Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Forest Hill Park, Treadmills and the "Jitters."

Welp, its official. I am slightly addicted to running. Outdoors. On dirt.

Its been a weird running week. On Saturday, my brother and I had an amazing trail run at Forest Hill Park in Richmond. Weather was crisp, pace was comfortable and terrain was single-track gold. Company was questionable, but we can't have it all, right? hehe. Forest Hill Trail Map.

Anyway, our run was 5 miles long; a respectable distance for a mid-week run, but still short-ish, especially for a Saturday. Its becoming clear that if I don't get a long run once a week, I become a weird, twitchy, restless person. My brother-bonding trail run was wonderful and a great workout. BUT, it wasn't the long, fatiguing, "takes all day to recover from," run that I've gotten used to tackling on Saturdays. But, since it was technically a "recovery run" from the 35k, I was cool with it and very happy with the distance and terrain.

On Sunday, I went to my little weekend cleaning gig with a ridiculous amount of energy. I've never cleaned that office so well and so quickly, ever. I daydreamed about sweating and dirt-jumping the whole time. Weirdo!

On Monday, I carted my kiddo to the YMCA. Cue the congratulatory back-patting; we are brand-new members, thanks to their January "no enrollment fee," deal. Woot-Woot! After plopping Lu in the child-watch, I hit the ever-loathed treadmill to log some miles.

Like woah, if there is one place I don't belong, its on a dang treadmill. I don't know how these people run on these flippin' treadmills for so long; it's maybe the MOST boring thing I've ever done. My plan was to jog 6 easy miles at a nice 9-min/mile pace and watch Kelly & Michael on the precariously-suspended TV. The lady beside me looked perfectly content, jogging easily, at a steady pace. I can do that. I hop on, start jogging. Adjust my headphones. Adjust the incline. Adjust the speed. Adjust. Adjust. Adjust.

 I. Can't. Stop. Pushing. Buttons. 

After what seemed like an hour, I looked at the screen. 6 minutes. WHAT?! This is madness. I've scanned the room a dozen times, checked out the body builders, had an inner-chuckle with Mike & Kel and I'm already bored to tears. I guess sticking it out and making myself keep the same pace would be a good exercise in patience and sitting still (two areas that I've always struggled with), but we'll work on character building another day. Guess its time for some sprints. Yep. That will keep me entertained.

Long story long, 30 minutes later, I crawl off the treadmill after 10 sprint-sets, drenched and cursing that damn treadmill. The lady who was jogging happily beside me when I got there is still bouncing away, more merrily and content than she was 30 minutes earlier. HOW?! Peace out, super calm-zen treadmill lady; you win!

Jump to this morning, 7am. I have jitters in my legs. When I was a kid, I'm pretty sure I had Restless Leg Syndrome. I'd lay down at night and try to go to sleep, only to be plagued with "the jitters," as we called them. I could not keep my legs still or relaxed. This usually happened on days that I didn't run around outside enough our "get my wiggles out," as my mom used to say. I'd creep into my parents room in the middle of the night, asking my Mom what I should do and complaining about the annoying jitters. Her solution: jog a few laps around the house. Totally not kidding. This is why my Mom is awesome; moments just like these. So, there I was, an 8-year old running circles around our house at all hours of the night. This happened in spurts throughout my childhood. Barefoot, I'd sprint a few times around the house in the moonlight. It almost always worked; I'd come back inside feeling much better, collapsing for the night. "The good ole days," ha!

This morning, I awoke with that same familiar feeling in my legs. I needed to get out and run. The treadmill wasn't gonna cut it; no yoga session would do the trick. Tuesday is one of my usual trail-running days because Lu usually has preschool. Problem was, Snomageddon! was in the forecast, meaning that the schools had already closed for the day and I had an adorable little sidekick that I could not shove in the jogging stroller in the freezing temps (child abuse!) and who was not feeling the gym thing for a second day in a row. I couldn't stomach the idea of the treadmill again, either. So, what to do?!

Drumroll....Snowmageddon! to the rescue!!! Jump to 1pm, text from my hubs, its snowing on the other side of town and he's heading home. YES!! Here's where my obvious running addiction becomes ever-clearer. Like a kid getting ready to go to Chuck-E-Cheese, I run to the closet, grab my running gear and get dressed; ready to skip out the front door the minute I hear our busted Sentra roaring up our street. I'm gonna get to sneak in a real run afterall, SCORE! It won't be a trail run, but at least it will be outside. In the snow, if I'm lucky. I must be a little crazy, but this is how my brain works.

My jaunt around our little neighborhood was cold, windy, speedy and RAD. I woke up this morning feeling jittery, chubby and weird. One nice run (outdoors) later and I feel rejuvenated, refreshed, non-jittery, non-twitchy and like "me," again. In other words, no longer a cranky, bitchy, cabin-fevered version of myself.

Best 5 miles all day. You're welcome, Mister Baltz!

Verdict: I might be an addict, but my drug is a good one. For sure.