Dry Martini: Running Around and Away

In just a few short days, I’ll be on a big old jet plane on my way to New Orleans to snag state #8 in my quest to run 13.1 in every state of the Union. Some cruel wench booked me on a 5:50 a.m. flight so I will likely spend my first hours in NOLA unconscious on whichever safe, flat surface I find.

Note: the wench in question is me.

I’m as ready for this race as I can be. Most of my 2019 miles have been logged on the college’s indoor track, where eight laps equals (give or take) one mile. It's good training for the Louisiana humidity, too. The temperatures hover around Tennessee-in-June in there, even when the temps outdoors are freeze-your-nosehairs cold.

Fortunately, my magical GPS watch — aka Herr Garmin the Second — can keep track of distance and pace without me. Before the technology was up to the challenge, counting dozens of laps while in the middle of running them was a challenge that was frequently greater than my ability. Now, I can just push a button and go. We are in the future, people.

dog in snow
This is why I've been running inside. Corgi provided for scale.

What Garmin and other watch engineers haven’t figured out yet is how to counter the boredom of running a billion laps inside. I’m sure they are working on it. Maybe small electric shocks at randomly placed intervals? Painful, yes, but would keep you on your toes.

In some ways, I’m fortunate that the track is around the basketball court, where they have indoor practice for sprints and field events as well as (duh) basketball. The only time the track is closed is when there is a game in process, which is fair. The track also serves as one of the access points to the bleachers. 

indoor track
Basketball warm-up. My giant, sweaty head provided for scale.

But it is a hoot to watch warm-ups, especially since the teams appear to have a player who does nothing but pump out a playlist. Nothing breaks the tedium like bangin’ (as the kids say (or, at least, used to say) tunes whose lyrics you are now too unhip to understand. Sometimes, yes, it is too loud because I’m too old but it all beats running in negative temps on icy sidewalks. We all pick our poisons.

For my last two long runs, it was the poison I picked. Nothing builds mental endurance like 13 miles inside. I chased that with followed by 14 more two weeks later. I don’t know how I kept my sanity mostly intact, either. One big trick was to not even look at my watch for the first hour. After that, it’s just a matter of stubbornness and a well-honed ability to lean into tedium. Or, more likely, I did lose my sanity and failed to notice.

Speaking of, my unflappable calm has been a bit flapped for the last couple of weeks. Nothing horrible has happened. Mostly, I am surrounded by good things, like the ability to run in a distant city with some good friends. Still, after a remarkably quiet January, February is just bangin’.

Last weekend, my oldest kid and I flew to Florida to spend some time with my mom. Soon I’ll take off for the Big Easy, then come back to some firm deadlines at my actual job. Add to that a Very Large Book Project that’s due in Mid-April (which I can tell you more about when cleared to do so but it is very exciting) and the usual stressors of parenting teens and keeping food in the house and spending time with your spouse and having aging parents, it’s a lot.

two women in face masks
The Teen and I getting our beauty on in Florida.

Some mornings I wake up convinced this is the day when I drop some balls. By evening, most of the balls end up where they need to be. While this is unsustainable in the long-term, I have my fingers crossed that I can hold it together-ish until spring. Running helps — but you already knew that.

That should be the next AMR shirt: Running helps me hold it together-ish. Put me down for an XL.

Even with the running, the recent stress has caused my irrational flying anxiety to come back like a bad houseguest. You know, the one who eats all of your food, stinks up the bathroom, and never pays for pizza. Or, it dawns on me, like teenagers.

It turns out that the mental skills to run a bazillion laps in a stuffy gym are not transferable to remaining calm in a metal tube in the sky during light turbulence. Brains are weird.

Because I know that I am not the only BAMR who feels this way: what are your best tips for panic-free flying?

26 responses to “Dry Martini: Running Around and Away

  1. Sign me up for one of those shirts! As for Flying, a couple of years ago I picked up one of those travel neck pillows, and for some reason wearing it helped calm me. Don’t know why, but it did. Recent flights though have been full of requests for more snacks and help with the iPads, so that keeps me distracted enough!

  2. I LOVED running NOLA!!!!! Such a fun course… I LOVE reading your posts and sign me up for a size L on the new shirt………

  3. This was right on target for me this morning. Facing down a 15-miler tomorrow, and the choice is between a warm treadmill (where 4 miles is an eternity of dulldom) or wind chills of minus 15. Leaning toward outdoors, which tells you how much I “dislike” the treadmill. Re: flying — I’m right there. I try to bury myself in a book and / or headphones. My irrational side just won’t accept that flight is possible, though I’m assured it is, and by people I respect! p.s. Can’t wait for your book; I love everything you write, and already love everything you’re thinking about writing.

