Staving Off Runner’s Cabin Fever by Remembering to Appreciate Other Things


I turned 24 this week. My friends and family have always done a great job of making sure that my birthday doesn’t get forgotten in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and this year was no exception. I enjoyed a tremendous dinner at Brian Voltaggio’s restaurant Range on my actual birthday: lamb so tender I could cut it with my fork, savory roasted carrots, chewy chocolate and peanut butter cookies sandwiched around peanut butter and salted caramel ice cream, and a smoky mezcal drink to wash it all down. This past weekend Jenny and I traveled to New York City for an even more sumptuous meal at the Gotham Bar and Grill. I started off with a vibrant beet salad and a beet-enhanced margarita made with jalapeno-infused tequila, which was followed by a hearty duck confit rissoto. I would’ve been perfectly satisfied had the meal stopped after the rissoto, but I managed to stretch my stomach still further for a piece of delicate red snapper paired with a tomato confit. Dessert was a rich, smooth flourless chocolate cake that texturally had more in common with custard than with traditional layer cake.20131209-230614.jpg20131209-230251.jpg



I love to eat, so these special dinners were beyond awesome.

I’m not so serious in my training that I can’t have fun or eat food that isn’t strictly healthy. I also acknowledge that I won’t sacrifice other things for my running, for instance, I don’t want to be rail thin and have no upper body strength. I can do 19 full lock-out reverse grip chin-ups and 12 full lock-out forward grip pull-ups — I like having that skill, and if having the upper body mass to do it holds me back, so be it.

I was feeling a little cabin feverish today since the DC area got a bit of snow and ice yesterday. (All it takes is about three inches of snow for the city to lose its freaking mind.) The poor weather nearly doubled my bus ride back from New York, so I wasn’t able to do my long run.

Friday is usually my rest day, but knowing I’d be in New York for such a short time, I didn’t want to waste any of the trip doing long runs, so I planned to fit my 14 miles in before work. Life has a way of intervening with the best laid plans, and I ended up sleeping horribly on Thursday night: couldn’t fall asleep until after 11:00 pm, woke up around 2:00 am sweaty and burning up. My sleepy self thought it’d be a good idea to apply a sample packet of Icy Hot Naturals to my back in order to cool off, so I went from too hot to FREEZING in no time flat. Rough night. I wasn’t able to haul myself out of bed in time for 14 miles, but I did get in 10, which was more than enough to cover the 8 miles my training plan required of me for Sunday, so I figured I could accomplish 14 on Sunday after getting back from New York, or at least 12, for the same mileage total.

That obviously didn’t happen.

And this morning the sidewalks were treacherous with a layer of sleet, so I couldn’t reasonably skip my Monday rest day and turn it into a 14-mile day. Early morning dark plus ice doesn’t add up to any good outcomes. So I’m looking at swapping the run in later this week, in place of either my Friday rest day or one of my short mileage days. We’re expecting 2-4 inches of snow tomorrow and I’m headed out of town this weekend, so getting even one long run in may prove to be a challenge.

*rapid breathing* *accelerated heart rate*

I had to remind myself to not get panicky about missing scheduled workouts. Missing a run isn’t going to destroy my fitness. Enjoying a couple of celebratory dinners isn’t going to pack the 37 pounds back onto my frame. A single day inside shouldn’t give me cabin fever. I have a life outside of running, replete with other things I love to do, and sometimes, something has to give. This time, my long run got axed from the schedule and it’s not the end of the world. I lifted my nose up from the proverbial grindstone to enjoy some other things, and like that heavenly chocolate cake, it was sweet.

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