I had a really fantastic weekend, how about you?
Of course, it didn't start off on the best foot. On Friday I found out that this nagging pain I thought was my hip and would just go away as mysteriously as it appeared is actually a result of a crooked spine and a pinched nerve! How terrible is that? At least I know I wasn't dreaming up this pain out of nowhere, I guess. The good news is I don't have to stop running or working out in any way. The bad news? I have a ten week program ahead of me that involves chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy and massage therapy three times a week! Okay, so the massage therapy doesn't sound too bad. In fact, I'm pretty please with that piece. Also, I was happy to discover this expensive insurance of mine will come in handy since I am 100% covered and all I have to pay is a $20 co-pay per visit. That definitely could have been much, much worse.
So it isn't so much bad news since I should be on the road to recovery soon. I just wasn't prepared for that. And all weekend I kept thinking about that time I went to girl's camp when I was 12 and at the end of the week they handed out awards to everyone that kind of reflected their personality or behavior or whatever over the week and what did I get? "Rotating Ailments"!! Each time my body rebels and I have some quirky ailment or injury, I think of that silly award and how it has haunted me. I mean, I am absolutely grateful for my good health, I've never had anything truly wrong with me - just minor impediments like defective knees and asthma and now, a crooked spine. Awesome.
Luckily I didn't have too much time to dwell on my own mystery diagnosis (it was only a mystery because I refused to see a doctor for two months!) or the bitter single digit January temperatures because I had a train to catch! A train to Delaware to visit good friends. We dined at a hip sushi joint in Philly with a nearly all white interior and colorful lights in just the right places to make one think the future is finally here. There were flat screen tvs in various places playing Japanese anime of Astro Boy that were bizarre yet riveting - especially to the younger ones in our group. Afterwards we received a charming tour of all the wrong places in Philly courtesy of the GPS (and possibly a wrong turn).
By the time we reached my friends' home (aka, my country home), we were all ready to snuggle up in warm blankets to watch This Is It - the Michael Jackson movie. And let me tell you, it was so, so good! After all the MJ hype surrounding his death last summer and all the years of crazy MJ in the media, I had forgotten how amazing his music is. Well, not entirely, last summer I loved that every restaurant, party and bar I entered was full of nostalgic hits. If you ever liked Michael Jackson and have not yet seen the movie, go rent the DVD right now! You will love it. My friends' kids love it. I love it and I keep telling everyone I encounter that they will love it. And last night I downloaded a big chunk of MJ's music to fill some gaps in my collection.
After the movie we stayed up into the wee hours just talking as the kids snoozed nearby. I tried to sleep in and when that didn't work I just lounged in bed later than usual just because I could. Then it was off to Target and Marshall's (I was very intimidated), some delicious pizza for lunch and back to the train.
Sometime between lunch and boarding my train, it began to snow. And drivers freaked out. It came down in big dry flakes that reminded us of the snow from our home state - so different from the icy, wet stuff that usually falls in these parts. We listened to Michael Jackson, we swapped suggestions for other music favorites and ignored a call from a persistent husband because we were all too busy singing in the car. You never truly appreciate the true bliss that comes from singing in a car filled with music until you no longer drive. There is no substitute.
I made it to the train station with only a couple of minutes to spare and then proceeded to sit on the train at the station for an extra 30 minutes. But I was entertained with a call from my mom and brother and then by a really good book. A book I started at the doctor's office on Thursday and could barely stand to put down until I finished it last night - Born to Run. Where do I start in describing this book? Inspirational is the best word I can think of. The book focuses primarily on the author's contact and experience with the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico who are legendary distance runners and the main story arc is ultimately building up to a 50k ultra race in Copper Canyon, the home of the Tarahumara. This story is fascinating and compelling keeps the reader turning the page. But interspersed throughout the narrative are personal anecdotes, character sketches and a wealth of information on how to run, how to be a runner. McDougall's tone is conversational and personal - right from the opening chapter he discloses his own running injuries and the book is as much about his own journey to run pain free as it is about the Tarahumara. What fascinated me the most about the book was the evolutionary and anthropological studies on how we as people evolved as endurance runners. I've only been running for a year and I've already had a number of physical setbacks so finding a way to run without those injuries is definitely appealing. While I do not envision myself at this point kicking off my shoes to try barefoot running or signing up for any 50 mile ultramarathons (or even a regular old marathon), the book inspired me to just get out and run. And also to pay attention to how I run. Since today is the first official day of my training schedule for the Wasatch Back relay race I am running in mid-June, this book was the perfect way to get me pumped up for all the work that lays ahead of me. Whether you run or not, I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book.
Saturday night I managed to tear myself away from the book long enough to attend a small birthday party for a friend in another friend's cozy loft apartment in the Village. Sitting around talking with five fabulous women I've known for nearly a decade for a few hours was worth laying the book aside for the evening.
As you might imagine after my glowing review, I spent the bulk of Sunday reading. I also braved the elements and went for a run along the river. Luckily the sun was shining brightly and the temp had warmed up to a balmy 29 so it wasn't too bad. Of course, the book did not magically turn me into a master runner and I was pretty sure I was doing everything wrong, but at least now I know what I need to start focusing on correcting.
My weekend concluded with good news from a family member and a spaghetti dinner with homemade sauce that made my aprtment smell strongly of garlic. After eating my creation, I decided I should always add red pepper flakes for a punch of flavor - the carrots, zuchinni and shallots helped as well.