Monday, July 27, 2009

Stress and no running

Planning a wedding is stressful; planning a wedding in a weekend after pulling out of your original wedding venue 2 months before your wedding is REALLY stressful.

So, how did I deal with my stress? Did I admiringly lace up my trail shoes and hit the trails outside of Greenville, SC? Or, take my legs to the pavement to pound out my worries. No. I watched tv; I slept; I stared at the wall, and Saturday night, I drank wine and laughed.

Background: Saturday morning I woke up excited and ready for a run in western, NC. I packed my mother, my sister, my trail running shoes and my gear, and we headed north. When we arrived, our original wedding venue was clean and breezy (beautiful day in western NC). We sat down on a couch and waited for our anticipated meeting to finalize the details. Instead, we were met with awful news about the hotel's potential demise. We asked numerous questions, listened and eventually went into shock.

We left confused, distraught and without a wedding venue 2 months before the scheduled date. Anger was my first emotion. For my mother it was sadness and confusion. Fortunately, anger can be a powerful tool when you need to find a "game plan." After we found a viable alternative (although not preferred), we found a caterer and we went home to finalize the details that were supposed to be finished by 6pm on Saturday. We had a healthy dinner and then the wine started.

We drank wine and watched wedding videos of couples dancing (i assumed at their first choice of wedding venue) and we laughed. And, laughed, and I eventually fell asleep, exhausted.

Sometimes, a run is perfect; it is the perfect time to labor over details and clear the mind of excess thinking. Sometimes, it is dreaded (maybe I have been running too much...) This weekend, I skipped my beloved routine of a Sunday or Saturday long gaunt around the mountains for a weekend of rest. But - this week I feel better and ready to tie the laces and pound out the everyday anxieties.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Leave the desire for long runs in the mountains

My expectations were of no running last weekend at the beach. I assumed 3 days of sun, sitting and meditating on the waves as they rolled over and over.

But, on Saturday, my friend had rented a bike, so we packed up some water and rode off onto the paved trail. I, again, assumed that it would be short and quick with no adventure. But, when our "trail" ran into the beach, we thought - how wonderful that would be. Sand, the sound of the ocean and moving air!! We were deceived by our delusions. The beach part started off well; until we realized we were running (she was biking - remember) against the wind. We were being sprayed with sand and salt. Then, I tried to find some solid ground. Again, mistake, I allowed my goretex shoes to get wet, but due to the amount of saturation, they had become unbearably heavy. I felt as though I had attached heavy weights to each shoe. After this realization, I tried to speed up. The effort was futile. And, my friend was having an even harder time on her bike. We were both miserable; wet and stinging with sand, so as we smart and well conversed in beach activity decided to take a random "path" off the beach.

Then, we were in a massive condominium complex surrounded by large trees, and there was no breeze. To spare the reader too many details, before we had to ask for directions 3 times, before I had to stop and walk b/c I was exhausted; before we were out there for over 2 hours, we were attacked by mosquitoes. Large, unyielding mosquitoes. They came for us. Like an army hiding in the bush - the lunged at us; pulled on our limbs and left me bleeding and running and screaming "help me" (although I don't remember the scream - my friend had to inform me).

I may return to my original assumption - when I go to the beach, leave the desire for LONG runs in the mountains.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Weekend of glory - hurrah 4th and my questionable sanity

Lately, there has been a new style of running on the weekend. Now, my rest day has become Saturday, and my day of miles has become Sunday (with (hopefully) a long run during the week in addition). These Sunday runs are cherished, and are comprised of: me, my dog, and a forest somewhere in the southeast with dramatic vistas.

This weekend was no exception. 4th of July! To celebrate, the fiance and I packed our car, loaded Grendel, and headed to North Carolina. I took advantage of the cool weather and lovely balds all above 5000 feet. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were some of the best days of running I have had in a while.

Sanity questioned at the house: When questioned about the amount of time I had been running up and down each surrounding peak, I found myself blaming the altitude for this apparent lack of judgment (as surmised by the non-runners)- how do you explain to someone that running several 6000 foot peaks is enjoyable?

Sanity questioned on the trail: We also faced answering the hikers' on the AT questions. Fortunately, I had my favorite human trail partner with me, and as we gabbed about our lives, we were able to (sometimes) avoid the strange looks from hikers and dodge questions about our sanity.

Ode to those who are cursed to love running up the sides of mountains!