Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Guess I'll just skip April altogether and call it a day then.  Here's the takeaway from the past five (plus) weeks: somehow and against all expectations, I ran and actually Finished the Around the Bay Road Race in Hamilton, Ontario, on March 27.  It was a blistering 18 degrees at the start, but it was also completely sunny.  Surrounded by nearly 7000 other runners, I barely felt the cold once I got moving.  All told, I finished very near the end of the pack, but considering I (really) hadn't adequately trained, I did a lot better than I could have hoped.  So, hooray!  18 miles, done and done.

Unfortunately, the following week, I developed an epic cold and have only run once since March 27th, a measly 2.5 miles.  Even that was a struggle.  One of the things I realized is that I can be sick and work, or I can be sick and run, but I cannot be sick and do both things.  Income trumped cardio.

Raging sinus infection or no, life goes on, and I find myself, five weeks following my crazy Canadian race, living in Denver, Colorado.  Wait, what??  Yes, yes, I moved to Denver.  Four Days Ago.  No car, which means I have been walking all over the place these past few days trying to find groceries, toilet paper, a lamp for my bedroom (still looking for that last one...).  Two things are worth noting for context's sake: One is that I walked Everywhere when I went to school in Boston.  I was a walking machine because it was easy and necessary to walk around Boston.  The second thing is that once I moved back to Chicago following my graduation, I no longer had to walk, much less walk miles and miles at a time.  Sure, I ran lots, but walking is definitely different.  Living in the suburbs with nowhere to walk to, I became complacent and comfortable driving my parents' car if I needed to get somewhere.  Four days ago, all of that changed.  I was once more thrown into a situation where I don't have a car, and there are limited means of getting myself around.  Some weird leg muscles are currently crazy sore, but walking it is!

Now, this blog is sort of supposedly about running.  I haven't run much lately, hence the lack of writing about my running.  What was I supposed to say, "Yep, another day where I couldn't really breathe, just sat around feeling guilty and eating."?  No, because that's lame.  Also, while the sinus infection was my main deterrent, I think I was also kind of burnt out after all the pressure I had been putting on myself about the 30K and not training enough for it.  I just needed to chill out and not feel like I had to go outside in the rain/snow/greyness and train for some race.

But now I live in Denver...  Now I live within sight of the Rocky Mountains and right beside one of the major trail systems that runs through and around the city.  Now there is actual sunshine - already, my schnoz is sunburned.  Now I am Finally on antibiotics and I can actually breathe through my nose again; my sinuses aren't out of control painful!  It is very exciting.  So today, after spending the past three days just walking around, today I laced up my sneakers (sort of new Nikes that I don't really like) and headed to the Cherry Creek Trail directly behind my apartment.  I jacked up the volume on my ipod and took off.  And I ran for a whole entire 15 minutes (gee whiz.) before doubling over gasping for air and desperately needing a walk break.  All told, I ran about 3 miles, with a few intermittent walks.

My God, am I out of shape.  Actually, it's more my lungs that are weak, I think.  Between being sick and now living 5,280 miles about sea level, I was struggling for sure.  It is too late for me to turn back now, and actually, I am already registered for another race, the Colorado Relay.  Terrifying, I know, but hey, why not.  Anyway, I have over three months to train for it, so I should be good...  I hope.

There's only one way to find out, I suppose.  I ran today; I am going to run tomorrow.  I will probably be walking much more as the weeks progress, and I am fairly sure that my mountain bike (!!) is on its way as well.  Ugh, there is so much to look forward to out here.  Life is pretty damn exciting right now, even if I am also scared out of my mind that I am going to run out of money and not be able to pay my rent and my bills and then I guess I'll end up one of the friendly homeless people scattered throughout downtown Denver.  But not tomorrow, anyway.

This life of mine is all about having crazy and absurdly amazing goals (the Colorado Relay!?) while still living day to day and not letting my anxiety overwhelm me.  I am not sure I had ever really thought about moving to Denver before maybe three months ago, but here I am, alive and breathing and starting to run again.  Who knows what this life will bring?  I pray that the bad will occasionally be tempered by some good, and I pray I will be able to conquer the bad that occurs anyway.  Running helps.  Friends help a lot.  Looking at the Rocky Mountains is pretty awesome as well.  And one day (soon, I hope), I will be running with friends up and through those mountains.  Crazy stuff, but hey, it's life, and it is all mine.

Running more.  At altitude!

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