It was a rough landing

Runningshirt

AGMA’s back!

So I got home from Rome last Wednesday.  By the time I went to sleep that night, I had been up for more than 24 hours straight minus about a 15 minute nap on the Rome to London flight.

Ugh.

I tried really, really hard to sleep on the plane from London to Atlanta, but no dice.  I just can’t sleep on those trans-anyoceanic flights.  I hate that.

Back home, you’d think I’d have slept like a rock that first night back in my own little cozy beddy-bye, totally tuckered out from a busy, long day of travel, right?  Nah baby nah.  It took like two hours to fall asleep.

The cumulative effects of too many cappuccinos that past week perhaps?

I awakened rather urgently at 2:30 AM to (how can I put this delicately…) visit the bathroom not only for #1.  I mean, who does THAT in the middle of the night?  Normally, when I get home from one of these trips,  I need to down a couple of boxes of prunes…oh, excuse me…dried plums, to get myself back in action.

And you can’t just stumble into the bathroom in the dark for #2. The lights have to go on and clean-up is infinitely more involved.  OMG TMI.  I was wide awake when I went back to bed.  My husband was sleeping like a baby.

Sometimes I can’t stand that man.

I managed to get back into a fitful sleep at best.  Asleep, awake, asleep, awake…for the next four hours with some very strange dreams sprinkled in.  Something about a friend working in a balcony of St. Peters Basilica overlooking the huge alter canopy by Bernini running sausages and chunks of ham through a vacuum sealer machine to sell for a funder raiser for the Vatican.  I’m glad Freud is dead.

Thursday morning, I had a sore throat.  Great.  Can it get any better? Jet lagged, sleep deprived and now sick.

And less than 48 hours before a 23 mile training run.  Yeah – you heard me.  23 miles.  My very first 23 mile run.  Possibly the timing of my trip could have been a little bit better.

The only thing good about this whole situation was that I didn’t need to go out to buy some prunes…eh…dried plums at all.   Things just kept on moving.  Gotta look at the positives.  Lemonade outta lemons and all that.  Weird, totally inappropriate analogy…

Anyway, I threw everything I had in my homeopathic and herbal cold remedy medicine chest at this nasty little cold virus plus drank gallons of water.  I even neti potted three times a day.

Yuck.

Then I got up at 4:30 AM on Saturday morning, donned my running regalia and met my group (all 5 of us) for our run.  At mile three I was feeling puny and pretty sure I would only last for another six or seven miles.  Miraculously, with the help of my friends, I kept on going.  It’s totally amazing how much more you can accomplish with the encouragement of a group than if you tried to do it by yourself.

And I did it.  Very slowly, but I did it.  And lived to tell the tale.

Most distance runners are actually crazy people who, on the surface, seem like normal people.  See the picture above.  It’s so true.  As I told my friend Jodi over at Life In Between, there’s a diagnosis for me somewhere out there.

I promise my next post will be about my trip.  Rome was wonderful! The history, the art, the churches, the food, the wine, the people – all amazing and astounding.  A thousand plus topics to blog about.

I think I’ll write about Roman toilets and the unnatural lack of toilet seats.

Naturally.

I’m glad to be back!

Sweatin’ With An Oldie

sweaty

It’s July 30th.  I live in Altanta, Georgia.  I’m sitting outside on a shaded patio at my favorite coffee shop.  It’s getting close to noon. It’s 77 degrees with low humidity with bright sunshine.  A slight breeze is blowing and giving me goosebumps.  I’m glad I brought a light cardigan with me.

Does anybody else think this is strange?

For those of you in other countries or Texas, July in Atlanta is normally fairly miserable.  Fairly a nice way to put it.  It actually sucks.  Hot and very humid. The average temp in July is 89°F. That’s 32°C for those of you who, like me, have the “Fahrenheit to Celsius, Foot to Meter, Ounces to Grams Remedial Conversion Syndrome”…

An average monthly temperature is calculated using the high temps for each day of the month.   So each day is usually higher or lower than the average.  Until now, there have been lots more days higher than the average. It’s been hot.  But as the old saying goes…

“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”

This statement is true.  I lived in Arizona for three years. 105° F with zero humidity isn’t too bad. Sure, you might have to use oven mitts to grab your steering wheel.  Even though your car has a windshield sun blocking screen in it.  And it’s been parked in the shade.  But to the human body, it doesn’t feel as hot as it really is because there isn’t any water vapor in the air.  The lack of humidity helps your sweat evaporate quickly, keeping you cool.  Or cooler.  I feel like Professor Proton…

Add the water vapor and that’s when the stifling misery, the bane of my existence, begins.

