What a difference two weeks can make.
While I’d be the last to suggest my bad winter attitude has entirely lifted — I think I’ve merely achieved the acceptance phase of grief —I have been in a hippier, happier head space since we last “spoke.”
Partly, my improved attitude grew out of pretty great 8 mile run on Sunday before last. Keeping my heart rate down felt almost effortless and my body felt as sprightly as a 40+ year old body can in the middle of February. I remain amazed that 7 miles can feel like a slog through a soul-sucking swamp one week and 8 can feel like a gentle breeze through the palm trees the next. Bodies are weird.
My Susie-Sunshine-ness can also be chalked up to a step-back week. That 8 mile run was the most strenuous activity I’ve undertaken for the past few days. During last Monday’s snow day — about a foot of the white stuff felt overnight and I did my best to ignore it — I did yoga in my bedroom, which is something I used to do two or three times a week before I discovered running. I was so chill that I only snapped a little bit when the Tween came in while I was in pigeon pose to let me know how very, very bored she was. I suggested she clean her room, which was only met with scorn and derision. But she did storm off in a huff, which meant I could continue my practice in peace.
I made a note of how lovely that morning of yoga felt in my Training Peaks log. Coach Sara D. scheduled another one for this week. After 45 minutes of hip openers, my mood and my posture are much improved. I’ve been using videos from Eckhart Yoga, which someone at some point recommended and I bookmarked but I can no longer remember exactly who and when that was. Esther’s Nordic-yet-vaguely-Irish accent is soothing without being too relaxing and the poses are just challenging enough without being too hard. I also want to know what is behind the curtains in the hip-opening video but suspect I’ll have to live with the mystery.
Your mileage may vary, of course, on how helpful you find online yoga. I started practicing yoga shortly after my now 12-year old was born and have enough of a base that I’m not easily thrown by the Sanskrit. Besides, my first yogi was incredibly strict about form for his beginners — I might have used the phrase “Iyengar Dictator” a time or two — but I’m thrilled to learn that all of that information is still in my muscles.
I stopped doing yoga shortly after we moved to New York’s vast interior because I couldn’t find a new teacher I liked after my favorite local teacher wandered off on a vision quest and never came back. Seriously. People are interesting, aren’t they?
Regardless, it feels good to work through sun salutations, etc., again. Maybe if I do enough of them spring will come because I alone control the seasons.
This general upbeat-ness leaked into to my Saturday run. On the docket was a mere four miles. The first one was to be slow; then the next three fast as I could. Actually, what was really on the plan was a 5K race if I could find one, which cannot be done in this part of the world in February. You’d have better luck finding a pot of gold under a rainbow right now than three relatively ice-free miles to stage a race on.
Thanks to a mostly Bruno Mars-based playlist, those four miles felt like no effort at all. I won’t say they were the fastest I’ve run, because that would be lying, but they might have been the easiest. At the end, the two walkers I kept passing on the indoor track gave me big props for how good I looked, which has never happened ever.
Also bringing my mood up is booking some running related travel for March. If the Boston-area manages to dig itself out by March 9, I’ll be joining SBS and Dimity in Andover for a party. Ditto March 10 in Syracuse. Knowing that I’ll be hanging with whatever-the-collective-noun-for-mother-runners-is can’t help but add a spring to my step.
I’m sure this pocket of cheer will pass; “Chipper” is not a word frequently applied to me. I’ve looked ahead to this weekend’s plan and am trying to figure out how I’m going to pull off seven miles when even daytime temps will likely be on the negative side of the number line. Can I keep it together during 56 laps on the indoor track? Or for 7 miles on the treadmill? Ugh. Neither options sounds pleasant yet it has to be done. What would you do, mother runners? And what collective noun should we use for an assembly of mother runners?