Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Shouting through an open window

As I'm one to do, I was listening to a podcast on a recent run. Due to some glitches with my itunes account and a slow reorganizing of my room I didn't have my normal WWDTM podcast to rely on so I switched to Radiolab for my quick run around Wash Park. Typically Radiolab, This American Life, and Risk are saved for longer runs when I really need the motivation to pound the pavement in my  now familiar neighborhood. It was one of their update podcasts so I assumed it would be shorter, perhaps with not much new material. I was wrong.

The recent podcast "Update: New Normal"from October 19, 2015 looked back at their podcast "Normalcy" from, I believe, 5 or 6 years ago. In the intro story Jad Abumrad brings up an antedote written in the New York Times by Martin Bunzel a philosphy professor. As an 18 year old, Mr. Bunzel over hears something on a plane in 1966 regarding race. He remarks that given the particular time period, 1966, the man who made the comment was in an interesting spot. Had he said it a few years earlier it would have been common place, had he said it a few years later it would have been intolerable. However the time he said it America was on the cusp of change, a grey area. Mr. Bunzel said it was as if the man was "shouting through an open window between worlds".

There are a lot of points in our lives where we feel we are between worlds. When you transition from high school to college, when you transition from college to the "real world", when you get married/divorced, etc. These are pretty big worlds to transition between and are a lot more obvious to chart and see. What's more nuanced are those smaller shifts in the world and in your life. These shifts may take a long time to recognize, if at all. You may be shouting between two worlds and not even realize it.

Spare me the groans for a moment, but the best comparison I can think of is dating. No not Tinder, Tinder is it's own potentially interesting blog post related to running at a later date. What it feels like is that grey area where you have a friend and a great friendship and everythings fine, but there's maybe a possibility for a new type of relationship with that person. You can sense that things will change with this person but you don't know how. Will our story be the next big Hollywood RomCom or will we be a cringe worthy memory? I'm not talking about the actual shift, when that change happens. That's usually a pretty obvious time marker. What I'm talking about are those moments before that shift that actions and reactions (the shouts) that signify what everyone hates: the grey area. An innocent text here, a chance meeting of just the two of you there. A few years prior it may have meant nothing and in a few years after it might mean lot more but for now that "hi (and emoji?)" is a shout through an open window between two worlds.

Harvest Moon 2015 Champs!
I'm feeling that way about ultimate frisbee and running right now. I'm super excited about my upcoming race (and slightly terrified). I also got super excited about ultimate this past season with women's masters and RUA. Now, coming off the high of a big Harvest Moon Championship (Christmas Town!) and the thought of "what am I going to do December 6th?"

My current friendship with ultimate and running has been figuring out how to do both (logistically and physically). I love how things are right now but I can sense a shift coming. We've been making due with some tweaks here and there but it's been working for the most part. A few years ago I thought I made that leap when I quit competitive women's frisbee and started setting my sights on ultra running. And up until this year I would have thought my shout was the Molly Brown end of season party and my "roast" to Lauren Boyle. I snuck in a little line in my poem to her about running and that was it...ultimate and I were more just friends and ultra running and I were going to fall in love.

I've grown a lot as a runner since then. Conquering my first 50 miler was a big piece of that, but so was learning a new way to train and prepare my body for this type of work. I came off this summer healthy and relatively unscathed. I signed up for a 50 miler in December and began setting my sights for 2016 and a possible push for a 100 miler.

I've also grown a lot as an ultimate frisbee player. There was Master's Nationals with Jezebel. A semi-finals appearance was awesome but more exciting were the awesome ladies and the laid back fun of playing ultimate for just that reason; fun with friends. There was MHU league with Shiny Happy People and Part Time Models. There was RUA and regionals. At the end of regionals this year, sitting in a circle with my team, all I could think about was how much fun I had playing and how much more I felt like I grew into myself as a player this year. The timid, always worried about making a mistake women's player got out of my head and the ultimate player started to take control. I felt a passion for a sport that wasn't out of fear of failure for the first time in a long time.  

The interesting part about the New York Times story is that shift, that shout between two worlds, was only really identifiable when that shout reaches the new world and you're in it. I don't know if that new world will be all ultimate or all running or a new hybrid of both or even neither. The ground is shifting beneath my feet.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Dream Weaver

I had my first race dream last night.

Let me back up...

I haven't been neglecting running or training, just neglecting writing about it. I ran the Denver Rock and Roll Marathon without so much as a peep and did an epic training run with Carissa with nothing more than an Instagram post. I've had a lot in my head to write, but it's all just been stuck there. Perhaps that is why I had my first race dream last night, these thoughts have got to escape somehow.

I typically have a race dream either the night before or the night before the night before a big race. The night before type dreams usually involve me sleeping in and missing the start of a race. I occasionally have a random dream running Grandma's marathon way faster than I would run it and suddenly being unable to run near the end of the race and trying to run backwards to break through the molasses surrounding my legs. Both high anxiety dreams that either happen right before a big race or randomly unrelated to the specific race I'm training for.

This dream was different.

The North Face Endurance 50 miler in San Francisco is fast approaching. The race has come up a lot in conversations so it's not a surprise to me that it's on my mind. But my dream last night caught me off guard because I rarely have a dream about a specific race, this far before said race, and without something stressful happening related to the race. Nothing in my dream caused me anxiety. I wasn't rushing because I missed the start, I wasn't mid race with molasses legs. I was in San Francisco, driving on and around the race course, and realizing that I would be running it soon and getting really excited about it.

[there was a slightly less believable part in the dream where we were driving and took a corner too fast and instead of falling into a valley we all leaned uphill and the car somehow righted itself]*

I try not to read too much into dreams because dreams are your minds way of sorting out all the experiences/thoughts from that day. However, this dream did remind me that it's about damn time I write a bit about running or it will start consuming not just my waking hours but my sleeping hours.

The North Face Endurance 50 miler is exactly a month from today. I am averaging 30 - 40 miles a week with some 50ish weeks mixed in. I'm honing in more on the purpose behind the structure of my training program and beginning to get the method to the madness. Plane tickets are purchased and lodging is more or less figured out. Donald Rogelstein has the car rented and all that is really left for me to do now is finish off these next 30 days healthy and strong. Going into this last month I feel the most prepared for a race that I've been in a long time. I feel a lot more prepared than my last 50 miler.

I'm still anticipating the usual "Oh no I slept through the start" dream in a few weeks which is why I have a crew of 4 people to back me up. Until then I'm going to enjoy my physics defying dreams on the trail.

*I do not advise attempting this method IRL, best to just take curves at reasonable speeds.