Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pre-med vs.Unstrung, and, back-to-back long runs!

There is something cathartic about running long two days in a row...

It's mid-March and mid-evening in mid-Maine.  It is also mid-snowstorm, a belated sort of gift which is currently providing us with plenty of great corpulent snowflakes. 

As they become a little icier, they become a lot less silent. I think it's nature's way of making sure we are in all living in the moment. The serenity wears off for good when the clacking starts. Winter serenity is generally a different thing now than it was, though. Silence and staccato alike get drowned out by the voluptuous plopping and thudding of the thick, slushy martyrs that slide slowly to their fate at the inferior termini of the solar panels.  

When too much drops at once, the Yellow cat gets fed up and leaves his spot near the window and pleads for a tiny puddle of cream or at least a hug. 

I only got in about five hours of work on chemistry this morning.  Class starts at 8:45am and I left the library at 1:45pm, but only because I had to get to a 2pm meeting with someone who claims to be my advisor. 

Funny how one may think that 5 hours is tons, or be fooled by an illusion that I may be perversely dedicated to my pursuit. In reality, though, I am simply a slow creature who is crashing through multi-multi-multi step problems, and one tiny mistake means starting all the way over, forgetting where you were, having to relearn the first step, realizing that there is a better way to do the third step, noticing that the sixth step was actually supposed to be done backwards in order for the math to work, and then still having not figured out steps eleven through nineteen and so you have to try all the numbers from part four until you see the pattern that allows you to know which constants you need to look up in order to find the correct equation(s) that stand between you and The Answer. 

Maybe it is hard, and maybe it isn't. Though time-consuming, it is far from unpleasant. If I need some lightness, I can always picture my flabby little brain in a tiger-print '80s leotard with a little brain-legwarmer on the medulla, sweating desperately in front of a video of Richard Simmons squatting, thrusting, and clutching a giant calculator.  

Well, we just have to do these things sometimes. Repeat after me: I WILL NOT SUCCUMB TO A 100 LEVEL COURSE.   Also it is appropriate to exclaim tearfully, upon obtaining a certifiably correct answer, that, "it's a christmas miracle."  

Saturday was a fantastic 12 mile run from here.  I ran some alone, and then was joined but Annah and Bob Mueller and Annah's fiancee, Paul. Let me just say right off that I love these people. Each is hilarious, intelligent, and awesome. I want the to come running all the time. They really need to stop living thousands of miles away, in my Humble opinion. Anyway.

Paul works in a real live research lab at a real live med school on real live diseases like cystic fibrosis and gets to play with real live enzymes like luciferin. Luciferin is what makes fireflies glow! Joyous, that. We chattered wildly about chem and bio and all the cool research he is working on. Being able to follow along in the conversation was handy. (!)  And then Annah said we were disgusting; maybe around the time we high-fived over something to do with the Sonic Hedgehog gene... 

So not only was there great conversation, but there was also a personal-distance-record for Annah. We ran around on very frozen T0rsey Pond under a slate-blue sky before the lengthy ascent back to HQ. I fed them pb-cc cookies before they had go do silly things like plan weddings, and then did about three more miles. In spite of my typical pace, it went by fast.  

The left leg/subcutaneous anterior nerve of the quad (whatever, that one that is connected to the disc lesion) has been a little funny again but there is really nothing to be done at this point except careful, targeted strengthening.  Onward.

Sunday I did several miles with Scout and Piper in the morning(!!) at lovely Scoutland and then headed off to Bradbury. It was Snowshoe Race Day. Ryan almost always politely declines my efforts to volunteer so I'd envisioned just heading out for a spell on the Beautiful Loop. I figured I'd ask just in case and it turned out he did need a hand with course pickup! 

I was very pleased to finally be useful. I ran the first bit of BL until after the racers were off and racing when I set out on the race course. It was about 5 miles all over the mountain side. The gorgeous forest and blue sky were all around, and I ran and then lumbered merrily with an increasing burden of course markers in my paws. When the schlep became almost too much, I was conveniently back at the start and able to drop off all the goods.  

Then it was on to the Extremely Well Marked Switchback trail.  Average number of steps run per 5 flags picked up: roughly one.  Giggle. Speaking of numbers, I found Four at the crux and he graciously agreed to ferry my already-massive load of flags down. There was one last loop of the Tote Road left.  My borrowed GPS (thanks Colin!) succumbed around mile 10 I think. A new one shall reach me soon if all goes as planned, for joy!

I ended with almost 13 miles and in great spirits. I had to rush off to study so sadly couldn't stick around to schmooze. Can't complain though as I ended up with a luscious nosh over a textbook at E&L's. 

I tried Tailwind (also, thanks Colin!) today for the first time. I seemed to work really well. Scout recommended a concentration to start with (which was one scoop per 12-16 oz I think?  It seemed like a lot  I did a little less, but next time, would go ahead and do exactly what she recommended.) 

I consulted Squirrel afterward to debrief. "Play around with it," she advised.  I hear a lot of people say such things about Tailwind. I think their official slogan should be: Play around with it. 

I love when play is recommended.  Under most (all?) circumstances.  

I simply cannot express the extent of the depth of my gratitude at currently living within a body that is happy to do back to back long (long-for-me, right now...) runs. Each step during which things cooperate, in which the spine holds up, is nothing less than a gift. 

Back to back is the nectar. Yes.  

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