Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day Five/Six: I Still Exsist

I once again will keep this on the shorter side as my thumbs refuse to take on the brunt of a full-fledged entry. Cheating, perhaps but the past two days (I could even include Friday if I so chose) were devoted to cleaning and scrubbing away the grime from my former apartment and shifting things around in the new one. It's in a much more residential area with a lot more space and windows abound, which is super nice.

Looking forward to hanging things up on the walls and settling in. So happy to have my desk and an "office" once more!

I think I'll reminise about Halloween tomorrow. Until then...

What'd I do? Scour like the best of 'em/Cemented my feelings on FlatTop Grill for breakfast (meh).

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day Four: Lift Not With Your Back

Not much to say today except I learned, or recalled, how bloody painful it is to move your entire physical exsistence by yourself. Suffice it to say that my neck and back are killing me. No Internet = blog entries via phone. I'll elaborate from a coffee chain tomorrow. Now, where's that heat pad....

What I'd do? I took a couch to the throat. Ack.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day Three: Avast, Ye Dust Bunnies

The past two days have been focused on pace and the ability of movement out on the road. It’s probably fitting that today, in anticipation of a heavy day of lugging furniture tomorrow, I stayed inside and rowed. 

No doubt to the whole total body workout it provides (proper form is critical), but I mainly love how strong my back feels when I’m done. Always uber sweaty, but usually feel good afterwards. I did three sets of 300 KJ over a frequency of 30 strokes a minute at level four.


Truth be told, I’ve only read a little on training whilst erging (oh yeah) and I pretty much workout based on feel…or overwhelming presence of cat hair being blown about by the fan. I’ll dally between a more endurance-based effort or shorter interval stuff, and today was somewhere in the middle.

A few years back when I moved downtown, I looked into taking actual rowing lessons up in Lincoln Park in the fall. But like many things over the past four years, work schedule –primarily afternoons of volleyball and soccer – prevented such from becoming a reality. 

It’s slightly ironic, especially when I worked with folks who would get drunk and not do their work the most drunken holiday of the year or couldn’t oversee events due to tennis league, but not taking classes on learning how to row for a few weeks in September pretty much defines my tenure: I avoided potential conflict between that whole work/life balance so well that life outside of work ceased entirely.

It’s certainly a process in action, but I’m committed to moving on from that unbalanced mentality. Hell, I swore it off before June but have yet to achieve it.  Because it’d be nice to actually row out on water instead of confined to a few dusty feet.  

What’d I do? Set a goal to actually row, row, row in a boat in 2012. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day Two: A Twinge In Your Heart

So what I wrote earlier was a slight…alright, total lie. Between packing up and cleaning in preparation for this move, I didn’t get out for a run until after five, a considerable rarity. It has been either earlier or not at all as of late.

But a tiresome morning/early afternoon of schlepping equated to finishing off the brewed stuff sitting in the coffee pot from this morning in the late afternoon, about three-quarters of a larger size mug. 

I know during the spring I mentioned my dalliance with coffee, a poor trait I recently picked up from men who influence me most (you bastards).  All along I have planned on dialing back my nearly daily consumption upon completion of grad school as while it does the trick in terms of waking me up when need be, it certainly doesn’t make me feel very good.  I once thought I was suffering from a heart attack late at night after consuming caffeine earlier in the day. The pain in my chest was so harsh and heavy, I honestly wondered if I was dying. Turns out it was just inflamed cartilage between my ribcage and breastbone that has no know cause (thanks, medicine) but I’ve always been leery of caffeine since…until the last 8-10 months or so.

With coffee already imbibed, I took ownership of the streets about a half hour later upon realizing that the sun sets disturbingly early these days.

Here lies the lie: whereas yesterday my run was calm and calculated, a flowing constant rhythm to my footsteps and thoughtfully controlled pace, today very much was not. In musical terms, it was interpretive jazz, heavy on bass and xylophone to the lethargic waltz performed yesterday. I had such incredible turnover while feeling so light on my feet, it was like I was in racing flats.

While I’m not the biggest believer in muscle memory, my head knows speed and my ego relishes it. 

Between the cool tingle enveloping my legs glowing red from the wind, caffeine rolling throughout my entire being and my heart taking percussive command, I was not going to locate an internal governor amidst all that jazz today.

For me, being in the midst of a great run where everything is going right and feels really great is akin to the early stages of falling in love. There’s a child-like giddiness with every step and action. Things happen only for you, traffic lights stop in your favor or dogs are walked in a different direction. The recollection of a private moment fills you with such power and warmth…mmm. That was my today, a short burst that brought up commanding runs and races from my past and placed the thought of doing it again in my future.

It’s magical, and the mere memory of something that good is worth reviving and feeling every so often. It’s worth the inevitable crash and pain that comes later.

