jan 17/XT

70 degrees
road bike on stand, the front room

XT = Cross Training. Biked for 30 minutes today while watching the men’s marathon from the Rio Olympics on YouTube.

Biking for 30 minutes on a stand, in the front room, seems like it would be tedious. And it has been in past winters. I’m not sure why it’s easier this year. It’s ironic that I’m biking more this winter now that I’m not planning to do any big triathlons this summer–just a super sprint with my 11 year old daughter in August.

Biking with Best’s?

I’ve struggled with biking lately, even before I was diagnosed this past August with Best’s disease (vitelliform macular dystrophy). I’ve had trouble seeing the path when it was too sunny or some cars when I was trying to cross the road or bikers approaching me on the path. When I learned that my central vision was seriously fucked up and that I couldn’t see those things because my rods and cones were scrambled, I lost the little bit of confidence I had in biking with any speed. How can I race in a triathlon if there’s a chance I won’t see another biker or a pothole or anything else that first appears in the parts of my central vision that are already totally scrambled?

 

jan 15/7.12 MILES

23 degrees
mississippi river road bike path

Technically I was supposed to run 8 miles today, but I’m okay with 7.12. 8 was a bit ambitious and would have made my running total for the week just slightly too much. Plus, I’m proud of myself for running as much as I did. My route included two monster hills and I managed to run up both of them at a steady pace without dying…or worse, stopping to walk.

I’m mostly kidding about the walking. I can see all sorts of reasons why walking during a training run or a race would be a good idea. For me, right now, walking is a bad idea. Stopping to walk in past runs/races encouraged me to run too fast. My goal right now is to run slow and steady and to not stop.

As I was running, I listened to the final chapters of Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. He hates walking and considers doing it during a race to be a failure. So much so that at the end of the book he describes what he wants his tombstone to read: “At least he never walked.” I’m not sure what to make of that line and of Murakami’s hard and fast refusal to ever walk. Is it too rigid? A bit arrogant? Just a personal goal that he doesn’t apply to (and use to judge) others?

jan 14/4 MILES

18 degrees
bde maka ska lake

I switched my 8 mile long run out so that Scott and I could run together. We ran really slow, which was nice. It allowed me to watch other runners as they passed us. I like watching runner’s legs move as they run, especially the good runners. The rhythm of their feet steadily rising and falling is mesmerizing. One runner looked like he was almost floating across the snow-packed trail. I love witnessing confident bodies moving through space. It’s such a beautiful thing to see.

Back out there! Nice and slow 4 mile run

A photo posted by Scott Anderson 📎 (@room34) on

Me and Scott, just after our run.

jan 13/4 MILES

2 degrees/feels like -6
minnehaha creek path/mississippi river road bike path

Of course, just after proclaiming on the about page that “I love running outside in the cold,”  I ran outside in the cold and didn’t really love it. It felt colder than -6. My hands were freezing for the first two miles and it was hard to breathe through my nose. I suppose it didn’t help that I was listening to the audio book for Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and he was describing his miserable experience in the second half of an all day (62 mile!) race that he endured years ago just as I was feeling my most miserable. Maybe next time I’ll listen to a running playlist instead.

Running Playlist

Sometimes I listen to audio books, occasionally I don’t listen to anything, but most of the time I listen to music while I’m running. Cheesy music. Nostalgic music. Music that only makes sense when I’m running. Over the five 1/2 years that I’ve been running, I’ve created a lot of playlists and listened to a lot of music. Here’s the current one:

  1. Hey Ladies/Beasties Boys
  2. Furr/Blitzen Trapper
  3. The Raiders March/John Williams
  4. Don’t Stop Me Now/Queen
  5. Happy/Pharell Williams
  6. Without You/feat. Usher
  7. Skyfall/Adele
  8. Sorry/Justin Bieber
  9. Get Lucky/Daft Punk
  10. Ride Like the Wind/Christopher Cross
  11. Cheap Thrills/Sia
  12. I Made it Through the Rain/Barry Manilow
  13. Back in Black/ACDC
  14. I’m Going to Go Back There Someday/Gonzo
  15. ABC/The Jacksons
  16. The Best of Times/Styx
  17. The Distance/Cake
  18. Video/India Arie
  19. Roar/Katy Perry
  20. Ordinary People/John Legend
  21. Learn to Fly/Foo Fighters
  22. Gonna Fly Now (Theme for Rocky)/Bill Conti
  23. Don’t Dream it’s Over/Crowded House
  24. Big Shot/Billy Joel
  25. Pinball Number Count: 4/Pointer Sisters
  26. Uptown Funk/feat. Bruno Mars
  27. Hollaback Girl/Gwen Stefani
  28. I’m Still Standing/Elton John
  29. Summer Breeze/Seals & Crofts
  30. Firework/Katy Perry
  31. Another One Bites the Dust/Queen
  32. Baby/Justin Bieber
  33. Hot for Teacher/Van Halen

Very eclectic. No logical order and attention to pace here. Just songs that, at some point in my life, I have loved and want to listen to again. I usually put this list on shuffle.

Since I’ve been using this one for a while, tt’s probably time to create a new one. Two requirements: it must have Barry Manilow and at least one Muppet song on it. I’m thinking “Copacabana” and “Can You Picture That.”

jan 12/REST

I’m on week one, day four of my training schedule. It’s my only day of rest. I don’t want to rest; I want to run, even though it’s 9 degrees outside. But I will rest because I know that my body, especially my right knee, the one that periodically gives me trouble and has a bone spur, needs it.

Not wanting to rest makes me think of an unpublished blog post that I recently found:

Restlessness

According to my mom, when I was a kid, I hated going to sleep. I wanted to be up all of the time, active, doing things. She claimed that, on more than one occasion, I fell asleep in a running position. Now I’m middle-aged and I don’t have trouble falling asleep, but I’m still restless and I end up waking up a lot. Restless. Legs that ache with a desire to move, to go. Somewhere. I don’t have wanderlust, just a need to move. I feel trapped in the bed, just sitting there, immobile. I used to think that my restlessness was because I was no longer as active as I used to be. Around the time I became an academic and my mom started to slowly die, I stopped exercising my body. All of my energy was used to think as an academic and to survive raising two young kids while witnessing my mom dying. But now, I’m exercising. I’ve been running for many years and swimming and biking. I work out a lot. But it hasn’t stopped my restlessness. Sometimes I feel like a caged animal, pacing around. I remember witnessing my mom do the same thing. We would be watching tv, maybe a movie, and all of a sudden, she would get up and just start walking around the room. I do that now.

Where does this restlessness come from and what do I do with it?