston Marathon is even better because in addition to everything else, I get a little rush (one fourth pure terror, three fourths excitement) of anticipation that keeps me going every time I think about the race. Running manages my fuss factors beautifully. It also helps that G knows how to expertly toe the line between paying attention to me and giving me space, while being completely supportive. He even told me that he would probably stay married to me even if I dumped my shorts during the marathon. 

Bottom line, I'm grateful for running and for Graham. I'm also grateful to Brian Day for asking me if I was going for a sub 3:30 marathon...that made me feel awesome. To answer your question, that would be amazing and if we're being real, is probably also amazingly far from what will go down. Though I don't have a goal pace or time in mind (yet), you (Brian) asking me has endeared you to me forever. 

As of now, my goal is simply to live through it :) 

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