What'd I do? I fell in love and felt in control…if only for 3.4 miles.

Day One...Which Was Yesterday, But Still Worth Babbling About

I recently saw an individual touting "only XX amount of days remaining" until the an event they are planning on participating. Whom, what, when, where matter little, other than the fact that I despise everything they stand for/promote. Psh, details.

One of the prime lessons of Zoe 101 (no y, damnit) is I take everything incredibly personally. I internalize and process like nobodies business.  So how the aforementioned countdown from this person plays a role will be explained as such:

I'm a fan of the countdown. It gives tangibility to time, making it seem less daunting. I've been counting down the remnants of my graduate studies for a long while, starting with 200-someodd days. 

Screenshot courtesy my free "Big Day Lite" app.
Because nothing says "Way to complete your Masters, you!"
like a photo of a despondent cat sapping warmth from my old laptop.
The final stretch is upon me. Last night a classmate mentioned how she is chomping at the bit to finish,  graduating in the spring. "You must be about 20 times worse!" she said. I am, but not. It would possibly be a different story if I was with steady paycheck as I wrap this MA up, but such isn't the case. So while sitting in class and covering facets of web design of which I'm already aware grows tedious, not knowing where the future takes me is becoming increasingly nerve-wracking. 

But that is (earnestly) not the purpose of dusting off this digital outpost. I've been otherwise occupied academically (if you'd like to discuss the simulacra or relational aesthetics, I'm available), locationally (moving out of this crap apartment not soon enough), writing for myself (more on that...later...though there will probably be parentheses involved then as well). 

In my time of great solitary reflection, the notion of "OK, now what?" crosses the mind with greater frequency than not. I need a pliable benchmark, but one with a few caveats. One of the few things I can control is the simplistic act of one foot in front of the other. So here I return, to my running retreat. 

I'm not really in the position to plunk down some coin for a future race, which I am alright with---too frequently have I signed up for events with no preparation following suit in recent memory. Also, I'm not too interested in anything in particular at this point. While such could easily change (she says after recalling signing up for the '12 Chicago Half a touch over a month ago, hmm), I'd like to get back into the ebb and flow of just running, especially in the winter. I didn't run in the falling snow ONCE last year. And that sucks. 

So back to my initial paragraph. I saw this countdown from someone else, and thought, "Well, good for them and all, but what can I do in that timeframe? Do my days have meaning if I were to tell people about them?"

I'm not interested in curing the world of its ills or anything deeply profound as this is rather a selfish interest about my next 116 days (that takes me to Saturday, Feb. 18 for those wondering). 

The date means nothing save a few days before my little sister's birthday. The number 116 has no personal significance or emotional response.  Can I give such meaning? Will I find anything, or nothing whatsoever? I'm willing to find out. Here we go.

Day One
I slept fairly poorly, which is nothing new. No control over the heat in this tiny apartment leads to overheated slumber and just a consistent drain of energy, hence the bumbling/fragmented thought process behind my writing. I feel like I've been painfully sleepwalking through my days the past few weeks. I needed to get out of the apartment for a touch before class, so I figured a short run just to break up my sweaty computer-ridden time wasn't the worst idea. 

I set off on my preferred route and breathed fall inwards in all its glory. It was perfect weather (mid-60s) but never felt warm with a slight breeze keeping me company heading south.

Passing by a pair of colleges I think amped me up a bit; I'm missing undergraduate days something terribly as of late. One school was in pre-game for a men's soccer match against a maroon + gold opponent. The other featured a track I have yet to run by, but stopped to stare at for a moment. Happy to learn it's open to the public if an event isn't taking place. There was one person making use of it, striding out in a shirt I own. I started envisioning myself on it, too but reigned in my thoughts, fearing getting too far ahead of myself and continued on.
Wasn't really planning on a six mile run, but I just never turned back south to return to my place. Headed into a part of OP I don't normally think about, and just enjoyed the quiet surroundings. Well, until a minivan tried to run me over in a four-way stop intersection. Bastard.
There is something commanding about crunching through leaves in the 'burbs, rarely stopping. I think I missed it a lot more than I knew after a few years down in the loop. 
It's funny that now I'm finally able to control myself and not feel like I'm overdoing it in regards to speed after far too many cyclical too-fast burnt out/injuring myself attempts to get back into running. I'm really starting off much more controlled that I previously would. Hard to tell if its due to older age wearing me down or mentally shutting my mind off (my biggest foe, of course). I've also been running sans watch, a conscious effort to take measurable numbers out of the day's jaunt.
I still felt tired and hollow the rest of the day, but for that slice of my day, I just enjoyed a run. 
What'd I do? Six miles, decent tempo. Enjoyed the serenity of fall. Thought a bit about local volunteer efforts I could take part in.