Thursday, March 21, 2013

Excellent Guests. . . . and Why I Run! And Why I Won't. . .

My daughter and granddaughter came for a visit last Friday, and my son-in-law joined us on Saturday. Sunday morning, I headed out for my run after cuddling and laughing with little Harriet. Each loop of our island is 4.1 kilometres, so I had 6 loops to complete for my scheduled Long Steady Distance run. I stop in at the house between loops, to hydrate, use the toilet, grab a few bites of banana or whatever, and I managed mini-visits as Megan and Rob got up, and coffeed their way into the morning.

As I came down to the last hour, I made sure everyone knew how hungry I'd be by the end of my almost-25k, and Rob took the hint. When I came into the house to refuel before the last round, he was rendering a slab of happy-pig bacon into lardons and caramelizing onions. The potatoes were parboiled, ready to add to the mix. He rooted around in the fridge for some red peppers, found some arugula that promised to add a little bite. By the time I panted my way into the house after Loop 6, he had Hollandaise sauce ready, and while I headed to the beach for a quick anti-inflammatory wade in the icy saltwater, he was poaching eggs.

My quick shower done, I came downstairs to this plating in action -- a scoop of hash, as above.

The poached eggs added
A pretty topping of oh-so-yummy Hollandaise. . .
and Breakfast is served!

I'm almost just kidding, of course, about such food being the reason I run, but there is something pretty fabulous about the surge of endorphins mixing with healthy exhaustion, such exhaustion being revived by tucking into great food with no thought of calories except the urgent need to replace those just spent.

A quick update on my running situation: I conceded a few weeks ago -- at first with reluctance and then, gradually, with relief -- that I would not be ready to run the Vancouver Marathon at the beginning of May. The 3 weeks I didn't run because I was ill made a big dent in my training and then coming back from that and running a Half Marathon probably took too many resources that should have been saved for the May race.  As well, losing a night's sleep every second weekend to care for my Mom, plus many hours of sleep at home thinking about her, drained more resources. And reminded me that as far as priorities go, in a time the family demands are high and work expectations are also challenging, a Marathon might not be in the running, priority-wise (ha! bad, bad pun, yes!)

What helped me decide this? Recognition that my fatigue might not only be due to worrying about Mom and work, but that running 50 kilometres a week might contribute as well. Also some shin splint-y tenderness that wasn't going away no matter how much I ignored it. Emphasized, finally, by a sharp warning from a yelp by the outer instep of my left foot. I took a week off, did more stretching, iced the sore spots, and thought and thought and then surrendered to reality.

At almost 60, with a plethora of responsibilities to complicate my running schedule, I may need to take a longer approach to running a marathon. In order to complete the weekly distances, I've been abandoning the required cross-training in stretching/strength sessions, dropping down to one Pilates session a week, often missing that. My body is going to need a serious commitment to stretching in order to meet my goal without injury, so I'm going to have to wait until there's time to work in two weekly sessions of yoga and/or Pilates. Meanwhile, I'm stretching whenever I get 5 or 10 minutes, making sure I get to at least one class a week, and I'm trying to maintain my 25Km base. I'm hoping to shoot for 30 kilometres before we go away at the end of May, but I'm not going to attempt that until I've done a few more 25kilometre runs comfortably. (Sunday's was my 4th 25k in a few months, the most enjoyable yet, and considerably better than the pathetic  version of that distance a ran 3 weeks ago).

 I suspect I could probably make myself complete the Vancouver Marathon at the beginning of May, but to injure myself for the pleasure of crossing a run off my list does not appeal. There will always be another race to run, as a fellow runner reminded me recently.

Meanwhile, there are lots of yummy post-run breakfasts to enjoy. . . .
And lovely house-guests to cook them. Here's to having a professional cook as a son-in-law!

So there you have it. Having announced my goal nervously, tentatively, in this very space a few months ago, I'm letting you know I'm postponing it for at least a few months, perhaps for a year. That's okay, right? And now I'm off for a run . . . in the cold (just hovering around 0, celsius) spring sunshine. . . .

26 comments:

  1. Your breakfast does look delicious!
    I think that you do not need to push yourself too hard right now given all that you are dealing with, but that's just my opinion.
    Enjoy those house guests :-))

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  2. That breakfast looks amazing!

    I certainly don't blame you for making this very sensible decision to jettison the marathon for the time being. There are other marathons that you can run when things are not so stressful and you have more time and energy to devote to training. However, I do hope that we still might be able to meet up while I'm in Vancouver to run the half in May if your schedule allows.

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  3. It sounds to me like you're being very smart about the running and your body's limitations (we all have 'em!). The expression "it's a marathon, not a sprint," which le monsieur and I apply to so many situations in our lives could also apply to *training* for a marathon. And pictures of that breakfast has my mouth watering!!

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    1. You're right about that expression, and I hadn't really thought of it that way -- thanks!

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  4. One of the things I've enjoyed about getting older is that I am free to make decisions that may be unpopular with others and even a part of myself. The confidence in knowing when to say "When" is a valuable gift and putting priorities in order is a demonstration of your thought and consideration. Let your family and friends give you the joys and the heartbreaks of life, for without them emptiness would rule.

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    1. "unpopular with others and even a part of myself" -- yes, that "even" captures what's going on with me. It did feel good to know enough to say "When" despite displeasing or disappointing part of myself. Thanks for commenting, Stacy.

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  5. Absolutely OK, not that you need anyone's approval, ma. It seems to be the time in your life just now to take care of loved ones and yourself, than to complete x number of kms. The road will always be there, others will not.

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    1. It does seem to be that time, again. . . . and you're right, the road will be there, long after my mom is gone. . .

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  6. Such considered decision making leads to wise choices. Taking care of yourself is so important, especially while giving so much to others.

    I was especially impressed by the post-run wade in the ocean. Brrrr. How deep do you wade?

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    1. Just to my waist, at most, sometimes just to my hips -- I do find it seems to have an anti-inflammatory effect & my hips like that. But brrrrr, it is cold!

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  7. Good for you pacing yourself. You have a lot on your plate at the moment.

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  8. Mater, it's totally ok! 25 km is 25 more than I could ever run!! :0)

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  9. You're absolutely right not to do the Marathon in May. Living with a marathon runner as I do, I know how very important it is to get the mileage (and the stretching) in for months before the race - if you went in under-prepared, you would injure yourself, possible not make it, and feel awful. You'll do it when you're ready, I know that.

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    1. Thanks for the validation and the encouragement, Tiffany. I suspect it will take me quite a few more months, if not more, to feel ready, and meanwhile, I'd much rather be able to walk for the rest of my life than to run one long race in May.

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  10. I ditto what has already been said. At almost 70 I hate that there are things I can no longer do (like run - major knee problems). My mom - at 95 hates that there are things she can't do (like drive). So we both focus on the things we can do and take joy in family and friends.

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    1. How lucky you are to have some fierce longevity on your side -- and an example in joy-finding!

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  11. Giving yourself permission to change your mind, change your tack, change plans.....it's a time of life thing, I think. Doesn't it feel good?

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  13. Sounds like a wise choice! Better to run when you can savor it without injury, or the stress of trying to do too much in too little time. After all, this is about doing something you enjoy and are proud of, not just a checkbox.

    Also, that breakfast looks fantastic. I would exercise very regularly for the privilege of meals like that!

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    1. Thanks Aleatha, for commenting here. Nice to see my Twitter friends in my other Cyber -hoods ;-)

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  14. Holy cow, that breakfast is a feast! And so beautifully presented.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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