Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Before I get too much further behind, here.......

Ugh, the holidays.

Don't get me wrong. There are a lot of parts I enjoy, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't the absolute hardest time of year for me logistically, which naturally bleeds into running just as it bleeds into every other aspect of my life.

I am a creature of habit, and the holidays mess with my routine. Additional obligations abound. Trying to get things wrapped up at work while also getting ready to travel for a week-plus is stressful. All of this makes it tough to balance "No excuses!! Make it happen!!" with "You're only human, dude. Cut yourself some slack."

We flew out to Texas early on the morning of Saturday the 20th. Slack was definitely cut that week, mostly for good reasons, and I tried to be at peace with it (kinda/sorta/not really).

~*~*~NVM WEEK 6 OF 16~*~*~

Grand Total: 18 miles

    * 12 easy
    * 6 goal marathon pace
    * 1 x 45:00 strength work, plus exercises from AT some days (but far from all)

    Monday: a.m. strength work / karate

    Tuesday: 2 wu, 6 @ GMP, 2 cd = 10 total

    Wednesday: karate

    Thursday: 8 easy

    Friday: 8 easy Nada. This day was a mess of stress & packing, & I also remember having some kind of physical ailment somewhere (though it's been long enough now that I can't remember what) that made me think running was a bad idea anyway. If I'd known ahead of time I wasn't going to run Friday I would have tacked on a few more miles earlier in the week, but what can you do.

    Saturday: Fly to Texas / drive directly from airport to family holiday party. Unless I was getting up at 4 am (hahahaha no) there was no way a run was happening.

    Sunday: Shopping / family holiday stuff. I'd guessed ahead of time that there would be no time for a run this day either & that's exactly what happened.

* * *

Before we get into Week 7, let me give a little background on our holiday travels to Texas. As with the holidays in general, I absolutely DO enjoy getting to see Don's & my families & celebrate with them, and I am very thankful that a) we have the means to make that trip without it being a significant burden and b) so much of our family is now in (roughly) the same major metropolitan area, especially since between us we have three grandparents in their last years.

Still, I would be lying if I said it wasn't the toughest nine days of the year in some ways. Between our two families & all their different facets we had some 12 or so holiday gatherings to attend, spread out across an area roughly the size of the Bay Area:

Each little party hat represents a holiday gathering with a subset of family, some of which we trekked to multiple times. We put nearly 500 miles on the rental car in less than nine days. (At least gas was less than $2.00 a gallon, so, hey, #nottotallylosing!)

Add to this all the last-minute shopping & food/beverage curation & prep, & you end up with a lot of late nights, early mornings, & a diet that probably no one should eat ever but especially not people who are trying to run marathons. (There were multiple days when I went to bed feeling sick & woke up feeling like I had a brick in my stomach, & by the end I'd resorted to purchasing, preparing, & bringing along my own food to holiday gatherings because otherwise I was pretty sure I was going to die.)

Many quad-shot lattes were consumed.

If you don't want to drink Starbucks in the Hurst-Eulice-Bedford
area, Roots is a solid independent option (if a bit inconsistent).

Near my mom's place where we stay is also not the most runner-friendly area. There are a few small residential spots with sidewalks & not too much traffic or lights, but it just isn't a place that's been built for pedestrians (Texas kind of epitomizes car culture), so you kind of either stick to a small area & make 2-3 mile loops or do sketchy things like jay-run across giant traffic arteries / run on the narrow shoulder of roads that are only nominally not highways.

Which is all to say, running during these visits ain't easy & for the most part in the past I've just given up on it completely because it's so difficult to fit it in anyway without feeling like a terrible daughter/granddaughter/step-daughter/step-granddaughter/daughter-un-law/aunt/niece/cousin/girlfriend/etc. etc. etc. For these reasons, I didn't even bother planning any kind of schedule; I figured I'd just run whenever I could & not beat myself up about it.

