Friday, December 16, 2011

Oh hello, blog!

Without making excuses for myself, I know I should be updating this more frequently.  Life, however, sometimes gets in the way, and the past two weeks have just been jam-packed with running, working, working some more, running a little bit more, and a decent amount of socializing.  Hooray!  Life.  If you find yourself jonesing for that Caroline-fix though, you can always follow me on twitter: @cc_bridges.  How's that for a shameless plug?

So I haven't actually been running as much as I would like.  Without grossing anyone out too much, I have been having some gnarly intestinal/digestion issues, and they are seriously detracting from my desire to pound out the miles.  I am struggling with what to eat that won't give me crazy stomach cramps, especially what to eat before I go for a run.  For my mid-week runs, which aren't that long and typically in the morning, I seem to be okay with water and an energy gel right before I head out.  The difficulties lie with the long runs, for which I need more energy (calories...).  When and what should I eat to be properly fueled without having to run to a bathroom after 40 minutes?  This weekend should be an interesting test: I am supposed to run 8 miles, my longest run yet in this training regime.  I didn't think I could run six miles straight a few weeks ago, but I somehow did.  I don't know if I'll get eight miles straight, but we'll see what happens.  I've read a bit about visualization and the idea that if you picture your run and picture yourself killing it, it will go well.  So I am trying to visualize eight miles, picturing pushing past that six-mile limit I have so far reached.  Again, we'll see how it all ends up.

What defines a "runner?"  Is it your speed, the distance you can run, your body fat percentage?  Or is it something more fundamental than that, a less quantifiable knowledge or belief in this certain activity?  Possibly it is different for everyone and so not fairly definable.  I have always sort of considered myself a runner, even when I was sick or in the ensuing years when I wasn't running regularly.  It seems to be a key factor in my happiness, in my general acceptance of the daily trials that naturally arise in our lives.  Yesterday, I went in to work having slept over nine hours and eaten a healthy, satisfying breakfast.  Yet, something was noticeably off, and one of my coworkers asked if I was okay.  I thought about it and realized that, actually, I felt like a slug, sort of merely pushing through the air, going through the motions.  I wasn't fully present.  And I realized that it was most likely because I hadn't run earlier in the morning.  My body hadn't been jump-started into life with a run in sub-freezing temperatures, greeted by the sunrise.  My endorphins remained dormant and my energy levels just weren't what they normally are.

Even this morning, I struggled to push myself out the door knowing how warm my apartment was.  I actually cut my run short by about half a mile because I had reached my coffee shop and was pretty cold.  But I still chugged out those four miles in 20-degrees and unlimited early-morning sunshine, and I feel so different this morning, so much more alert and functional.  So, I guess that's what makes me a runner: on the days I don't run, I just don't feel like myself.  In fact, I feel terrible.  I may not be the most hardcore (just look at my diet...), but my heart is fully in it.  If you define yourself as a runner, why and how?  I'd like to know!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and happy weekend to all!  Thinking less, running more...

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