Friday, August 31, 2018

26 Laps

One of the many things I love so much about training for a long distance race is the training plan.  I love a good training plan.  Figuring it out, tweaking as you go, but mostly just the look of that beautiful, clean chart or calendar that steadily tracks your future growth as you go farther, push harder, and get stronger.

I feel a little at sea when I don't have a training plan, let alone when I can't run at all.  This injury is forcing me to treat time and working out very differently, but I at least had the opportunity - once I did my test run which confirmed that my body won't let me run NYC this fall - to create a sort of training schedule.  A shorter term schedule for swimming.

My goal has been to swim 3 times a week, but weather and doctor's appointments have kept it to two days a week for the most part.  My original goal was to swim 20 laps by the end of the summer - and then I realized, why on earth wouldn't I shoot for 26?  If I can't run a marathon in November, I can at least swim a symbolic number of laps on the last day the pool is open.

For the last few weeks, each time I swam I added two more laps.  I'm pretty sure the first time I swam laps this summer, it was a gargantuan effort to get 1, and I wound up barely doing 8.

I kept building up, and it kept getting easier and easier, to the point where today's 26 laps felt somewhat unremarkable.  Each lap, I thought about where that mile would take me through the NYC course - Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Manhattan again - the bridges, the neighborhoods, the crowds.

Swimming is one of the only other things I can find for myself besides running where it is (or can be) a completely solo activity.  Just you, your brain, and your body getting caught in a somewhat mindless flow.  One foot in front of the other, or one stroke at a time, repeat repeat repeat and just let your mind go where it's going to go - or give it some conscious direction.  They're moving meditations in a way that even yoga isn't quite.  They scratch a different itch, I think.  Plus, swimming laps makes me feel connected to my Granddaddy, who swam laps in his pool nearly every day that he physically could, well in to his 80's.

I'm sad I won't have the Astoria pool again until next year.  I'm nervous to see what my MRI results will be and what that will mean in terms of recovery (although I am making strides in my pain level and my PT, which is great) and most importantly, running.  (I would also very much like to be able to do pigeon pose again, please.)

So, I need something else to do.  Another physical goal to reach, some other hip-safe activity that can help me turn my mind on or off, whatever the day requires, and get caught in a mindless but beautiful flow.

26 laps, 1300 meters.  It's not nothing, and I'm glad I did it.  But I do also very much hope that they are part of a much, much longer training plan that concludes with 26.2 miles on November 3rd, 2019.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Music Share - Aretha

Been playing this in my Prenatal and Mom & Baby classes since Thursday.  May we all have such strength and grace.

RIP Queen.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Music Share - A comforting trifecta

This past week has been hard.  Money, injury, health care, work, future, change, uncertainty, fear - all that scary adult stuff has been coming up in a big, big way for us.  It's been amazing to have Marc back home so we can help each other through it, but I think it also sort of caused an emotional dam to burst in me.  Pretty much as soon as I clicked "post" on the last entry, my perspective and growth was washed away by tears, anxiety, and a variety of exciting breakdowns.

Aside from the unmatched love and support of the amazing people I'm lucky enough to have in my life, my biggest source of comfort this week was music - specifically, these three songs I'm going to share today:

1.  Tender, Blur

Marc discovered this via the Benedict Cumberbatch show Patrick Melrose, which I haven't seen but have heard is great.  It's long and it's an interesting combination of soothingly repetitive but also lyrically jam-packed.  It's a song that heartens me and cheers me up without being aggressive about it.

2. Anthem, Perla Batalla & Julie Christenson

Like my all-time love Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen's brilliant songs often shine brighter when covered by other artists.  In this case, his unparalleled and beautiful Anthem is given an unparalleled and beautiful cover by two incredible female vocalists.  The harmonies are stirring, the lyrics are as resonant and gorgeous as ever, and it's a perfect sad-happy-inspiring song.

3. Come On Up To The House, Tom Waits

Saving the best for last.  I don't have the words to describe what this song does for me.  You know how sometimes when you're down, you don't really want to be brought back up?  I can listen to this during those times and still somehow be brought up.  It's quintessential Tom Waits - gorgeous and smart and poetic, yet unsentimental with bittersweet humor.  The music and melody, his roaring, rough, howling voice, the perfect lyrics - it does that thing that music does.  It transcends, and opens up a path for you to transcend too.

Resurrection of a blog (and a hip)

One year ago today - on a much cloudier, much colder, and quite frankly very hungover morning - I went out to run.  My goal was either 4 mil...