  4. Have fun at your race! 14 miles on an indoor track – you have some serious mental toughness. Maybe pretend that the turbulence is coming from the bangin’ music the basketball kids like to play? I hate turbulence too.

  5. Good luck!!! Enjoy the nice weather! My travel stress is getting to the airport, either 3 hours through the snow belt, or 3.5 through the Adks. Once I am on the plane, I am happy to have someone else do the driving 😉

  6. Yay! You are coming to my town! I’m sorry it’s supposed to warm -(er than usual!) but you will have a great race. It’s such a great course. I hope to get out there and cheer as I live not far from Audubon Park.

  7. I’ve been getting little static electricity shocks when I run sprints on the treadmill at Planet Fitness!! It’s so funny and weird that it happens if my fingers brush against the little metal plates that are supposed to track your heart rate. It keeps you awake for sure. LOL

  8. I love this and I love reading your entries. I can relate to so much. No tips because I, too, get very nervous when light turbulence kicks in so all I gotta say is: YOU GOT THIS MAMA! GO ROCK NOLA!

  9. Sign me up for that shirt, too!
    As to the flight fears, I’m not sure there’s any “fix” that works for everyone. I’m a private pilot, and will say people seem to feel a bit more calm when their questions about what’s happening are answered. When traveling with non-pilots I generally get a slew of questions as the flight progresses. I don’t know if it’s the answers that ease the nerves, or, just the fact they are engaging in a conversation that provides a certain level of distraction Other than that, book flights during times of day that are less prone to turbulence. Best of luck with the race, and the flight!

  10. Have a great time in NOLA!! I’ll be thinking of you while racing in similar conditions in Florida! I am not only an adult-onset runner, but I also developed some anxiety surrounding flying as an adult, so I feel your pain and your fears there. I try to repeat “physics, physics, physics” to myself as I breathe. If I can, I lock myself into a really good book. Sometimes it helps.

  11. I’m anxious to hear about the book project and I think you have the mental toughness after all that indoor running. The toughest thing about a track indoors is that all those beautiful fit young folks can see me sweating like a piglet. Good luck getting through the flight and have all the fun in NOLA.

  12. I enjoy everything you write, and can’t wait to hear about the new book!

    I am not really holding it together, and have no advice on how to do so. I’m not sure my 11-year-old ate breakfast this morning. I don’t know what she packed for today’s lunch, and I just learned she has been sleeping without a flat sheet for weeks. I can say that she’s alive and has not been late for school. That’s me holding it together.

    Have a great race! I hope you find time to eat some amazing food while you’re there.

  13. EVERY morning I wake up thinking today will be the day I drop some balls. They end up where they’re supposed to be–or CLOSE ENOUGH. Running helps me keep it together-ish. LOVE. Can’t wait to hear about your book project!

  14. Past self booking plane tickets: I’ll be a grown up and take the early flight so that the day isn’t wasted on travel. Day of flight: My past self is an idiot.

  15. Sign me up for the running helps me keep
    it together-ish t shirt!!! Someone once told
    me that airplane turbulence is like bumps on the road, so I frantically picture myself driving down a gravel road—maybe that’s just a good distraction.

  16. Yo, Adrienne!!! When is this race? I’m 2 hours down the road & might be down to run it! Imma google it –

  17. i adore your writing SO SO much. It always makes me smile and feels like we’re going through the same things. I have a super-human ability to fall asleep at the drop of a hat, so when i’m anxious on flights, I just sleep 🙂 seriously. I know that’s not so easy for others, but it’s a great escape. Have an awesome race! Running 14 miles indoors will make that seem easy peasy.

  18. Good luck at your race! I hope you BAMRs get some beeds *wink-wink*. I’m an anxious flying, so the Universe, at one point in my career, blessed me with a job that included 65% travel. I tried to make my flights as early in the day as possible so I just got up and went (kinda like running). Is usually have a nice glass of wine the night before – to ease any tension and ensure a few hours of sleep. I’d also try to sleep on the plane or distract myself with a good book, podcast, or urgent work deadline. If things got bumpy mid-air, I still just close my eyes and pretend we’re just on a bumpy road, or some other scenario in which the bumps aren’t nearly as alarming. You totally got this!!

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