I love a break—no crazy early alarms, no agenda—but, at the risk of sounding anal, I hate losing my rhythm. It's not so much that I mind losing it, it's more that the process of picking it up again is always harder than I expect it to be. Kind of like running after weeks off: how did this used to feel so easy?
I've got one more day—Ben apparently needed six, not just five, days off—to amble about, and then I'll set about finding my groove again. In the meantime, here are a few unmatched, unflowing items that perfectly mirror my state of mind.
1. If you haven't had enough of Deck the Halls yet--really, does every store have to fire up the musak at 12:01 a.m. on November 26th?--here's a holiday playlist that I put together a few years ago for Women's Health mag:
Christmas Wrapping The Waitresses
Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight) The Ramones
Father Christmas The Kinks
Step into Christmas Elton John
The Christmas Song (Holiday Remix) Christina Aguilera
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) U2
I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (Stuhr Remix) Kay Starr
Last Christmas (Studio Version) Jimmy Eat World
This Will Be My Year Semisonic
I'd also add in Relient K's 12 Days of Christmas, which I checked out of the library on a whim and my kids have been playing in rotation with You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch pretty much non-stop since Wednesday. The fact that I'm still recommending it speaks volumes.
2. Speaking of the holidays, here are some running-related things that could be either asked for or given:
Babysitting hours so I can run for free
A certificate for race entry fee(s)
iTunes gift card
A certificate for a massage or personal training session
A coupon for a good coffee or bagel, which can only be redeemed after you run (give a few to your best running pal)
I'm avoiding mentioning specific products and gear because I don't want to spill the beans too early. But here's one (protein-filled, black) bean to munch on: on December 8th, we'll kick off RLAM's 12k's of the Holidays. We're far from Oprah, but we're still so.dang.excited about the whole shebang, which will have 78 giveaways over 12 days: all running-related, all cool prizes.
And all perfect, I might add, for keeping for yourself.
3. Before we get all gifty on you though, realize that on Wednesday, December 1st, we'll officially enter the hardest month of the year to exercise. For many reasons, including but not limited to peanut-butter kiss cookies, visiting in-laws, winter school breaks that stretch on for years, it's also the most important month to exercise. For that reason, I'm asking you to think now about how you'll continue to RLAM through December. My suggestion, if you're not training with a specific race in mind, is to commit to exercising three days a week for 30-40 minutes: enough time to maintain both your fitness and sanity.
But that's just a suggestion: I'm putting this topic in front of you now because the Hump Day Giveaway this Wednesday will involve setting a goal for December. So put your thinking caps on now and we'll revisit in 48 hours or so.
4. Quick training update: last weekend and this weekend, I did a 60-minute run on Saturday, and then on Sunday, I did a 90-minute bike ride that mostly involved climbing. Through all four workouts, I couldn't believe how little my normally very whiny, belligerent body hurt. Not pain-free, but about 10% of how much it normally hurts. Last Monday, I told Marcia, my Pilates Godmother, about how unbelievable it felt to not wince from pain during and after the workouts. She, who has witnessed my transformation from can't-stand, -sit or -walk without pain to a nearly happy body, got teary. As well she should: she's truly the first person who has taken the time to decode my body, unravel my kinks, notice the tiny flaws in my movement patterns that ripple through my being. I am so lucky to have her shine her light on me.
5. In this season of always feeling like I can never do enough for my kids—are we starting traditions? am I creating good memories? did I get the right gifts?--I was reminded with one simple sentence that sometimes the most invaluable thing to offer is love: "Children are tropistic; they grow in the direction of light and attention."
--Geneen Roth, Women Food and God, page 134