~*~*~NVM WEEK 7 OF 16~*~*~

Grand Total: 31 miles, all easy. (I think my previous record for this trip is 15 or 18, so though I'd been hoping to hit 40, I really can't be too upset.)

    Monday: 5 miles on the hotel 'mill. I had a free hour so I was like, "Eh, I'll just bust out a few miles, NBD." I was promptly reminded of how much I hate treadmills & how every mile feels like two & a half. Also I tripped the "emergency stop" at least twice so I have no idea how long it took me.

    Tuesday: Holiday stuff

    Wednesday: 8 easy in beautiful weather!

    Thursday: Holiday stuff

    Friday: 8 easy in yucky, windy overcast weather.

    Saturday: Holiday stuff

    Sunday: 10 easy

Sunday was maybe the hardest day of all. It was our last before flying out, and my grandmother's giant holiday party at her house (her four children, ten grandchildren, 15-some-odd (?) great-grandchildren, & all their associated spouses/significant others).

I really, really wanted to get an 18-19 mile long run in beforehand, even though I was not even remotely feeling up to it physically or mentally. Most of the time with long runs I can stay pretty positive but at just about every moment part of me was going, "Ugh, this sucks SO MUCH" (it was nearly freezing yet weirdly sunny & I had neglected to bring a hat, gloves, or sunglasses). Then I'd get annoyed with myself for being annoyed. "What are you bitching about?? This isn't even HARD. Some people are doing things that are *actually* hard right now, that involve choices & planning & tough decision making & all kinds of circumstances they can't control. This is not even HARD! Literally all you have to do is NOT STOP!"

So this went on for a while until I got a text from my mom being like, "Uh, where are you guys?" Apparently we'd been supposed to arrive an hour before. Sigh.

But like I said, I ran probably twice as far on that trip as I ever have before, and as much as I was hating it, I'm pretty sure I would have finished the long run otherwise & gotten my 40 miles for the week, so I really just need to be thankful that I have giant family that loves to see me & that I am physically healthy/un-injured enough to be like "UGH 31 MILES I MEANT TO RUN 40." That's gritty, real-life holiday gratitude right there, man.

I hope everyone had a great holiday / happy near year!!


  1. Holidays with my family are spent in the Pacific NW, which is generally great for running (minus the whole "constant rain" thing, of which I'm not the biggest fan), but the travel/food overload/family visiting just makes training hard.

    I'm pretty sure hotel treadmills are roughly 10x worse than gym treadmills. Every hotel treadmill run I've ever done has felt like it lasted for at least five times longer than it actually did.

  2. I walked a mile on crutches on Christmas. So, #nottotallylosing either.

  3. Strikes me you did pretty well with the miles this week, given the Christmas shenanigans. And OH SO MUCH FOOD!!!

    We were saying this year that whilst being expat at Christmas stinks (missing family) it gives us more freedom to celebrate Christmas more easily. We stayed home, chose our Christmas company and got to chill out a little. It has its perks.

  4. Your holiday running was much better than mine. I had grand illusions of running every day last week because 1) vacation and 2) my parents live outside of Philly in an area where I generally really enjoy running. But then travel and holiday stuff and laziness and food led to a grand total of around 10 miles the week of Christmas. Ah well.

    I travel to Dallas periodically for work and have never tried running outside while I'm there. Too many highways everywhere!

  5. Ha, didn't realize you also hailed from North Texas. I grew up in Plano and my family still lives there, so we make our annual pilgrimage during the holidays. Last week I started in Plano and ran through Carrollton and through Lewisville to Flower Mound... talk about a whole lot of NOTHIN'. Though I did pass the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve along the way (unclear what they're preserving). Wasn't a big fan of running into a cold headwind on the grassy shoulder of a two-lane road frequented by massive pick-em-up trucks, but hey 18 miles is 18 miles, and at least I had Serial to keep me company. Can't wait to do it again next Christmas...

    Here's to 2015, hope you stay healthy and nail your sub-3:30 marathon!