Notes From The Coast

The beach does funny things to the brain

A cure for what ails me.

Ah, this feels good.

I apologize for the radio silence, Notes-From-the-Coasters! It’s been a while since my last post and I know all three of my readers have been chomping at the bit to see how my sub-standard training/living life thing is going. Thanks, Dad and Mom and random stranger from Pennsylvania!

So let’s start with good news! Injury Report Update!

Achilles Heel 

Virtually pain-free. I can flex it, point my toes with it, walk on it, and swivel it. It works so well I’m convinced someone performed bionic surgery on me in my sleep….uh, honey?

Knees

The apricot-sized swelling that my meniscus so kindly produces any time I exert any physical energy has gone down considerably to the point where they look like normal knees. Normal knees!

Hip

Went from constantly screaming for Vicodin and a heating pad down to a mild murmur stifled by wine and good conversation.

So, overall a remarkable improvement from where I was a mere few weeks ago! What, pray tell, could bring on this turnabout of non-painful events?

Accupuncture? Massage? Massive amounts of painkillers? Blood doping?

Nope.

Laziness. Lethargy. “Couch Butt” as my favorite Finnish Aunt would refer to it. I’ve been doing a whole bunch of nothing. My most strenuous activity has been hauling up Target bags full of Halloween decorations from my car to the front door or uncorking a bottle of Cabernet.

I know. I’m as shocked and dismayed as you are.

A sedentary lifestyle seems to agree with my joints and tendons. Evidently, they like being lazy. My shins would agree that they could happily sit around watching episodes of Chopped and Dexter ‘til the cows come home. They apparently have no fear of atrophy.

See, I had a birthday last week.  And nothing throws a good workout routine off kilter like, uh, a reason. Any reason, really. But my birthday served as a damn good one.

As we get older, we come to understand that our birthdays change. They aren’t celebrated with the same verve and glee as when we were, say, seven years old. But, even though there was no Faygo Red Pop, or pool party, or silly string or homemade cake with Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate Frosting, it was still one of the best birthdays I’ve had…which magically turned into a week, plus a day or two.

I am still so in love with all of my people. From the ones I’ve known all my life, to the more recent additions, I say thank you for giving me the best gift a girl can have: an excuse not to work out. I love you all.

So, now that the party, the afterglow and the hangover are over, it’s time to get back to business. As much as my body parts would prefer I remain slothful and lazy, my stupid heart is just aching to get going again. So long, Couch Butt. It’s time to get in the pool. Or on the bike. Or on the treadmill.

Onward.

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Results, running and relativity.

I did the 10K. I ran most of it and walked a little too. Why you ask? Because there are more hills on that Godforsaken course race than any other I can remember. Hills with at least an 11% grade! As a result, my knees and shins seized up and have since refused to work properly and I have some unfamiliar pain in my heel. But, as my friend Sarah wisely pointed out, “Runners are the lifeblood of orthopedic surgeons.”

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So, there I was trudging up Rosecrans Avenue Saturday morning thinking about something, anything to block out the searing pain in my shins when I ended up thinking about all the love and support I received from people. I want to take a moment to highlight those who offered their version of pep talks this weekend.

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CAN DO SPIRIT

“Great job, CT! Being sore just means the training is paying off!” – Christy Anderson

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BEEN THERE DONE THAT SPIRIT

“Oh yeah. I ran that race once. I think I finished in 47 minutes.” – Robert Woodie

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DRILL SARGEANT SPIRIT

“Suck it up, Talick. It’s only a 10K.” – Ryan Brierley

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BLIND MOTHERLY LOVE SUPPORT

“You can do anything! You can do everything! I believe in you! Take Advil!” – Momma G

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NURTURING PARTNER WHO WANTED TO MAKE SURE I’D GO TO BEER GARDEN SPIRIT

“I’ll go to the store and get champagne. Put your feet up. Don’t move. I’m proud of you.”
– Mike “Stein” Ayotte
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And possibly my favorite, as I was laying on the couch massaging my calf muscles:

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SEVEN-YEAR-OLD GIRL, CUT-THROUGH-THE-SHIT SPIRIT

“You risked your life for nothing.” – Charlotte James Ayotte (accompanied by concerned and slightly pissed expression)

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I couldn’t help but laugh. The fact that Charlotte thought this was so epic that it was a mortality risk made me realize that Ryan Brierley was right. Its just a lousy 10k. Suck it up, Talick.

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Sure, I’m proud of myself. But I’m also proud of myself when my bra matches my underwear. It’s all relative.

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I finished the race at 1:11. Right next to an 84-year-old man wearing a headband. Rock on, you silver-haired stud.

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Okay, I’m off to buy an ace bandage.

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The tank of motivation, running on empty.

I signed up to run the Hometown Fair 10k in Manhattan Beach tomorrow. I’ve been running about three days a week. So, theoretically, I should feel good going into this race.

 

But, that’s the thing about theories.

 

I’m in good enough shape to finish a 10k. I might need to stick to a strict diet of beer and Advil afterward but I’m pretty sure I can finish it. The question is, will I enjoy it. I’m not so sure anymore. I’m having a problem with motivation.

 

Anyone who runs races knows this is true: It’s a mind game.

 

My body can do it no matter how much I bitch about my injuries or lament about sore hips and strained muscles. I actually believe part of my pain is psychosomatic. Meaning, I’m inventing the pain in my body with my mind.

 

Basically, my mind is in a ‘take no prisoners’ battle between the lazy, shiftless version of myself that wants to watch Jeopardy and sip Chardonnay (read: enjoy life) versus the lion-hearted competitor version of me that wants to push to the finish line no matter what my shin splints say (read: earn self pride). Clearly, I’m at war.

 

I can see both sides. I’m definitely doing the race. Half of me hopes to run the whole thing without stopping to walk once. The other half says, “Who cares if you walk?”

 

And that’s the rub. Really. Who cares?

 

I did the Mud run for nine years straight. A 10k race on the grounds of Camp Pendleton that challenges runners with hay bales, trails, fire hoses, creeks, sand, a swim across a lake, tunnels and of course, the mud pits. Every year, I slogged through that mud, fighting through pain and tired muscles to cross that finish line. And every year, I was reborn in that mud, a reminder that I was still vital, still alive and still willing to thumb my nose at the reaper and say, “Tell your story walking, pal.” I was lucky enough to have people at the finish line waiting for me. I was grateful for their presence and they made the joy of the moment great. But in the end, the person I was trying to please was me.

 

So do I still need to make myself proud?

 

No. Not in the same way. I will finish this race. And I’ll feel good. But my pride comes from a different place now. From the hugs I get from people I love, to the things I learn, to the things I write, and somehow slogging through mud doesn’t have the same appeal.

 

This applies not just to this race, but to the Lavaman too. Obviously, a little soul searching is in order. Hopefully I’ll find my answers as I’m trudging up Rosecrans at 8am tomorrow morning.

 

And if I walk a little bit, who cares?

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