TGIF (and PMS, TBH)

Oh yeah, we’re going there.

I swear, I’m not talking about menstruation to be edgy or controversial to get more traffic. I mean, let’s be real we all know there’s like 1.2 people that read this blog.

It’s just that it’s incredibly relevant to my training as it effects everything i think/do/eat/say/feel for these 4 days.

So now that I’ve made this sufficiently awkward… let’s chat! Fun things to know about me: I am STRONGLY affected by my female cycle. Like, every cliche you can think up to the most extreme level–that’s me. Debilitating abdominal cramps, intense fatigue, ridiculously emotionally sensitive, weird cravings and a massive appetite, and yes, often bitchy (although I keep it to internal bitchy thoughts and rarely act on them.)

It’s taken me a solid 9 years, but I’ve finally reached the point where I can tell that when I’m really sad and emotional for 3 days straight, it means by best friend is coming to visit. And I’m not crazy. (Well, not for those reasons. LOL #truth)

Usually, it doesn’t actually affect my running in the literal sense of speed/pain/windedness. It’s all the other things that surround the run that tend to be impacted. Let’s take my half-marathon, June of 2013, for example. The day before the race, my mom + sister + I drove up and stayed in a hotel nearby. That night, long story short, my mom made me feel like shit and my sister wasn’t helping. I was sad/angry/hurt/angry all at once. But the morning of, I tried to shake it off best I could and keep positive (since that’s the cornerstone of my practice).

At mile 8, I got my goddamn period. And it didn’t just quietly announce itself. It stained my shorts in a big way. Looking back, it’s a funny memory because a) I don’t give a F and b) There’s one really cute photo of me thumbs-ing up, but I always crop out the bottom 1/8 because you can blatantly see my shorts.

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On normal, run of the mill, no race, just a training run days, my period most strongly influences my motivation. Typically, my emotions manifest themselves in self-loathing and self-doubt. My exhaustion coupled with my preggo-style bloating don’t help, and I often prefer to stay in bed than to get out on the street (or to the gym), even though my rational mind knows that exercise is *great* for helping menstrual symptoms.

It was really hard today to decide to put on my cold running gear instead of my PJ bottoms and crawl right back into bed. What is easy is using this physical and emotional discomfort as a crutch to fall back on as an excuse for being static. But I prefer to be in motion and to be productive, even if my present-tense hormonal self wants to be a sloth monster. And in the end, I’m so glad that I got to add happy hormones to the hormonal cocktail that is my body right now. Plus, getting outside today makes tomorrow’s run even more exciting.

BECAUSE, regardless of the state of my reproductive system…. today was my first run since Thanksgiving!!! I was very nervous, as I’ve been taking a break for the past two weeks due to my ankle pain (explained in my last post), and I feared it would come right back the moment I hit the pavement. But 2 blocks past, then 5, then a half mile, then 2 miles, and suddenly I had run 5k and only hints of shin pains had emerged. It appears as though I was back on the wagon!

(Despite an incredibly slow time. Like really slow. YOLO. Actually, not YOLO. There was a moment when I looked at my time, and I noticed I was being passed by what looked like a boys’ middle school running club. And I was embarrassed. Wow, 13 year old boys are passing me. I’m some runner. Dressed in this nice cold weather gear, I must look like a total poser who just rolled straight out of Nike [actually all my clothes are from Marshall’s/ TJ Maxx–call me a Maxxinista]. Then I had a moment of clarity: I’ve never run to be fast. I don’t care about improving my times. My motivation has always been self-love and confidence. So who gives a fuck if I’m at a snail’s pace? I’m making myself better. SO YOLO.)

The moral of this whole story: My brain is mush as the semester ends, and I’m hormonal, and I’m sleepy. BUT I’m sleepy after a 4 mile run, for which I am eternally grateful 🙂 🙂 🙂 AND I’m back on that training plan grind, so tomorrow is a lovely 5 miles in the sun! (Fingers crossed!!)

Currently wearing: a Life is Good shirt with a cup of coffee on it and yoga pants because WHAT ELSE IS THERE (seriously thinking about burning my jeans)

Currently working on: Pinterest for work. I’m the luckiest girl alive.

Currently not working on: My final paper, which I very much should be.

