Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Long Run, March 22nd: Steamboat Willie'ing It

Over the past week I have been trying to be gentle with my pulled booty muscle. I ended up having to skip the peak hill workout, which made me feel like a slacker and I didn't like it. But every time I got up from my chair at work I sort of staggered to the side and was walking like an 85 year old, so I figured I wasn't in great shape to do 9 reps up Beacon Hill. It felt better as the week wore on, and I tested it out with two shorter runs on Thursday and Friday and it seemed that as long as I maintained my normal range of motion, it did not worsen. I partially blame Carl for this occurrence; the Sunday before last, we were both getting really into the super uptempo live version of I'm So Excited by the Pointer Sisters, one of those songs that makes you want to bound along rocking a huge cheesy smile and give a thumbs-up to every passerby, and maybe even bust a sweet dance move or two in the crosswalk (ideally midair). Something about this image reminded us of Steamboat Willie as he speeds along, twirling the boat wheel. Minus all the borderline-inappropriate animal abuse that happens throughout that short (couple that with all the antisemitic stuff, and sometimes I really wonder about Walt Disney), the general vibe of the video totally fits the song. So I put it on my running playlist for Monday morning to rock out to as I ran a loop to Davis Square. I was still a bit stiff from the 19-miler, and in the end just got too jazzed up...I Steamboat Willie'd too hard and pulled my butt. When I sadly relayed this Carl, and he pointed out that no one has ever said that sentence before. Truth. At least now I know that I have to be careful with that song.

As I was walking down Norfolk Street to meet up at Nicole's on Saturday morning, it was dreary and cold out...there's a shocker. But then I passed by someone's unkempt flower plot and saw the tiniest crocus bud peeking out through the crusty mulch. I almost completely spazzed out at this sign of life, as I had been close to accepting that summer has maybe been canceled this year. My dumbphone does not have a very elite camera, so here is a grainy picture of the little guy. I should also point out, lest you think that Boston is about to burst into full spring bloom, that the adjacent photo is not to scale--I think the real deal was even smaller, so dinky. Spring is struggling this year.

Our 12-mile route had the same path as usual, actually identical to the absurdly cold run I did all alone back in early January when I had to smear all the vaseline on my face; out to Newton Centre and then right on Centre Street straight to the bottom of Heartbreak Hill. Katy was there, so we decided to run together. She's gotten so much faster compared to a few months ago, which is pretty awesome. I was pleased to find that while I could feel my bum muscle hurting a little, it did not seem to be aggravated by our pace or the miles. My ankles were more the issue, although they were also both having a good day. Yes, it is now a plural situation. The left practically hurts worse than the right. Boooooo. Still, we were able to maintain around an 8:30 and that felt pretty good. I would ideally like to run a similar pace for the actual race.

Going down Commonwealth Ave for what felt like the millionth time, I broached the subject of ice baths. 
I've never been too tempted to try, as I am a huge weenie about cold water. Our family cabin in the New Jersey Pine Barrens rests on a bend in the Rancocas River, which is awesome to swim in but definitely quite chilly. There are an embarrassing number of old pictures of my cousins all playing in the water and then there's me in the corner still clinging to the ladder on the dock, inching in at a glacial pace. Usually by the time I had tortured myself for half an hour and finally eased in, everyone else was ready to get out. Katy likened the ice bath process to that scene at the end of the 6th Harry Potter book, when Dumbledore instructs Harry to make him drink the toxic potion no matter how hard he protests. Because despite the discomfort, apparently ice  baths are quite good for you--constricting the vessels to force out lactic acid buildup, and reducing inflammation around all the mirco-tears. I decided that I would try the junior version when I got home; that is, coldest tap water but no actual ice. I could maybe attempt ice if I had someone to hold my hand, but all I had was my laptop and Center Stage to distract me for 10 minutes as I gingerly sat with my lower half submerged and my top half bundled up along with a neck warmer and hot tea.

Our next run is the much-anticipated 21 mile peak run, where we will actually be bussed out to Framingham and run to the finish. Thus far we haven't see any parts of the course beyond the Riverside area, although on Sunday my parents (who were in town for the weekend) and I drove out to Hopkinton and cruised the full marathon route. There was a moment on the way out when we had been speeding down 93 for about half an hour and I started to wonder if, as Gob so eloquently puts it, "I made a huge mistake." But once on the actual course, it was quite fun to get a feel for beginning part and I am hopeful that I can actually do this. Probably wont be able to Steamboat Willie-it the entire way, but as long as I can maintain some semblance of forward motion for 26.2 miles, I'll be pretty pumped.

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