I didn't feel like running today. I was congested, had a sinus headache, it was hot and dry (whaaaaaaa, it's hot and beautiful in December, whaaaaaa), and the pizza and beer from last night hadn't settled quite right. Today would be a good day to take the day off, but I entered this challenge and I (probably stupidly) wanted to get at least a 4 miler in, so I told the neighborhood gaggle of 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders I would walk them to school, and afterwards I planned to hit the trails around my house.
This isn't one of those runs were I start out feeling like crap and all of a sudden I am flying over the trails, getting a nice runner's high and marveling at the beauty of nature and the mindful process of putting one foot in front of the other. No, not today, today was the type of run where I started off feeling like crap and I finished feeling like crap, but some days are like that, and it's okay to feel like crap.
I am logging my training now, for the first time ever, and that probably isn't a good thing, because I would have taken the day off today if I wasn't logging my training, but I am, so there is this little box that asks me for the intensity of the run and I gave today's a 6. For future reference, this is a 6.
My left hip hurt when I started and my sinuses started to drain, so I had to execute multiple snot rockets. I have perfected the snot rocket on my right nostril, so I executed a few blows on the right, these were the platonic ideal of the snot rocket and if you ever need to do this, and you will if you run, bike or hike, here is how to do it. Close the other nostril with a finger, turn your head in the direction of the nostril you are about to evacuate and blow, hard, just once. Sounds simple, but it takes some practice to get the right angle and force. You should be left clean and breathing clearly. I am great on the right, as I said. On the left, I completely fail and usually end up with some snot hanging from my cheek, or in today's case, my beard and clothing. The worst part about a poorly executed snot rocket is that you don't really have any clue where it landed, so you have to do the check with your hand and you basically end up smearing it all over anyway, so when the cute jogger passes you, does a double-take and smiles, it's safest to assume she is laughing at you, not with you. In fact, it's usually safe to assume they are laughing at you.
I got a few miles in and my legs hadn't woken up yet and I felt slow going up the hills, which I usually power lightly up, like some animal that powers lightly up hills. I was shuffling and trying to just stay in the moment. I went on a night run a couple of nights ago on a trail that I wasn't too familiar with and I wore a headlamp that illuminated the trail about ten feet in front of me. This was a good run - I was forced to be mindful of exactly where I was putting my feet, and I would hit inclines and I wouldn't be able to see the peak, so I wouldn't worry about it. This is ideal running for me, in the moment, mindful, and focused. Today wasn't really like that, even on the smallest hill, I was looking for the peak, and really, there never is a peak, just a series of ups and downs and a philosopher better than me could probably come up with some important parallels out of this thought, but you know what, it's pretty obvious.
The reason I can't do a great snot rocket with my left nostril (and it's not really the nostril at all, a proper snot rocket is from deep down in the sinuses), is because I broke my nose in 7th grade trying to get my money back from a bully and you know how all the TV shows tell you to stand up to bullies and the movies always show the bully backing down, well that's not exactly how it goes down. I stood up to the bully, he told me if I wanted my money I could come with him outside and get it, and all the movies and after-school specials were flowing through my head, so I said what the hell and went outside, he pushed me and I pushed him back and he punched me in the nose and I had a double-cupped handful of blood and a broken nose, but it didn't hurt. The surgery hurt and the recovery hurt and the plaster face-mask hurt my pride, but the punch didn't hurt. So, now I can't blow a proper snot rocket my left side and there is a little bump on the bridge of my nose, not big enough to be a boxer tough-guy distinguishing characteristic, just big enough that I notice a bump and I can't do a proper snot rocket from the left side.
So, yeah, there are no peaks, but today there were several, and when I finished I was going to make a banana shake, and I love my post-workout banana shakes.
The perfect post-workout banana shake
1 over-ripe banana
cupful of ice
2 cups milk
2 heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter
squirt of agave nectar
spoonful of Hershey's unsweetened cocoa
But I couldn't enjoy because someone ate the last over-ripe banana, and the banana holds it all together, so when I made it without the banana and put it in the handheld blender, it sprayed all over me and the counter.
So, for future reference when I try to quantify the intensity of my run, today's was a 6.