Thursday, November 30, 2017

Crazy Business

I have no idea how the current crazy business got started. Perhaps it was years of people telling me I should learn self defense if I'm going to run alone. Or just my need to try something new. Or hearing about the creepy guy who was out along the Marji Gesick course while I ran over Marquette Mountain by myself in the dark. Or the fact that I literally gave the last few minutes of a massage with one hand on the door knob a few weeks ago after some dude tried to hold my hand while I worked on his back.

Most likely it was all four that led me to Google "martial arts" and find a place near me that actually had day classes. I walked into Spartan Martial Arts two weeks ago in running shorts. I took a martial arts fitness class followed by a Jiu Jitsu class.  A few days later I tried out Muay Thai and left like this:
That wasn't enough to make me throw in the towel so now I'm the proud owner of a Gi, although I'd still rather do Jiu Jitsu in my running shorts. They're much cooler the Gi, but I guess I'll get used to sweating my ass off while also getting it kicked.

Most days I can't decide if I'd rather torture my lower leg some more by doing Muay Thai and having to kick the bag with an already bruised leg or spend 45 minutes getting tossed around and choked by sweaty men larger than me in Jiu Jitsu. Either way, it's usually coupled with the Martial Arts Fitness class, where we do stuff like 7 sets of 100 jump ropes followed by 8 burpees and I do my best not to pass out.

And I thought running 100 miles was hard.

Of course, I love every second of it for some odd reason. I guess I found some craziness to keep me busy for the winter.....

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Circle of Life

I'm never having children, which is probably a good thing.  I loath the sound of crying babies, cherish sleep more than anything other than running and biking and detest clutter.  My memory also sucks so even if a kid didn't drive me bat shit crazy with noise and messiness, I'd probably forget about it and leave it somewhere. Even my own parents never pressured me to have kids, probably because they were terrified I'd raise them in a minivan while traveling the country.  I like to think they did a good job raising me, but even I know their efforts to break my gypsy ways completely failed.

My point here is (there really is a point to my rambling sometimes) I will thankfully never know what post partum depression feels like but if it's anything like the post race funk I get into I'll just go ahead and add that to my reasons not to have kids.

I was fairly warned by other runners that this would happen after running 100 miles, so I kept a busy schedule for the first few weeks. I figured this would be a good time to squeeze in every doctor's appointment and check up I needed since I wouldn't be able to run. Of course I didn't consider the fact that scheduling a mammogram 5 days after an ultra might not be the best idea. Marji training pretty much reduced my already size A boobs to nipples. For some reason the room I was in for the mammogram was also about 30 degrees and I was in a hospital gown so we all know exactly what happened to my nipples. (I would've snapped a photo but I didn't want to scare the tech.) This whole "they flatten like a pancake" description might be true for others, but trust me, mine weren't even silver dollar size pancakes. After the tech pulled and tugged on my nipple to get enough flesh into the machine for a side photo, she apologized, saying, "I'm sorry. I know that's uncomfortable because I have part of your shoulder in there." That's right. She had to use skin from my shoulder to make my nipple stay in there. Needless to say, I wasn't surprised when I got the results and they explained I have extremely dense breast tissue.

Well no shit. That's because you mammogrammed my shoulder.

Thankfully the follow up MRI I had on my brain a few days later was actually a good choice during Marji recovery. I was too tired to be anxious so I was more than willing to lie completely still for an hour, especially since they actually had the heat on in that room.

The dermologist visit was equally uneventful. Thankfully the chafe had healed by then, although she was quite fascinated with my feet since by then the skin and toenails were all falling off. Big E suggested I make a charm necklace out of my toenails. I briefly considered sending them to Todd. In the end I had to dispose of them since I was still having Marji nightmares and didn't need anything to remind me of the race. Or at least the painful parts of it.

Anyway, once my all my appointments were over, I was left with peeling feet, sore knees and my post Marji funk. You'd think getting to be outside in this would help:

but although I love being out there and soaking it all in, I still miss the simple, goal-oriented life of the last few months before a big race.

There's something about that forward focus on a big goal that makes life so easy. Between work, training, eating and sleeping there's not much time for bullshit. You make time only for what's important, which is, quite frankly, a really awesome way to live. You appreciate every little thing, even just having 20 minutes for a nap, because time is precious.  Things that might normally bug you don't because you're too busy running, eating or sleeping.

Then suddenly it's all done in one fell swoop and despite the fact that you vowed to enjoy some time off, despite the fact that you vowed to focus on all of your other goals when the race was over, despite the fact that you actually finished your business and should be ecstatic, you're left wanting something you can even describe.

Which of course leads me to believe that there really is no such thing as "finished business" to an endurance junkie. There will really always just be business, followed by post-business funk, followed by more and probably crazier business.

I guess we all have our own circle of life. I would try to break mine, but then I'd be bored so I'll just go ahead and embrace this funk while I search for the next great adventure. And drink. Because Big E was disappointed that I didn't finish this in under 32 hours so apparently I have my next "in between races" challenge.