Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Using music to trigger a memory

A quick aside from my regular sparse running posts:

I've been a fan of music for as long as I can remember. We always had it in the house growing up, so it was always a part of my life. Like a lot of you, I'm sure, when you hear a certain song, it takes you back to a particular moment (or time period) in your life. Maybe a first love, breakup, celebration, whatever.

And, as you may have figured out by now, I'm a bit intense. And nostalgic. And a bit quirky. So, I decided to create a CD that I would listen to after I passed the bar so that anytime I would hear the song in the future, I would think of how amazing it felt to pass the bar. The song I played immediately after seeing my name of the "Pass List" was U2's "Beautiful Day." Now, every time I hear that song on the radio, I immediately think back to that morning, and how incredibly happy I was. Co-workers thought I was nuts for doing this kind of thing. They said I couldn't "force" a memory with a song. But, they're very wrong.

I have those songs when I run, too. In the last couple of months, I haven't been taking my iPod because the battery died and I haven't wanted to shell out the bucks to get it fixed. So, from time to time, I'll take out another music player, but it's bulky and doesn't seem to set correctly in its case. So, for the most part, I have been going without. I wonder if that is hurting my motivation.

Anyway, in addition to the fun songs that I listened to on runs, there were some good inspirational songs. The two that really stick out in my mind are Joe Esposito's "You're The Best" (from the montage in Karate Kid), and "Gonna Fly Now" from Rocky. Every time I hear those songs (which, truthfully, isn't that often), I immediately think about the Lehigh Valley Marathon and what it felt like to finish it. I intentionally played "Gonna Fly Now" on the morning of my law school graduation. In fact, I stopped when I was about 5 minutes from my house so that it would be the last song that I heard before I drove to graduation.

I feel like there's got to be some sort of loony bin with my name on it with some of the odd things I do. I just hope they'll let Bono in from time to time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mileage, Motivation and my next race

It feels like it's been quite a while since I have written, but, truth be told, on the running front, there's not much to report. On the personal side of things, however, life has been all sorts of excellent.

As of this past Monday, I'm now a full-fledged member of both the New Hampshire and Massachusetts bars. After 3 long years in law school, I passed two bar exams and am finally and officially a lawyer. My job as a Public Defender is challenging and interesting, and I'm loving every minute of it. The job is everything I had hoped it would be, and it means so much more to have given so much up to get to where I am.

So, on the personal/professional side, I really have no complaints. I'm extremely happy with that part of my life and wouldn't change it for the world. The running side, however, is much more of a struggle.

Recently, I started to have back problems after I ran. In the past, that was always because I needed  new shoes. I went into the running store and they told me that I last got shoes in May. I thought that I had to have hit my 300 miles that I get on my shoes, especially because it's been so long. When I finally checked my mileage through Garmin, I was only at 158 miles. Since May! When I was on my virtual run from Philly to Los Angeles, I was going through running shoes like they were going out of style (though, frankly, they probably never were in style). Now I'm only 158 miles into shoes I bought in May. Oh, something has to change.

My mileage has been quite low. I still run 3 to 4 times a week (more often, it's 3, rather than 4 times), and I'm only running for 3-4 miles at a time (more often, it's closer to 3 miles). So, my mileage has been low and I haven't been going on longer runs. It's not that I think I can't do it. I just have no motivation to keep going. I'm bored to death with running.

I'm also getting into the coldest part of the year in New England, which means that it will be colder, snowier, icier and generally more treacherous to run in the winter. I did it remarkably well during law school, but my schedule is my rigid now, and my motivation is much lower.

So, I have a couple of options that I'm trying to figure out in my head. I could join a gym, but I absolutely detest gyms. I hate treadmills, and I don't like the time that a gym adds to my workout. It's always easier to just walk out of my house and go for a run. But, I think I could use some weight training to go with the cardio work that I'm doing now. I'm also trying to avoid paying $30+ a month for a gym. But I'm starting to waver.

I'm also thinking that I need to put a new goal out there so that I can start training. A co-worker is thinking about doing the Boston Prep 16-miler at the end of January. Since she lives close, I could do some training runs with her. I'm seriously considering it, because it would give me some motivation to get better mileage in as I prep for the race.

After I finally got to LA, my mileage dropped through the floor. I had been doing 20+ miles a week and that has fallen off. What's also fallen off is the number of calories I'm burning each week (down from 3,000 to about 1,000), which means that my waistline isn't quite as slim. Yet another problem.

So, long story long, I need some motivation to get myself out the door and to start burning more calories. Much, much easier said than done.