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A Super Happy 7-Mile Morning

Posted Feb 22 2012 9:34am


Question: Did someone put some crack in my “granola bar” this morning? Or perhaps you mixed my “morning cocktail” (sink water) with Absinthe or something?

I don’t know what’s happening, or what I’m on, but I’m in a wildly perky mood at the moment. I hope you’re on board, because I’m about to roll through a whole list of things that I’m smiling about today.

First up, did you know it’s Bring Your Best Friend To Work Day today? My real best friend Becky couldn’t make it because she lives all the way down in Charlotte, North Carolina, and she’s busy with things like banking and wedding planning and saying “y’all.” So instead I brought my pal The Stick.

The Stick got dressed up to come to the office today. See how nice and polished?

We’re going to have a great day together! I figure we’ll enjoy some private time every hour or so, and I’m excited to introduce him to all of my coworkers.

It’s not really Bring Your Stick Pal To Work Day. I lied to you about that. But I did bring my rolling pal in with me — Foam Roller Friend was a bit too bulky for the Downtown 4 train…people get pushy on that thing — to relieve my muscle tension throughout the day.

Why today? Well, because I went to the ART (Active Release Technique) doctor yesterday, and he checked me out. The verdict?

  • I was told that the pain I’ve been feeling lately is originating in my psoas muscle . I explained to Mr. ART that it hurts most when I’m sitting for a long time and stand up quickly, or during quick directional changes (like if I’m running and have to turn a sharp corner, which I’ve been trying to avoid). Right away he said, “It’s your psoas!” He seemed kind of excited about figuring out my little puzzle.
  • The psoas is tight and aching because of my job. Blame the 9 to 5! Damn the corporate universe! Really though, he said this is common in runners who have desk jobs. I sit all day and don’t stand up and stretch enough (um, ever). My psoas gets all squished and confined during the day, and then I run and I stretch it out too quickly. Something like that. Hence the reason The Stick is here to play today.
  • ART feels oh-so-good. People said it might hurt and I might bruise, but it was like a really good deep tissue massage. Basically you move different body parts in the “direction they’re supposed to go,” and the ART doctor works the muscles in that area and stretches them out.
  • Mr. ART says I have a “high pain tolerance.” You bet I do, buddy. A life with Crohn’s disease will do that to you. You think digging at my muscles is fun? You’d have a field day with my intestines. Sorry, that was uncalled for.
  • I felt good and loosened up by the end of the appointment, which included some electric stimulation (scary sounding, but felt fine, sort of like I had little electric bugs crawling on me, only not as gross), traction something, ART and a spinal adjustment. I was into it.

Also, Dr. Levine’s office happens to be next to this:

Sorry, but you may only bank here if you have a 26.2 sticker on your car…or tattooed on your face.

I don’t bank there. But I took a photo because it said MARATHON. So yeah.

After the appointment I thought about going to the gym, and then I thought better of it and just went home. I keep reminding myself that I’m New Ali, and I’m Smart Ali, and I’m Listen To Whatever Coach Cane Says Ali. Coach Cane never says “run in the morning and then go to the gym at night” (though yoga is fine), so I haven’t been doing that.

Instead, I put on some sexy flannel pajamas with holes in them from over-wearing (they were born in 1997) and got to work on my Big Project Of The Week: Addressing Becky’s wedding invitations. Maid of Honor Ali at your service!

What? This is organized…seriously. I HAVE A SYSTEM. Don't question it.

There was stamping, folding, sealing, stamping and making pretty piles.

Neat piles! That's more like it.

Tonight’s task? Actually busting out the inky pens and getting these things addressed. I didn’t even bring gym clothes so I won’t be tempted to hit up a spin class before heading home.

See? I’m learning.

I checked in with Coach Cane after last night’s appointment and he told me to run 7 miles today. Nothing fast, just a steady seven around the Reservoir. Happy to oblige, Coach!

Brian, I specifically asked you if I looked "cool or stupid?" in this photo. I guess I should have taken your lack of response to mean "stupid." Whatever. Still posting it for the world to see, because I like to run and dance.

I also had company!

Brian is stretching/yawning/maybe wincing in pain. It's hard to tell. It was dark.

Brian joined me for some of the miles, which was so nice. We had done two laps around the Reservoir in what seemed like no time, and then I finished up the third lap by myself.

We chatted and I sang and I think Brian tried to ignore me, but we also spent some time debating our pace. I kept looking at my watch, and it never quite seemed right. “Stop looking at your watch and just think about how your body feels,” Brian said. We were running at a conversational pace, and I wasn’t out of breath at all, so I think my splits are actually pretty accurate. But we were running side-by-side the entire time, and here’s how our paces compared (mine measured by the Garmin 110 and his by some iPhone app):

According to my watch, our first mile clocked in at a 10:04 pace.

But on Brian's pacer? We were a full minute-per-mile faster.

I call bullshit…on both.

Overall though, this run felt so good. I had no pain, the weather was incredible and I was happy to have some running company. I love running on the Reservoir because I can zone out, watch the sun rise over the water and just appreciate running.

It is February and I'm not wearing layers. Suck it, winter.

I returned home, foam rolled and haven’t stopped smiling since then.

As for what sort of “training plan” I’m following right now: I’m working a lot with Coach Cane and it’s all about communication these days. Since my hip started hurting, we’ve scaled back on the intensity and he’s just having me do more miles at a slower pace. I actually really like that. I do miss speedwork a bit, but I know I’ll be doing it again soon. We’re just being cautious and gentle while still keeping the mileage up. As long as things don’t hurt, I can keep doing them, but as soon as something doesn’t feel right, I know not to push too hard. I’m learninggggggg and it’s a beautiful thing.

I also haven’t worn heels in a week, which is some sort of record for me. I’d like a prize, please. A brownie, preferably.

And now I will spend the rest of the day being giddily happy because I feel like I had a little setback and a tiny little “injury” or whatever, and now I’m moving forward. No more Sad Ali. Just Dance Party Ali.

This is actually one of my best moves. It's called "Sway to the Side" and it goes best with a little bit of elbow crease sweat.

I hope you have a lovely day as well.

And also, because I need some new running music, how about you do me a favor…

GIVE ME MUSIC: What’s your favorite running song right now? I’m not normally a big Nicki Minaj fan, but I kind of like her new “Starships” song. Also currently in heavy rotation on the playlist: “Danza Kuduro,” “Runaway Baby” (Bruno Mars), “Wild Ones” (Flo Rida & Sia), “5 O’Clock” (Wiz Khalifa & Lily Allen) and “Kyoto” (Skrillex). I like pop music.

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