Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Endorphins Fight Back the Dark Side

I am on another countdown: 9 more days until our clocks spring forward. I will take an early sunset over a bleak morning any day.*

One of the reasons I want to stay here so long as we live in Chicago: 11 windows facing east or south on each floor. That, and Armitage Produce.

Experience has taught I just need to ride these weeks out. The brain meds help me stay above water. But since the marathon, I have been missing weekday morning runs with friends and hitting the sugar hard. Less times with friends + lack of exercise + more sweets + sluggish mornings = a lot of bumming and self-berating. I know this will pass, as surely as our ancestors eventually trusted that the sun would rise again after the winter solstice.

I promised Meatball that I would go running with him this morning, but I don’t want to face the unseasonably chill. There is also so much to be done today: loads of job work and hustle/bustle to cook for this evening’s large, but thankfully casual, gathering of friends to celebrate Miguel’s 7th birthday and Friday in general.** I tell myself I do not have time to go running, but I know it will yield more productivity via increased energy, focus, and cheerfulness.

Well, the timer for 20 minutes of writing has gone off, and I most certainly can’t afford to linger at the keyboard (even though writing is another act of self-care). Time to lace up. When I pull my running shoes out, Meatball will spin gleefully around in the kitchen, gallop up and down the hallway, and beat the front door with his wagging tail. I wonder how he feels the seasons. His year-round joy about getting outside and moving is a reminder that getting off my butt is always good medicine.

Meatball also likes winter sunbeams.
Meatball also likes winter sunbeams.

Now it is 2pm. We did manage a short but long enough run. I have showered, knocked off some work, cleaned the bathrooms, and am now ready to make a vat of black beans and a Darth Vader cake. May the force of endorphins stay with me.

* The 2007 decision (thanks, GW Bush) to extend Daylight Saving Time has made seasonal transitions even more difficult for my sun hungry mood.

**These every other Friday gatherings have been dubbed “Kid Chaos” i.e. benign neglect of the children while we approximate the parties of our yesteryears. And the kids are happy to be left alone to build forts, put on plays, chase each other around and then be corralled by the electronic babysitter. Tonight his name is The Empire Strikes Back.

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2013-10-25 19.12.35

I’ll be on the right with red lipstick.

wpid-CameraZOOM-20131012221934172.jpgYikes. Here is some incontrovertible evidence that I undertrained. Based on the time I predicted for myself months ago, I was assigned to Corral F, which is  for people planning to finish the race in under 4 hours. It is the first group to start after the “First Wave” of elite and seeded runners.

Last year I barely finished under 5 hours. Granted, I can maybe deduct 10-15 minutes from that time due to some logistical and newbie snafus. But improving from an 11min/mile marathon pace to under 9:12 would have required incredibly disciplined training (and eating) all year long.

Why did I even begin to think I could reach that goal pace?? It might have been on the heels of this January’s Polar Dash when, for the first time, I “left it all on the line” and finally  reached my goal of finishing a 10K in less than an hour. My pace was 9:25. I must have thought I could and would spend the next 10 months bettering and stretching that pace to marathon distance. I now remember harboring a little wish to qualify for Boston (3:45 hours for my age group). Now I will just be happy to take no longer than I did last year.

So tomorrow (today), to let all the more disciplined athletes flow by, I will shrink far to the right and soak in their inspiration.  I will be wearing bright red lipstick, something I have done since I was a kid to break through writer’s–or work in general–block.   If I plan to earn my way into Corral F next year, I better stock up.