Today Gabe is wearing a teal jacket, a brown sweatshirt, khaki pants, and black shoes.
Just before we dive into this week’s post, I’d like to take the opportunity to use this blog post to publicly shame someone in my life. I won’t name names, but let’s just say it’s a man and he’s wearing a teal jacket today.
So anyways, this unidentified man came into the kitchen the other night, made himself 1-2 cocktails, and then put the ice cube tray back in the freezer – empty.
Or so I thought.
And so, I was preparing for an “of course you did/men are impossible/I’m always right” sigh as I eyed the empty ice tray from afar. That is, until I attempted to pick up the ice cube tray and noticed that in fact it was not empty but it had been placed back into the freezer with ONE ice cube in it.
I don’t think it needs to be said how much worse this is than just putting an empty ice tray back in the freezer. So I’ll just leave it at that. Public shaming complete.
This week I started training for an 8K that I am going to be running in May. For most people, this doesn’t sound that daunting — an 8K is about 5 miles, which I think most people feel like they could do without any training at all, or at least very little training beforehand.
I, on the other hand, discovered during my first training run that doing a mile and a half felt like I was at the brink of death. So sweaty. So red-cheeked. So wobbly.
Or I should say, re-discovered.
Here is the twist — two years ago, in May, I ran a half-marathon. I did the Vancouver half and it was awesome. I remember running it and having this mindset like, “Just keep running! You’re doing great! Look at how far you’ve gone already! You can totally do this! Maybe I’ll do a marathon next year!”. I got my medal, ate some snacks, and took a leisurely walk around downtown Vancouver from the finish line to my hotel.
Then I got back to my hotel and took my shoes off. And then I saw my left foot big toenail — purple, wavy, on the edge of falling off. Turns out my second toe had been crossed over it for the nearly 3 hours I had been running, and had basically destroyed it.
I didn’t run for 6 months after that while I waiting to 1. stop feeling grossed out and 2. let the toenail heal and grow out healthily.
And I lost all of the momentum I had gained.
And it was hard-earned momentum at that. I am a bad runner. I don’t like it; I find it challenging to keep going; I don’t ever achieve that zen-like state that real runners get where they are just at peace with their thoughts and bodies.
I am forever challenged by running, and taking this long break after training myself to not only keep moving forward for 13.1 miles but to even feel happy while doing it, has ruined me.
Well, not ruined. But I’ve lost just about everything I built up during the 4-or-so months of training I gave to the half marathon. The only glimmer of hope I have to cling to is that yes, at some point in my life I was capable of running 13.1 miles continuously and feeling not desperately unhappy about it.
I run purely because it’s an exercise I can measure and complete. I like running because there are races, and that gives me the sense that my running has a purpose, which is the only way I can get myself to keep doing it. Plus, it’s free and makes me super fit.
But getting back into the groove has been hard. I am remembering early 2012, when I would head out to run around Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill in Seattle, and every run ended sooner than I had expected and with me limping, heaving, holding an aching side cramp. I am there again now; holding my aching side cramp, only this time slightly sweatier because now it’s in California.
The memory of crossing the finish line in Vancouver is fuzzier. It is harder to remember what that felt like, from here, where running is still just something that feels like a punishment. I’m chasing that feeling, though. Hopefully by May I will have caught up to it, or at least will be a puttering along a few paces behind it huffing, wheezing, and sweating.