async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Feeling Salty

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Feeling Salty

Holy shit, it was A WEEK. 

Sorry for the salty language, but yeah, it's been a week. We've been watching The History of Swear Words on Netflix and it is a hilarious look at swearing. It's definitely not for everyone, but for this first week of 2021, it seems to fit quite well. Laughter is the best medicine and this show gave me a much-needed release from the omnipresent anxiety that not only am I experiencing, but am seeing in friends, family, and patients as well.

Who could have predicted the horrendous events that took place this week in our nation's capitol? There were warnings, but judging by the carnage, no one seemed to take them seriously. The tumultuous past couple of years have turned the country into a pressure cooker, although some say the pressure has been building for years. So many people make the comment that 'they aren't political' or even that 'it doesn't matter who is in office'.  We have to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. Even if it means 'being political', whatever the hell that means. If you think your vote doesn't count, well, this week really proved that it does. 

I feel like for the past year I've needed to have a disclaimer in my posts: This is not a political blog. This is a running blog. All opinions posted here are mine. I'd like to get back to the business of just writing about running. Heck (hell?), I just want to run. Have I told you lately how much I love to run? This week, there was plenty of that.


Weekly Rundown
Monday: CrossFit home WOD with 2400m running
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: trail run 6 miles
Thursday: strength session
Friday: run 6 miles
Saturday: Frozen Gnome 10k (virtual)--recapped below
Sunday: rest, maybe yoga later, idk

Running

I woke up Wednesday morning, feeling vaguely unsettled. I was looking forward to running the snowy trails. I considered wearing my YakTrax, but I thought my trail shoes would be fine. I didn't anticipate the icy patches, although, with the freeze/thaw pattern we're having, I should have. Oh well. I took it slow and stayed upright. I couldn't get out of my head though, no matter how hard I pushed myself or how much I tried to focus on the path as I moved forward. At the time, I had no idea of the events unfolding in DC, but oddly once it played out, my anxiety settled down. 


On my way to the trails on Wednesday, I drove by the bike path and was pleased to see that it was clear! Friday morning was dark, even at 7 am, so I wore my Noxgear on my run. The path is a mile from my house and I needed to be visible on the road. As it is every winter, the path was only cleared for the first 2.75 miles; the rest was ice packed. I pushed myself to the tunnel, carefully navigating the icy portion before turning around at the 3 mile point and heading home. 


About a month ago, I registered for the Frozen Gnome 10k, a local trail race (there's a 50k as well) which I assumed would not be canceled. Our COVID numbers were good, the race takes place in a remote preserve...and whomp, whomp, people were people, and the 'rona spread all around. The RD strongly encouraged runners to participate virtually, on the actual course. They promised there would be signage and after-race treats at their store, located a few miles from the trailhead. I planned on running it, but on Saturday when I woke up, it was cloudy and gray and I just wasn't feeling it. A few hours later and a few cups of coffee later, the sun came out, so I made the trek out to Crystal Lake where the race was to be held. I had heard it was super hilly and icy, so I brought my Yak Trax. Best.Decision.Ever.


When I got there, without an official start line, I couldn't figure out where to go. I started off into the woods but soon came upon some other runners who told me I was going the wrong way. Crap! I went back out to the parking lot, restarted the Garmin, and headed in the other direction. Apparently, that was the right way because I found another confused runner. She told me she had run this race before and that I was on the right path. I followed the path along the lake and up to the top of a hill to an intersection of several trails in different directions. Ugh. Where to go? Along came my trail angel, Christian, one of the 50k runners, who pointed me in the right direction and told me I could follow him. Which I happily did. 


He was much younger than me, but I was able to keep up with him for most of the run. I lost him once--but we crossed paths and after that, I made sure to stick with him. He said he runs there all the time and for sure, he knew the course. There were a few arrows marking the turns but there is no way I could have done this without him. At one point, he told me I had to slide down a hill on my bottom--the hill is called 'buttslide hill' and he said, is a local legend. LOL. I was wearing the wrong pants for this because I felt every bump. To keep up with him, I had to really push myself. Those trail runs I do every week really prepared me for this run. 


We chatted throughout my 10k loop and at the end, he asked my age. When I told him how old I was, he told me I was a 'fucking stud'. He was surprised I could keep up with him. I felt like I won the whole thing! High praise from a seasoned trail runner and yeah, I'm proud of myself too. After the week we had, this was just what I needed and I am so glad I did it. Sweet bling and lunch at my parents' house--they live near this trail--was the icing on the cake! By the way, my new friend had 2 more loops to go and I gave him my YakTrax. I mean, why not? I couldn't have done this race without him--or those Yak Trax. 

BTW, I heard from him this morning and he told me the YakTrax were 'magical'! 


Oh, and here's the course elevation chart:


CrossFit/Strength

I did the Sunday WOD on Monday, and it may have been beyond ridiculous. There was running, which I think made me glaze over the rest of the WOD: 25 deadlifts (95#), 30 back squats (65#), 800m run, 35 overhead presses (35#), and 40 thrusters (25#). The WOD started and ended with an 800m run. The running was the easiest part of the WOD, which tells you all you need to know. Ugh.


