about bliss

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

running solo

This week I return to work, as fall semester thrums to life with eager eyed first year students and anxious profs setting out grand ambitions in 8 page long syllabi...how I love this comfortable world of learning!

I celebrated the first day of class by dinning at the local foodie mecca with my friend K. I enjoyed a delightful, whimsical skillet of handcut “chips,” dusted with herbs and sea salt, a la my favorite and highly addictive terra red bliss chips. I followed that with a salad of bibb lettuce, spicy candied pecans, and winsantigo parm (a great deal if you can find it--a wisconsin parm style cheese that truly sings), dressed with basil vinaigrette. Perhaps a tad too much dressing, as the lettuce became a bit oily, but the flavors were lovely. A glass of rosé, a french press decaf coffee, and half of a lemon curd tart (w/graham crust, vanilla whipped cream, and strawberry coulis) rounded out the meal. A decadent start to the year!

My running had reached a point of duty and I was not feeling confident in my upcoming challenges. I would frequently ask myself WHY I decided to run a half marathon and couldn’t conjure up anything that sounded like an answer. Then yesterday I was scheduled to run 10 miles with my friend J, who’s also been struggling with motivation and some physical problems. I geared up throughout the day, treating myself to the refined sugary bliss of Great Harvest Bread Company’s Cinnamon Swirl Bread and much positive inner talk. The weather was spot on for a long run, neither cool nor warm, and overcast. We stopped at 1.2 miles to stretch, and again at 2.2 where my friend decided she couldn’t do this anymore...no more training, no half marathon. She turned around and I was faced with the reality that my last month of training would be how I began--primarily alone. And my inner confidence and trust in myself rose to the forefront and I set out down the rest of the route alone, with my iPod providing random tunes to guide my feet down the sidewalk.

I had one of my better runs ever, despite feeling muscle soreness at 6.5 miles (due to a strenuous dune/stair run on Sunday) and sore, tired feet at 8 miles. I called forth memories of long hikes, and a vision of being with friends M and J, pushing through extra miles to meet our reward of hot gooey pizza, comfy beds, and warm showers at the end of the trail. I focused on the promise of homemade chocolate chip cookies, a long shower, and slipping into my favorite, soft, pink Patagonia pullover.

Subtracting the 15 minutes for various stops (twice to buy water/use bathroom, once to say farewell to J), my actualy run time was 1.37! Even a great time! So now I feel confident and excited about October 1. And I’m looking forward to seeing B and M, to running with B and L, to be in Chi-Town with good friends, to finally complete this goal I’ve been training for...

B, I hope your long runs are going well. I’ve taped my training schedule to my kitchen cupboard so I’m reminded of my running commitments. Next week will be my biggest week, as I attempt a 12 mile run on Sunday the 10th, incidentally the day before I take a cake making class, and the morning before I share those 3 yummy cakes with friends at a cake tasting party!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

farewell, general

Congrats to B on her race last weekend--way to make your goal time! This heat is certainly making running that much harder. Thank goodness our big race is in October when the weather should be more ideal for running. I'm glad to hear your short training runs have improved. I know just what you mean about what I call the running continuum...some days I run with such ease and confidence, and other days I wonder why I'm voluntarily putting myself through misery.

I finally ran another 8 mile long run yesterday, and I felt mostly okay. My problem has to do with fueling up for the race. Too much food, and I have indigestion. Not enough food, and I have a different form of indigestion. Any ideas? Our running group is having a food and fitness program this week and hopefully I’ll learn some new approaches to eating for endurance! I'm scheduled to do another 8 miler Tuesday night with my new running friends, since I'll be out of town next weekend. I hope it goes even better than yesterday's run.

This past week has been eventful. First, the sad news. Our family dog, General, had to be put to sleep. His health was in serious decline--two days before my Dad took him to the vet, we saw General limping around the yard. He would take a few steps and then stop, and then resume his trek to his favorite spots around the yard. We were all sad, but knew this was the kindest action. General was 13 and a half years old, and especially for an all-outdoor “farm dog,” that’s not too shabby.

This week included a trek to Zingy’s with S. We dined there twice, complete with gelato on the second round. I bought bread, sweet wheat and rustic Italian, and cheese, fresh mozzarella and san joaquin gold. S and I shopped at my favorite store, Vintage to Vogue, where I found a magenta shirt of cotton lawn that I’ll pair with a pair of white cotton/linen pants for my back-to-school outfit. I also snagged a pair of David Kahn jeans on super discount.

Tonight I’m enjoying dinner with friends K and J, who are now neighbors. I’ve baked a peach-blueberry cobbler for dessert, and the warm smell of fruit and cake baked together fills my home with the scent of comfort and summer at its best.

The farmer’s market these days is filled with the bounty of the season, and I’m eating corn on a regular basis. Yumm! I’ve taken to making a kind of succotash, with whatever combination of corn and beans and other veggies cut into small pieces, and sauteed in olive oil with a bit of garlic. I hit the just cooked veggies with a touch of milk and some parm-reg. Yumm again.