Dry Martini: Embracing My Inner Troll

I survived the holidays and I hope you can claim the same. If you can’t, well, I’m wondering how you’re reading this.

My intention was not to drop off the face of this here blog for more than a month. But with one thing and another, it just kind of happened. I’m back now, though, and ready for winter running.

Vacation runs are better when large bodies of water are involved.

Which makes it seem like I haven’t been running during the last 30ish days. I really, really, really have, because my next half marathon (in Austin, Texas, y’all) is on February 14, a date that feels like it’s creeping closer faster than it ought to.

Most of my training runs have been relatively uneventful. I’ve been hitting my race pace of 11:22 fairly consistently and can crank out miles of tempo when I need do. I’ve put in a 13-mile long run and, as I write this, have a 15-miler two days from now, because Coach Christine seems to be trying to kill me. Or, more likely, is hellbent on bringing out my inner BAMR no matter how much I whine about it. That is her job.

There have, however, been a few runs of note, like the Eminem run I had to do on Boxing Day. It was all I could do to achieve enough escape velocity to get out the door; once out there, I realized I’d forgotten a visor or hat or headband, without which my hair tends to dangle in my eyes and make me nuts. I decided to suck it up, though, and pushed through mile four of my out-and-back route.

So far this year, I've found 11 cents! I might have a whole dollar by the end of the year!

Right when I made the turn to come home, my phone battery decided it was a fine time to die. No problem, I thought, I’ll just call my husband to have him bring the battery back-up that’s in my desk….

Runner’s brain is real, my friends.

Because it was an out-and-back and I couldn’t call anyone, I had to run the four miles home in silence, with nothing but my brain, who can be a real jerk, for company. Once I stopped pouting, it wasn’t too bad. Really. Lesson learned, universe.

I worked in a few vacation runs during the week between Christmas and New Years, which is when we go to our friends’ place in the Poconos and do nothing but play board games and eat. Most years, there is also skiing, since there’s a great set of slopes nearby. The general lack of snow this year put the kibosh on that, which is fine because it gave us more time for the eating and games.

Then we were home again, where the weather turned seasonally appropriate just in time to head back to work. The last couple of weeks have been assicle city, so much so that I wondered if my behind would ever be warm again.

AMR Assicles
An ad for these showed up in my inbox right after a sub-zero run. All I could think about is how pleasant it would be to be able to sink into a cup of tea.

For me, however, my frozen tush is the only downside of the sub-sub-zero weather, because (and this will make sense in a minute) I seem to be a troll.

Let me explain: I tend to listen to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books during long runs. I’ve long been a fan of his particular blend of fantasy and wit; plus, the plots are just complicated enough to be interesting but not so complicated that I miss too much when my attention span wavers. While Susan, Death’s granddaughter is my favorite character, I feel a particular intimacy with Pratchett’s trolls, which are sentient rocks whose minds operate best when the temperature drops. Chill them enough and they can solve nearly any problem.

It dawned on my that my running life is like that. If the day is above 60 degrees, the run is a slog, to say nothing of what happens when my nemesis Voldesun makes an appearance. Given me a day below freezing and I feel like Lauren freaking Fleshman. Bodies are weird.

I’m not sure how this will play out in Austin. Given that I lived there for a few years back in the day — the husband and I both went to UT after undergrad — I know that February can be just about perfect for my troll-like tendencies. Unless the sun comes out and gets all Texas on us.

It’s beyond my control, though. We’ll get what we get. And there are breakfast tacos at the end of the course, which will soothe any disappointments. My race motto: #earnyourtaco.

Anyone else traveling to Austin in February? Or has anyone else discovered that they, too, are a troll?

(On the QT: I’ll be running Pittsburgh again this year as well as womaning the AMR booth at the Expo. If you’d like to run, too, either the half or full, and have not yet registered, drop me an email at [email protected] so that I can sweeten the deal….)

9 responses to “Dry Martini: Embracing My Inner Troll

  1. I am running the Pittsburgh half – only my second half and my first Pittsburgh. It’s my hometown though we’ve lived in the DC area for over a decade now. So excited to run this race and to meet you at the expo!

  2. Though I procrastinate heading out into both extremes and whine about both of them, I’m a bit of a troll, too. I think part of it is that when it’s cold, I’m more motivated to move so I can warm up, and the other part of it is, I don’t put any speed expectations on myself. The goal is mostly not to wipe out, and that’s it 🙂

  3. I’m not running Austin, but I am running LA marathon on Valentine’s Day…so I’ll be thinking of you. Since I spent most of my formative years growing up in Pittsburgh, I’d love to go back and run Pittsburgh one day….I don’t have any family left there, but one year I might just go back and run it anyway.

  4. I too, must be a troll! My perfect running temp is somewhere between 20-45 degrees. Summer humidity is a killer. Glad I live in WI.

  5. I’m not a troll, and will not run outside when its cold (hello Y and track or the treadmill). But my mind does wander when I run and listen to stuff. I love reading your posts. You make me feel normal. And you’re damn funny too.

  6. LOL, I am definitely NOT a troll. I run in the cold, because, well it’s cold and I like to run outdoors, even in the winter. But it is not my ideal running weather.

    My son and I graduated from Redwall and Harry Potter to Discworld. I love Terry Pratchett. My favorite characters are Sam Vimes and the City Watch and Lord Vetinari. I love when he takes on institutions like the post office and banking. He is so clever. My son just introduced me to Chris Moore, altho I haven’t read enough of his work yet to have a valid opinion.

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