Running Update: March 2, 2017 (with extra Chicago footage and some thoughts on Lent and food stuff)

Thursday again! Oh, well. Maybe I should just make this my running report day.

Last week was a mostly good, consistent week, but Sunday (long run day) was challenging given my schedule, so it was tough to put together the time for a long run, and I didn’t get a chance to during daylight. Upshot is I did not manage a trail run or take any photos of an interesting new (to this blog) route. I’ve also not been so consistent this current week, which I’m accepting as an (unnecessary) taper for the half marathon this coming Sunday that I’m treating as a training run anyway.  So, not a great excuse.

Instead of a photo, what struck me this week is the news that for the first time in recorded history (since the city began keeping snow records in 1884-85), Chicago is going to go a whole January and February, usually the snowiest months, with no snow on the ground. (See also Business Insider: No Snow Record.) I normally hate snow and cold and suffer through winter, but even before hearing this the bizarrely mild winter was starting to freak me out–and explain why I’ve had no excuses at all to blow off a run. It actually snowed some yesterday (although still not enough to stick), and is somewhat colder, so I thought maybe a cold March to balance our reasonably cold December, but no, it’s apparently supposed to be nearly 60 F again on Sunday. And that worried me since on Sunday I will be in Chattanooga running a half marathon–what, will it be 80? (Checked the report and apparently the high is forecast at only (only?) 65 F.)

Anyway, I thought about including in this post a photo of the cars stuck in the snow on Lake Shore Drive back during the blizzard of 2011 (early February), for old times sake, and to remind me of what things are supposed to be like (kind of) in Chicago in the winter, but first got detoured to videos of the storm and then to old videos of Chicago, which seemed more interesting than the snow.

Back to running, I suspect that the half marathon will be tough, even at my slow training speed, as I haven’t gone more than 9 miles since the half marathon with my dad the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Will not stress and will look around and enjoy it (and keep on running!).

Finally, since it’s the beginning of Lent and since I know that one of my problems in fully getting on track with my training and getting my speed back to normal (my basic training speed is meaningfully slower than it was last year at this time) is that I am heavier than I should be, a few words on that. While I hate the idea of using Lent as an excuse to diet, and promise I am not doing that, I know my most significant issue in staying consistent with my diet is that I’ve been using food to deal with stress, emotion, the same old nonsense that I always seem to struggle with, even after I’ve kicked it for a while and am feeling good. One reason for a Lenten sacrifice that has always made sense to me is that you are giving up a crutch, something you tend to turn to as comfort, an answer, a substitute, one that you rely on instead of God, and instead of actually accepting and learning to live with something, such as fear, anxiety, unhappiness, negative thoughts, whatever. I’ve been working on this some with the meditation, and certainly running helps, but I need to seriously work on it with the eating too, and this seems a good time to do it. My usual Lenten food-related observances aren’t really about this (I go vegetarian, try to eat more simply, I’m also giving up sweets this year), but my broader goals are: I am going to eat only at meals, only mindfully, and not use food for self-comfort. I am never going to be a permanently restrictive eater and don’t want to be — I think sharing and celebrating with food is human and joyous, and I love to cook and eat — but the way I’ve been using food is different and something to work on and not gloss over as “I’m just going to run a lot and get back in shape!”  (And so I hide this at the end of a run-based post, yeah, true.) Will report on my progress with this after a bit.

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