I arrived at the gym on Thursday ready for my strength session. Sammy Jo told me to warm up, which I was doing when she started giving me a hard time about my warm-up. It was odd, but she wouldn't let it go and when I told her to back off, things escalated pretty quickly. It isn't the first time she's talked to me like this but it was definitely the worst. I was in tears and felt totally blindsided. I'm hoping it was just the stress of the week that had her on edge. While there's no denying what a great strength coach she is, I'm considering that it might be time for a change. We'll see how things go. 

Anyways, she had me do heavy back squats, 3 sets of 5 reps at 135#. My one-rep max is 165#, so I feel optimistic about setting a new PR after this. In between these, I did strict presses, 5 reps at 55#. She added 5# on the last set and I couldn't lift the bar above my shoulders. It always amazes me how that happens with the upper body! Instead of taking the weight off the bar, she had me do 8 push presses (bending my knees and pushing the bar up overhead). Then I worked on pull-up progression, doing 4 step pull-up work. 




Some Good News!

This week, I had my screening mammogram and ultrasound; the good news is that everything was normal. I wasn't expecting anything otherwise, but then again, neither was my sister. She completed her 5th cycle of chemo this week. One more to go!

On Friday, I received my second and final dose of the Pfizer/BioNTec COVID vaccine. As with the first dose, I had only a mild headache the next day and I shook that off on the trail. Here's to moving forward!


Tell me about your week. Did you run any races? What's the hardest race you've run? Are you enjoying winter? Who else got the COVID vaccine?

I'm linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Rundown. 







40 comments :

  1. See, anyone can buy a pair of YakTrax, but to get them for helping another runner out? That's priceless. I'm pretty sure that there are no buttslide hills in any road races. Congrats on your race!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That trail race was the most fun I've had in a long time! Who knew a virtual race could be so fun?

      Delete
  2. Congrats on that trail race! Experiencing the kindness and encouragement of another runner in a week like this highlights how great the running community can be. LOL on Buttslide Hill! What was SJ saying about your warm-up? Seems like an odd thing to criticize!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She kept telling me to warm up--I was doing my warm up, but I was chitchatting with other people in the gym.

      Delete
  3. My hubby got the vaccine. I have to wait!

    A lot of good news here. Congrats o your vaccine and happy to hear about your sister.

    And that race on the trails. Awesome.

    I haven't run with my Yaks but have used them on icy trails - they are magical. I still avoid any paths that have ice when I run. Been burned once. Never again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't like the YakTrax on pavement, but on the trails, they were indeed magical! I wouldn't have been able to keep up with my guide otherwise!

      Delete
  4. I had 2 good "runs" this week. Lots of walking in the mix - that tumble I took right after Thanksgiving not only left a black eye, but a badly twisted ankle. It's almost back to normal so I'm looking forward again.

    Hardest races hands down are those I've done in Hawaii. The heat and humidity never let up. But I'm really missing that place right now!

    So glad you've gotten your second dose. I'm always so relieved when my mammogram results come back, glad you got good news.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad to hear you're feeling better!

      I guess that 'hard' is relative; the heat and humidity can make the flattest race course feel horrible. This race was as physically grueling as anything I've ever done, but it was so much fun!

      Delete
  5. Sounds like that ultra guy on the trails was quite a gift. How nice of you to give him your Yaks! Way to make the most of a virtual race. The terrain in Crystal Lake is no joke. So far I'm coming up empty on finding a new coach for you but I'll keep asking around. ((hugs))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No rush and I appreciate it if you know anyone. I am going to keep my options open but will continue to work with SJ for now. The strength training definitely paid off on the trails this weekend!

      Delete
  6. I'm so glad you found someone to guide you through the race! Aren't we lucky to have running during weeks like this? (How many times can we say that in a year?) As I shared in my post, I was initially scheduled to get the first dose of the vaccine yesterday, but apparently there was a mistake and I need to wait. I'm fine waiting as long as I can continue working from home. I know other people need it more than me right now. Im just shocked to hear how many people are declining it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm actually getting more push back on the other spectrum--one elderly man called me a 'cheater' when I told him I was vaccinated. Then I told him I was a nurse and well, that was kind of sweet redemption. A fellow trail runner told me that "I" needed to move things along so more people could be vaccinated. Ok, because I have SO MUCH power, lol

      Delete
  7. You should be proud of yourself! Heading out on a snowy trail rocks and you made a new friend too. Congrats on your run you look so happy! Yay for the vaccine can't wait to get mine.Glad to hear your sister's treatment is going well

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great story about your new running buddy. Loved his comment and totally agree.
    We are watching that show also. I'm not a big Nicholas Cage fan, but the show is hilarious, and informative.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Nic is just the perfect person to host that show, lol. He's such a weirdo.

      Delete
  9. That's great that you got your second vaccine & could hang with the much younger runner (and pay it forward to him with the Yaktrax) Lunch with your parents is the cherry on top!

