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Archive for November, 2012

Miserablishness

Last week there was a professional development day for teachers in my district. This means kids got a day off and teachers didn’t. I usually look at professional days with considerably less sense of “ugh” than many teachers because I view them as good knitting days. Having finished a sock last night I vowed to make some serious headway on sock #2 while meeting with all of the other visual and performing arts teachers in my district to discuss assessment, evaluation, and other such fun and exciting topics.

After greeting some colleagues the meeting was about to start so I reflexively reached for my knitting bag to pull out the yarn I’d made sure to place in there earlier this morning. My heart sank with the sudden realization that I had left my needles at home!! Nooooooo!! When I finished sock #1 I had left the needles sitting on my end table.

The day’s plans were shot. The one thing I have to keep my sanity and focus during long meetings was gone. I spent some time on my phone looking for yarn stores close by, thinking maybe I could go out and buy some needles during lunch, but the closest one was at least 15 minutes away, and we had a stupid working lunch. I had to do something!  My old pre-knitting pastime of  doodling took over.

To say that I was miserable that day is an understatement. I was experiencing terribly intense miserablishness. I’ve gotten so used to relying on my beloved yarn and needles during a meeting, but this time I couldn’t. I had just been talking to my daughter that morning about my hope of knitting half a sock during the day’s meetings, and it ended up being a day wasted.

Since that fateful day I have now gotten to the heel flap of the sock, which I can’t show pics of yet in case the friend I’m giving it to reads this blog. I have a day off today and hopefully some time this week that I can finish it and move on to another of the bajillion projects I have in the queue.

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I just got home from running. I don’t know how far I ran, or even the length of time I was running, but I know that it felt good. While running the trails of Breakheart Reservation today I had loads of time to think about running, and the wealth of advice I’ve gotten and observations I’ve made on my own about this incredibly invigorating pastime.

My two most influential sources of running inspiration of late are from very different ends of the spectrum. I recently read “Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness” by Scott Jurek. Jurek has been running crazyass races for around 20 years, most of this time eating a vegan diet. He’s one of the best, the top tier of ultrarunners.

Megan crossing the finish line at her league cross country meet

The other source of running advice has been my 14-year-old daughter Megan. She has been running for a grand total of less than 3 months, since the start of her school’s cross country season, but throughout the course of that season has improved drastically, going from a 39:08 finish on a 2.9 mile course in her first race to a 31:54 finish at her 3.2  mile league meet. Most importantly, though, she fell in love with running, much as I did almost 2 1/2 years ago.

Based on the influences of these two wonderful runners, with bits of my own observations, I present a list of tips to all who may run, want to run, or like to laugh at those of us who run while sitting at their computers reading about such things.

  1. Time doesn’t matter. Speed doesn’t matter. Distance doesn’t matter. If you find enjoyment in the running, the rest will come.
  2. Run often. As crazy as life can get, find time to run. It improves your energy level, gives you time to think, and brings positive vibes into your life.
  3. Running on flat, paved, small loops is boring, unless your fabulous 11-year-old daughter is riding her bike alongside you the whole way…then it becomes much-treasured bonding time that you wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.
  4. Hills break up the monotony and add interest to any run, as well as challenging the runner. Just be careful on the downhill stretches, particularly on trails covered with slippery fallen oak and maple leaves.
  5. Dirt trails are awesome. They’re easier on the knees than pavement, infinitely more interesting, and usually more secluded and peaceful.
  6. Leave the iPod at home and spend time being tuned in to your body, your surroundings, your thoughts, and if you’re running with others, the people you’re with.
  7. Getting lost is sometimes okay. Usually when one runs he is never too terribly far from familiar areas, and getting slightly lost can provide extra exercise value and otherwise overlooked scenery possibilities.
  8. Drink lots of water! Bring a bottle of water with you so that you can hydrate throughout the run.
  9. Baby steps! Keep your stride short in order to lessen the impact on your joints and reduce the risk of injury and muscle strain.
  10. Moms and coaches always tell us to “walk it off” when you roll an ankle and they’re so right. Does a rolled ankle hurt? Of course. But within 2-4 minutes of starting to run on one today, the pain was gone.

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