The plan in action

Thanks for all the encouraging words about getting out of my little rut!  (I’ll just pretend that there was no contest to enter, and all those comments were motivated by genuine concern. 🙂 )  Seriously, it is neat to see how many people have felt exactly the same way after a big race.  My favorites are the ones who tell me to just listen to my body and go back to bed.

The plan to jumpstart myself with running every day in November is going well so far.  Three days, 22 miles.

Sunday’s run was 11 miles.  It was actually a five-and-a-half mile race put on by the running club that I’m in, but I showed up early with two of the guys in the ultra group to do the course an extra time.  It was kind of cold and rainy, but the course was fun because there was a nice trail section with a really steep hill and a stream crossing.  Yes, this is fun now.  So different from how I used to feel about trails.  I ran the “race” part in 40 minutes and got all sweaty and muddy, so it was nice to meet Erin and Target on the way home and have people wonder why there was a jungle boy in the store.

Then on Monday, I did just four miles, but in my Vibram FiveFingers.  I’m still trying to build up mileage in them, and four miles at a time is about where I am now.  I definitely notice that I get tired much faster in the VFF’s; it’s just a different kind of running and all those small muscles in my feet and lower legs fatigue really quickly.  But it’s getting better, and it’s a lot of fun.

The worst part of the VFF’s is still the blisters they give me; on this run it got so bad that I actually took them off and went completely barefoot for about half a mile until I couldn’t stand it anymore!  I got a lot of looks from the women who were doing their morning walks on the trail, but they weren’t exactly longing, come-hither looks.  No, they were more of the horrified, why-is-that-savage-running-in-barefeet-and-man-does-he-need-a-haircut looks.  And I got a nice splinter in my foot to show for that little escapade too.

I did get a haircut yesterday, all part of the plan.  Is nice!  (Borat voice.)

[haircut photo]

And for the third run, I ran the whole trail near my house, seven miles.  And in a pretty good time too — 52:26, about a 7:30 pace.  This is actually really fast for me on this trail; usually I’m good for about eight-minute miles at best.

The Dearth of Food

If you haven’t noticed, there has been one on this blog recently.  I still cook a new recipe almost every single night, just haven’t had any real winners recently.  But fear not, I’ll keep tryin’, and when I find a good one, I’ll post it.

Things You Musn’t Do

  • Forget to check out Running Shorts for my Born to Run review.  Plus a little birdie (named Megan) may have told me there would be a new post today.
  • Forget to enter my Amazing Grass giveaway.  Get your comments in by Friday!


Stuck in a rut… and a giveaway!

First: I wrote my first solo piece for Running Shorts today!  It’s a review of Born to Run, a little more in depth than what I’ve written about the book on this blog.  Please, take a look and let me know what you think.  And if you haven’t yet, check out my co-contributor Megan’s first article, on surviving the treadmill.

Second: There’s a giveaway at the end of this post!  Skip down to it if you’re just here for the freebies.

Running my way out of a rut

As for the personal stuff that only belongs here, not on Running Shorts, I’ve been in a little bit of a funk recently.  Not depressed or anything like that, but just not quite myself.  Kind of unmotivated, with school, with cooking, with day-to-day activities.

The biggest sign that something’s not quite right, other than the elapsed time since my last haircut, is that I’ve been sleeping in more.  I don’t have to be into school until mid-morning at the earliest, but I always get up with Erin at six to make a smoothie for us.  I do this primarily so that she doesn’t think I’m a lazy sack of s, sawing logs in bed while she’s off helping kids (she’s a pediatric occupational therapist) to support our lavish townhouse lifestyle.

The trouble is, I find myself going back to sleep more and more after she leaves.  Sometimes for two hours, sometimes for four.  Before you say “must be nice,” realize that it’s not nice.  And it’s not me.  When things are right, I have so many things I want to do that I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning.  But recently, I can’t wait to get back in.

Believe it or not, I think this is related to qualifying for Boston about a month ago.  So much of my focus was on that goal, and now that I’ve achieved it, I can’t help feeling a little bit directionless.  I have so much to look forward to and work toward with the baby, my Ph.D., and hopefully a 50-mile run.  But none of those things is urgent enough to occupy my mind the way the upcoming marathon and the chance to achieve the goal I’d been chasing for so long did.

The one thing that’s giving me more energy than it ever has is running.  Since I’ve started trail running with this group of ultra-runners (ironically called RUT — RASAC Ultra Team), running has been more enjoyable than ever for me.  When I’m not running, getting back out on the trail is all I can think about.  For the first time in my life, it’s not about the training process, it’s about the running.   And for the first time, I feel worthy of the label “runner.”

So I have a plan to get myself out of this rut.  I’m going to run every day in November, usually early in the morning.  I’m going to try to average seven miles per day, or about 50 per week.  This might not seem like a big deal to you, but for me it is.  I’ve never run more than five days a week for any period of time, and never consistently run this many miles.  More significantly, I’ve never wanted to run this much before.

Don’t worry; I’ll be smart about it.  If I see that I can’t handle it, I’ll stop.  Being injured and not able to run at all would be the worst thing right now.  But I think that done carefully, this just might be the jolt that I need.

Amazing Grass Giveaway

[green superfood]Great news, readers — another giveaway!  After seeing the response to the Vega Sport giveaway on my blog two weeks ago, I got another one in the works right away.  And here it is: Amazing Grass is giving away one of their products to a lucky No Meat Athlete reader!  You can win your choice of a 17-oz container of Green Superfood (any flavor; lots of people like chocolate) or wheatgrass, or a 15-serving container of Amazing Meal.

If you’re not familiar with Amazing Grass’ stuff by now (how could you not be, if you read blogs?), here’s the deal.  Green Superfood is a greens powder you can add to smoothies to get the antioxidant equivalent of seven servings of fruits and vegetables, plus some probiotics and digestive enzymes.  It’s all-natural and organic, and 100% vegan.  Amazing Meal has some greens in it too, but it’s a smoothie in itself, since it has some plant-based protein and carbohydrates in it.  And it’s both organic and raw.

[amazing meal]I tried both of these products a while back and really liked how they tasted.  If you’ve tried other greens powders before, chances are you’ve noticed some of them aren’t exactly palate-pleasers.  But Green Superfood is definitely the best I’ve tasted.  I don’t know that I’d mix it straight with water, but in a smoothie it’s barely noticeable and not at all unpleasant.  And Amazing Meal is delicious as well.  See my initial review of Amazing Grass products from the early days of my blog for more.

Ok, so just like with the Vega Sport contest, nothing more than a comment is required to enter.  No tweeting or linking back needed, just a simple comment.  I know I like entering contests like that, so that’s why I do it this way.  For a little extra random-number karma, check out my Running Shorts post.  Beyond that, it’s in the hands of the goddess Fortuna and a roll of the bones.

Get those comments in; I’ll choose a (random) winner on Friday and announce it over the weekend.  Good luck!

Last thing: if you already use Amazing Grass or are looking to try it, there’s another benny of being an NMA reader.  Order from their website and use the coupon code “nomeat” at checkout to save 15% off your entire order!