    I do not like running on iffy surfaces at all, but glad your Yaktrax did the job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You would nnot have liked this trail, then! Lol! Lots of icy ups and downs. It was fun, tho!

      Delete
  10. That's a tough looking elevation chart from your race, way to go Wendy!

    Glad all was well on your mammogram. I had my first one ever a month ago. Not my favorite, but I'm happy to know that all is well. We were looking at that History of Swearing last night, will have to start it!

    This year has been unlike any other with regards to trying not to let politics onto a running blog. It's tough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried to keep it short but I feel like not saying anything makes me complicit. Tough times.

      Delete
  11. I'll have to watch that show on Netflix - it definitely sounds like something I would really enjoy, LOL.

    That trail 10k sounds like quite the adventure! It's great that you ran into someone to help guide you through the course. I just love when runners are super friendly like that!

    So happy to hear that you received the second dose of the vaccine. It must feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. In CT there anticipate that the vaccine will be available to the "general public" this summer so I'm patiently waiting :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is such a relief to be fully vaccinated but the frustration is that no one else outside of my work is. The isolation continues...

      Delete
  12. I love your new friend Christian and how awesome you were keeping up with him! Hooray!

    You are the only person I know who has had two doses of the vaccine. They have effed it up here and now claiming it's best to have them 12 weeks apart. Grr. Parents-in-law were both due to have their first ones yesterday so fingers crossed.

    And yes on being "political", I tell people they are not allowed to complain about stuff if they don't vote.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have been seeing stories here about the UK vaccination effort. Our 'experts' here are not straying from the plan to get everyone 2 vaccines as recommended by the manufacturer. It remains to be seen which will be the best plan. Hoping when Biden takes charge, the pace of getting it out to the general public will speed up.

      Delete
  13. Nice work on the trail run, and for gifting the Yaks to your fellow trail runner. That's but one of the great things about the running community - we all got each other backs (and yaks LOL).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was truly my angel and now I have a friend! I do love that about running.

      Delete
  14. Congrats on your trail race! How awesome to have a trail angel...and I love that you gave him your Yak Trax :)

    Good news on your mamo and the 2nd vaccine dose! I continue to hold good thoughts for your sister.

    I must find that show on Netflix - sounds like my kinda show ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it but I laughed in spite of myself, lol

      Delete
  15. Congrats on a great race, Wendy! How wonderful that you and your new trail buddy were able to help each other out. My hardest race was the JFK 50-Miler because my IT band flared up about half way into the race. The first 17 miles are on the Appalachian Trail and the switchbacks coming off of it didn't help. I finished, though, and with a halfway decent time.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Pardon my French, but you most certainly are a fucking stud. I am so inspired by you.

    The whole week was crap and weird. I'm sorry SJ got on your nerves. I think everyone is just out of their minds right now. I am still in such shock over what happened, and really feel so very isolated and alone in my beliefs. I feel like I have lost or been distanced from so many friend, first from my injury and then from the politics. It's so hard :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right there with you Jenn. There are a lot of people here who think like I do; sadly many of my long term friends do not. It's a strange time. We are going to need a lot of time to heal, I think.

      Delete
  17. Congrats on your race! You are truly amazing! How nice that you give him your Yak Trax.

    I also went for a mammogram last month. No vaccine yet but crossing my fingers it is soon.

    And yes, WHAT A WEEK!!! Hopefully this week is better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Zenaida! I'm not optimistic that this week going to be uneventful, but hopefully everyone is prepared for whatever happens.

      Delete
  18. F*cking stud is right!!! what a compliment!!! well done Wendy!!

    there are two really hard races I've run. One was a 20KM trail called Run Forest Run. I was the last runner, it was also snowy and icy, I had the wrong socks (but had trail shoes on TG) on and after 7km had a huge blister on my foot. Trail marking was not great and I got a bit lost about halfway. If it hadn't been for Ron and our friend Vincent who had finished but were worried about it and came back, I'm not sure I'd have finished when I did. And because I was last there wasn't even a g.d. cup of tea left over for me. The second one was Athens Authentic marathon, because of back pain, the stupid neuroma in my foot and elevation. Both I'll likely never run again haha!

    Glad you got your vaccine and the all clear for your mammogram/ultrasound!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was quite serendipitous that I ran into that guy, isn't it? I don't think I would have enjoyed that run anywhere as much as I did! Truly the best virtual race I've ever done. Fucking stud! Me! LOL

      Delete
  19. So much in your update, and all in a good way!
    Happy for your race, your mammo results, and that you are speaking out.
    My son is teaching me back squats, bench press, and dead lifts - exciting and a tad scary, as all good things are.
    You are indeed a stud!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just did more back squats this morning. I'm starting to hate them. Even though that is what made me so stud-like on the trail!

      Delete
  20. Slide down on your butt? LOL!! Wow! Sounds like a wonderful experience indeed. Good job! So happy all of your tests came back good too.

    ReplyDelete