Wednesday, October 26, 2011

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.  




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