Monday, February 21, 2011

Cross Training and Me

It has been two and a half weeks since I last ran. My ankle is still a bit achy, but I think it's getting better. I think, I think, I think.


I see my PT later this afternoon and I am expecting to get the okay to start up running again later this week. Here's hoping I don't go out and run 20 miles off the bat and undo all this healing on the very first run. So tempting.....

I have been cross training my butt off. Literally. Have you ever taken a spin class? Holy guacamole! These classes are killer. Especially to a poor little runner like me with nary a cycling muscle to bless her. These classes are short and incredibly intense: the polar opposite of my usual running style (slow and mellow, dude). I get off the bike after 45 minutes or an hour dripping sweat and gasping. It takes a few minutes for the walls of the room to stop pulsing in and out.

You might say I am becoming mentally tough, which has never been a particular strength of mine. We'll see.

I have also been swimming, which was my first love in the grand scheme of things. I grew up on swim teams and now help coach my kids' swim team. I am slowly getting back into swimming shape. Just yesterday I banged out five 200 IM's in a row and felt great. I am once again getting acquainted with my arms and back and core. And it's all good. I feel better overall.

Sometimes I cry because I miss running so much. But swimming and biking are pretty good, too. Just a bit more difficult to fit into my crazy schedule. I really do need to incorporate more cross training into my running life. When I run every day, often twice a day, I get injured. I need to get that through my thick head. I really am going to try to keep up the cross training once I start running f'real (hi Paige!) again.

Here's my Monday Patch post. The temps hit 50 here last week, so the kids and I hit the beach! There are a few more photos on the link.

We are visiting friends in Stonington who just happen to live near a beach. It’s chilly outside, but sunny enough to wander down to the shore to see what’s going on.

Out on the sand the snow is mostly gone, save a few patches of scaly, salty slush. This stuff is oddly textured and impossible to walk on. It slides with your foot and sends you reeling. The kids run from patch to patch like drunken sailors.

They are all in explorer mode, prying the sand for treasure. There is a shocking amount of life for a mid-winter beach. Live scallops open and close in the shallow water. A few of their cousins are stuck in the tidal mud, and the kids throw these back in. Gulls and ducks float just out of reach looking for food. There are black-headed mergansers here as well, I’m proud to tell you. I am slowly learning the local birds.

My daughter Nell finds a horseshoe crab shell. She tells me the shell has been shed by a live crab (rather than left behind by a dead one), because the front is missing. I didn’t realize horseshoe crabs shed, but it makes all the sense in the world. I’m so happy the learning channel is starting to run in the other direction.

Our friends tell us they recently saw mink tracks, though we don’t see them today. We do however see deer tracks in the sand as well as flappy, triangular duck tracks in the sticky mud.

The kids find a dead cormorant belly up at the water line and everyone gets wet. They take sticks to the carcass and start a crude dissection. They get the mouth open and look down past the tongue to the long esophagus. Everything beyond that is picked clean to feather and bone. It’s too cold and clean to stink. When they flip it on its back red blood flows into the water and they all run away.

The next day is oddly mild, a February thaw, and we still have the beach in our heads. I have an afternoon appointment in Westerly so we stop for an hour at Nappatree Point. It’s like we’ve stolen into another season. There is no snow here and no ice. Tucked into a dune in the sunshine it almost feels warm. The water looks so inviting; it’s difficult to remember we are wearing coats and hats.

But these quickly come off. Who cares if it’s still a bit chilly, we’re at the beach! We shed socks and shoes and stand in the 34-degree water for as long as we can take it. This is a contest I always lose. I bolt for the warmish white sand and bury my aching feet. What is it with kids and cold? They never seem to feel it like I do.

I’m not a huge fan of summer beaches, but I love them in winter. The muted light on the water is beautiful and the place is usually empty. Today is no exception. There are a few people walking their dogs way down the beach and us. That’s it. Paradise.

I lie back on the sand and point my face to the sun. I hear the surf and the kids playing and I swear I’ve found a little piece of summer.


  1. run twice a day? holy guacamole to THAT! good for you Pam changing it up a bit. I am off to the pulmonologist tomorrow to get my lungs working and once that happens......short easy runs are coming-I hope!

  2. I've had to come to the hard conclusion that I just can't run as much as I want to. My brain loves it but my body rebels. Good luck figuring that out! And to a return to running at maybe a bit lower mileage :-)

  3. Does this work? I have been having difficulties posting here, not sure why. I hope that you will keep me informed as to your progress. Keep those shoes off...much better for feet, plus it feels great.

  4. Lol, Hi Pam! Good on you for sprinkling in all that cross training! Spinning is amazingly tough, gives me rubberband legs even thinking about it :) You won't be sorry you put in the time on other things. I see great things ahead for you, which include running!

  5. I love those days that get you back grounded. Beaches in the winter time is one of the best - and probably better with kids. Loved the post.


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