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*Insert James Franco Reference Here*

…because it’s “spraaang breeeeaaaaakkkkk!

Thankfully, my spring break will include none of the horror that movie did (seriously, it was the weirdest, most uncomfortable and messed up thing I saw all last summer). And finally, literally within the last hour, all of my midterms are submitted, and I can go into full on spring break mode!

No sunny, beach trips for me, though this vacation. My break will be a full one, spent babysitting, working, having out with my #1 soul sister, and heading home for a few days. I’ve had these past 2 days to be a sloth on my couch, and that’s plenty of laziness for my liking.

This week was pure insanity for me, from classes to midterms to my second ever all-nighter to my first ever conference call to club stuff to work, and my sleep pattern got super thrown off. It is with great sadness that I admit I am back on the coffee IV. My all-nighter was surprisingly fun, spent with 5 of my friends from work, where we occupied one of the hallways in the lower level of our library (open 24/7 down there). At one point, there was yoga. Downward Dog made an appearance in that hallway around 2 a.m.

Earlier that day, though, I had to embrace the incredible weather NYC was having. The climate has been more temperamental than *this girl* gets about 1/month, so the 55 degree, sunny weather was not to be passed up. I went on a glorious run over to the East River and for the first time since October, I rocked a T-SHIRT! My arms couldn’t have been happier. I also listened to Pandora during my run, which is the first time I’ve listened to anything running since October. It was a wonderful addition. I do love the peace and mental clarity that comes with running free of music/podcasts/distractions too, but there’s something lovely about that upbeat soundtrack cheering you along. (I switched between Jason Mraz radio, Eric Hutchinson radio, and Noah and the Whale radio). Since I was already full of firsts, I decided to hop onto the track I always pass by. Another great experience! I haven’t run on a large track like that since high school (the rooftop one on my gym is 1/7 mile and a completely different experience). It was so nice to stretch and do some ab work after my 3.5 on the grass soaking up some vitamin d.

But the real victory was yesterday. Another beautiful day, another t-shirt weather kind of run. After my weekly visit to my therapist (you gotta do it! so amazing!), I headed out on a jaunt over to my favorite running spot, the Hudson River. I took my music with me and scored big time with the Eric Hutchinson station. I decided to stick to a similar schedule as my half-marathon training, except without any sort of purpose. Basically, 2-3 5k-ish runs during the week and a long run on the weekend. I figured I’d go about 6 yesterday. But I felt so wonderful during that run, had so much positive energy coming from all around – the other runners at the park, the adorable puppies, cute babies (and their hot dads)(judge me), and coming from myself – that I didn’t turn around until mile 4. At mile 6.5, I knew I wanted to make it 8 miles because I was still feeling so great.

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Looking at this as I drained my legs against a light post just truly blew me away. Not because 8 miles was a triumph. But because of the fact that it no longer was a triumph. Exactly a year ago today, I decided I was going to run a half marathon. (Inspired by meeting a girl who had just finished the NYC Half.) At that time, running 5k was my ultimate limit. I can remember being terrified the first time I had my 5 mile long run. The week my long run was 8 miles, I barely got myself out the door. I remember, I planned out the route and did it at Central Park. After I finished that day, I felt such an overwhelming pride for having done something I’d never done before – 8 miles! And I was more sore/hungrier than ever. My stats for that run:

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A year later, and I ran 8 miles just because it was sunny out and because I *can*.

Boy, the things you can accomplish. The things that seem impossible right now can become something you mention in passing because it is so natural. Growing up, I was never a runner. And now, I can run 8 miles because I feel like it.

How freaking victorious is that?!

Now I have to remind myself that it’s ok to go for a 2.5 mile run. Not everything has to be groundbreaking.

On another, more tasty note, I celebrated PiDay! With caramel apple mini pies. I’ve still got one to go 😉

And I’ve decided to spare my instagram followers my obsession with food photographs, and have made a profile dedicated to my noms. And probably fitnessy stuff too!

Follow me @thevegesaurusrex 🙂

Look forward to some imminent insta’s of tasty vegan treats since it’s my friend’s vegan-versary on Wednesday! #CELEBRATEGOODTIMESCOMEON

love, lettuce, and legumes,

cait