Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Slimy Cottage Cheese

Maybe you've had a morning like this...or perhaps you haven't. As "normal" would have it, the alarm went off at 3:30am this morning, the volume was a bit high so I "jack-n-the-boxed" my way out of bed, only to quickly lay back down to prevent my 'ol vagal nerve from causing me to pass out yet again. Rising so fast from sleep can cause this to happen. Anyway (talk about getting off topic so fast!), I remained in bed for maybe 2 or 3 minutes then slowly got up and moved towards the kitchen to partake in morning tradition, that being brewing the espresso, unloading the dishwasher, and making my lunch...in time to hit the road at 4:30am for my morning run. Things are different today, though. I actually feel like my "passion meter" is off today. I am 100% certain that returning from an 18F chilly run this morning at 5:30am, I'd be glad I did it. I am also 100% certain that a few moments ago, I stood motionless in the kitchen, my Garmin next to the window gaining its satellite signal in preps for the run, and couldn't budge myself to put on the winter running gear to get out the door. The clock ticked past 4:35am and now it was either rush out the door or drop the run altogether. No wiggle room when I have to be back no later than 5:35am in order to shower, eat, and be Canton-bound by 6:20am for work. I caved and instead, decided to sit here and spill my thoughts into the cavernous unknown on my blog.

I was making my lunch a few minutes ago and as I do on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I have my cottage cheese/kidney beans combo for lunch. I put Bush's Dark Red Kidney Beans at the bottom of a plastic bowl and cover them with low-fat cottage cheese. I then put them crushed black pepper on top. Yea, it sounds un-appetizing but to date, no one has said they don't like it once they taste it. It's protein-packed, low-calorie, and the beans have all kinds of good things for me. Anyway, the last two containers of cottage cheese have been...well, a bit slimy inside. They weren't bad and past their expiration dates, but seemed softer than they should have been and have an off-taste. Today, a new container was due to be opened. "Please, be good. I could really use some good cottage cheese today. I'm trying to rebuild torn muscle fiber, you know!" Good news...a good batch today.

Word pictures are a cool and insightful thing. Go with me for a minute, here. Slimy cottage cheese while still nutritionally sound just isn't as good as the real thing. Quality, texture, color...they all matter and contribute to the finished product. So true is much of, if not all in life. The components that make up a day, a task, a conversation, a training plan...they all matter in their smallest part to their largest part. So where on earth is my passion today to get me out that door to run? Why am I not firing on all cylinders? These morning runs are a bedrock in my daily life and really help at work in an environment of constant negativity and high stress. I NEED them. Hmmmm....I just can't put my finger on it. Well...here's a thought...and I hope you don't mind working through this with me as I'm dissecting it as I type with no idea where these words are heading. I am a big believer in the body/mind getting what it wants one way or the other. Let me explain: in running and the effects of it on the human body, I believe that when it comes to repair, I must listen and listen close in order to remain injury-free. This past weekend, I had a really good 28 miler on the trails...it was simply perfect and great training for this year's goals. On Sunday, my left foot really hurt...enough to make me hobble around the house. It subsided by the evening. I wake up Monday morning with every intention of a recovery run and behold, my foot feels fine but now, it's a long muscle on the inside of my right leg. Common sense said "Don't even try to run. It's not worth it." OK...fine. ANOTHER day off. By afternoon, it felt fine. I found it ironic that after the 28 miles on Saturday, I felt great and really wanted to keep on running. Even that evening before bed, I felt good....tired, but good. Now, I'm getting these come-n-go aches/pains withOUT even running at all. I told Marjie that after all, I am mortal! I'm not anything special, super-human, or immune from being physically beat down! I've never been an athlete or gifted in anything physically. However, I have found a passion to get out there and go far...further than I ever previously imagined. So today, I guess while although some good cottage cheese is in my lunch, a bit of "slimy" found it's way into other parts of my day. While I know and preach recovery...smart recovery, I believe that sub-consciously, my mind simply kept me in today, to recover some more even though I "feel" 100% this morning and don't have a single ache/pain anywhere from head to toe. I have a 50K this Saturday and it's supposed to be in the 50s. I do NOT want to miss this or be sore. Not a lick of training or fitness can be lost by not running one day, like today, so in the big picture, today matters not and it can only make this Saturday all the better. How's that for finding the positive in things?! So recover I will and tomorrow, I'll get out for another run and stay healthy for this weekend.

One last piece of "cheese" this morning: the obsession over mileage. A really good conversation has been going on since Monday on the UltraList over 100-miler training. Unlike a classic marathon training program which is pretty much cut and dry for most runners, the 100-miler is a unique challenge all to itself and finding what works individually is so important. All I can do is to glean as much experience from those around me and find my niche...and do what works for me. I really want to lose the obsession over weekly mileage, what others are doing, and focus on what gets ME to the finish line. I love the opinions and guidance of others but it's up to me to have trial/error and find my own way. It's all about balance...staying healthy, training smart, keeping to family priorities, and ensuring that everything stays IN balance and doesn't topple. One dose of slimy cottage cheese on the scale and the end result, while perhaps still successful on paper, may just not be as satisfying or enriching. I need to throw out the slimy and focus on the quality...without compromise.

Thanks for "listening" today...now go get some kidney beans for yourself!

Happy Trails, everyone!

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