Being the sensible, rational person I am – translate that as wimp – my past MO has been to just stay in air conditioning.  I realize I’m very fortunate to be able to pull that off.  Going from an air conditioned house to an air conditioned, garaged car to an air conditioned final destination worked swell.  Hey – I’m one of those “elderly” people they advise stay inside in the AC when it’s hot, remember?  Plus I’m my own heat source because of the big M – menopause.  Some days you just can’t take off enough clothes, you know?

This summer is different.  I started running last year.

I really like running.  I like my running group.  I like running half marathons.  My goal is to run a full marathon soon.  Slowly. Running here is great in the fall, winter and spring.  I asked if I could skip running in the summer.  I got the “stink eye” from my group leader.  Guess not…

So I’ve been running in the heat and humidity.  Outside.  The humidity has been so bad that I start sweating just thinking about going out for a run.  I wring out my visor after every run.  I drip on my cats.  They’re not happy with me.

Speaking of sweat, I’m pretty sure that I’ve set a new record this summer as far as volume goes.  It’s actually been rather alarming – I am not an attractive sweater.  I’m going to contact the Guinness people about getting in their record book.  Or at the very least, try to get a free beer for my troubles.

It’s quite surprising to me that I haven’t keeled over yet.  I do take “sensible” precautions…  Lots of water during the week and on my runs, running in the early morning when it’s infinitesimally cooler and seeking out every leaf and twig for shade even if it means crossing the street multiple times.  But every mile feels like three and about halfway through each run, I start looking at my Garmin every five or ten seconds.  Are we there yet?

I ran this morning in the freakish, but blessed cool of 59°F.  I know the universe playing a cruel trick on me.  This won’t last.  It’s not even August.  Average temp – 88°F.  I’ll be back to wringing out my visor and dripping on my cats sooner than later.  They give me the “stink eye” too…

But as Howlin’ Blind Muddy Slim, Your 60 Minute Jelly-Bellied Toe-Jam Man, always says, “What does not kill you, only makes you stronger.”

So I got that going for me…

I Run Therefore I Am…

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I run.  Not fast but far.  13.1 miles, which I think is far.  Real far.  “If you had told me a year ago that I would be….”  You know the rest.   

Not that long ago I was a slug on my couch watching reruns of Real Housewives of _______ (you fill in the blank) in the middle of the day while stuffing my face with bon bons and drinking sugared up sodas.  During the commercials, I could literally watch my muscles becoming mush while the rest of my body slowly ballooned up like Chris Christie on steroids.

Okay – exaggeration.  I hate ANY Real Housewives show, I’m health conscious enough not to drink large amounts of “want some diabetes with that drink?”  beverages, and I don’t really know what a bon bon is.   While still relatively healthy, I was overweight and terribly out of shape.  

My road biking son, who regularly rides 100 miles in the mountains – yeah, he’s one of those, seemed quite alarmed at my enlarging form.  I call it being full figured…  He challenged me to run a half marathon in a year.  A year??  Sure – I can do ANYTHING that’s twelve months away.  Sign me up!

Turns out twelve months is really not all that long…

I do not have a runners body.  I’m short and stocky.  A warthog rather than a gazelle.  And old, relatively.  Probably too old to start this silliness.  But hey, after birthing two sons naturally and unmedicated, raising them to adulthood with zero vehicular moving violations AND being married to the same man for 36 years, training to run a half-marathon would be like SSDD.  Right?  Right.

So, after 7 months of training, I got up at 4 AM Thanksgiving morning, crossed the starting line a little after 7:00 AM and ran my little heart out for 3 hours, 17 minutes and some odd seconds.  I was slow.  Very slow for a runner.  But my son thinks I’m pretty cool now…

Aside from his inspiration, I give much credit to the Galloway Method.   I know – it kinda sounds like a way to prevent pregnancy using cheap wine…  Former Olympian Jeff Galloway evolved a style of running that adds in strategic walk breaks.  The idea is to give your joints, muscles, tendons and all of that other gooey stuff in your body, some R & R.  Fewer injuries, greater endurance, faster times – perfect for an aging Boomer.  The best part is, you do your training runs in a pack.  And I always wanted to be part of a pack.  

One of these days we’re going to take down a wildebeest.