Wow, my legs didn't fall off and everything seems to still be in tact after the week where I managed to run 4 days out of the week. Of course I mean it all tongue and cheek regarding the age thing. My best friend from High School had his 30th and it was sort of weird - cake, presents, people. I wasn't sure if it was a wake or a party. Not to mention, the only indication that it was his party was that I was holding a beer. Being at this party made me instantly decide I didn't want a "Boo Hoo, Goodbye Twenties" party. Not withstanding, what I thought was going to be a quiet dinner with my Wife, kids, and Mom, turned out to be a very cool time with friends and family. It was totally unexpected, and a very nice surprise. Happily, when the waitress asked what I'd like to drink, I ordered a Guinness, which seems to only taste great when there is a celebration of some kind happening. Coincidence? I think not! I think it is just a part of the Brilliance!
Over the course of the week one lesson I have learned is that stress will kill me if I am not careful. It doesn't matter how many miles I run, or how fit I get in the process, if I become a prisoner to my anxiety and stress I am not going to make it very far.
Case in point, this week when I arrived back at work after taking a vacation day Monday, I am sorting through the 150 emails I received to find the appointment request for my "performance review" on Wednesday. It is probably a good thing that I didn't know about it beforehand, it surely would have spoiled the weekend, but lately I have been feeling like things haven't been clicking with my job, and that has been in part, a reason for a lot of the depression I have been dealing with. Having the performance review did sort of help, and I guess I am better for it, but once again I have been told that my eye for detail needs to be replaced with more of a passion to crank up the production numbers. It is tough because my eyesight really does limit me, and it is partially what chased me out of teaching and sales.
It sort of reminds me of the disregard for craftsmanship these days. Sure, there are furniture makers and artists that get paid for crafting great works of art, but we live in a Walmart and Ikea society where people would rather spend less money on cheap plastic or particle board. Mass production is king. I am almost too young to remember a time where things like furniture were handed down through the generations, but we still have a couple of modest heirlooms in our little apartment that were given to us. They probably weren't handcrafted like some of the swanky stuff that rich folks have, but they'll probably last longer than the P.O.S. dresser we got for our kids at Wal-Mart. But the fact remains, our world is one of selling more, and doing so faster. The crap furniture makers want you to buy their junk, because they know it will break down and you'll need another one sooner or later, which equates to more profit.
I work hard at my job, and to hear I am not producing enough really pisses me off. I went to college, got an education, and now because I don't put enough widgets together in a given week it doesn't matter how smart I am. These moments really make me question life and existence. The same was true in my stint teaching High School English. They threw 125 students at me and said, "Okay, make them smart", and then they threw me Ed. plans for half of them, and told me it was essential to make sure I was teaching in a way where I could make a connection with all of the students' learning styles. HA! So now I wake up go into an office, and feel a lot like this:
I am thankful that I have a job with all of the people who are losing theirs lately, but it doesn't take away the desire to do something with the time I have been given, and it would be nice to find a job where I feel like I am doing something of worth, instead of just indirectly making someone money - which I realize is the case in most professions. I think each week my inner altruist dies a little.
Beyond the mechanics and musings of the metaphysics of life and living I did run this week.
Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday I ran for about 20 minutes each day, feeling how my IT Band would react to running on consecutive days, which went fine. I strapped on the Yaktraks Tuesday night after I got home from work and ran on roads that were covered with about three or four inches of snow. More on my wear testing of the Yaks coming soon! I took the next three days off as the temperature when I woke up in the morning, as well as when I came home from work, was barely getting out of the single digits. I am not afraid of the cold, but when looking at 20 minutes of running, in 7 degree weather, I'll pass. Wimpy, I know.
Today was much better, in that I decided to run for a little longer, check out the carnage on the trails close to home, and enjoy that tropical heatwave of 38 degrees! Stretching in the living room I noticed my three year-old was imitating me, and then the five year-old joined in. In joking I asked them if they'd like to go running with Dad. Three said 'yes', Five said 'no'. Then fate or karma or the ghost of good Fathering present, slapped me upside the head. I decided to invite the little one to come out and run a loop around our apartment building. Pumped and jacked, he threw on his shoes and after numerous attempts to make sure Five wasn't upset that Three was getting the attention, we headed out.
I truly didn't expect much, and, if anything, I figured we'd get halfway around and he'd decide that he was done. Letting the little one dictate the pace, we ran around the building, covering about .16 of a mile, and when we got back to the door he says "Daddy, let's do it again!". By this time, Five is at the window clammering to join us, so we take a break, let him join in, and run another loop. Of course, both want another loop, so we go. In total, I think Three ran close to 3/4 of a mile, as did Five (we had to run another loop so he could be the same). It was actually really impressive, and kind of a proud moment for me.
My "big boy" run was interesting. I took the Yaks along hoping the snow would be in a state where I could get some tough, but enjoyable running. About ten steps on the trail I realized that unless I uncovered a Genie Bottle, wherein Barbara Eden appears with Snowshoes in hand, I was out of luck.
No genie bottle, no snowshoes, and certainly no trail running. In fact, the only thing I did get were super sweet cuts on my legs from postholing in 2 feet of snow that had about four different layers of varying constitution, it was that quarter inch of frozen slush that was easily broken through going in, but not as generous when foot and leg were brought back out. Thus the cuts and blood running down both legs, yay! Instead of heading home I ran a little further up the road, feeling actually sort of comfortable with the slower pace, and decided to run a loop that I knew about from looking at the local maps, but hadn't tried yet. It was sort of an ultra training run, as I kept the pace slow and walked some of the uphills that required more effort. I couldn't do much about hydration, as I didn't bring any water, but since it was an hour-long run, that really didn't become an issue until the last ten minutes, and even then I was heading back, so not really something I worried about at all.
In total, it was 7.3 miles in 65 minutes. I honestly thought I'd be averaging 10 minute miles with the sporadic walking breaks, but it wasn't bad for a day where I just went out to run - no more, no less.
Until next time, Cheers!