Whatcha’ listening to?

My head is a bad neighborhood. When I go there alone, bad things happen. Thoughts like ‘I’m not worth this’ & ‘I hate pain’ plague me. If I choose, I can let intrusive thoughts derail my run. Worse, I leave myself unarmed against destructive behavior. Like, romancing the idea of a drink or a drug. Or self harm as a release. 

I’m mostly ok with how my alcoholic mind works. This kind of thinking is not uncommon in alcoholics & addicts in recovery. My active using provided temporary relief from this thinking. Drinking gave me a pause button to a brain that wanted out from an almost constant barrage of negative thoughts. At almost nine years sober, I have some tools to stay out of my head. Stress is a trigger to self imposed martyrdom. So much time in my head on a long run can be a funny place. 

Reading an article on iRunfar got me thinking about my use of headphones. For today, I don’t think I’ll be one of those people running ‘wireless’ & free in the woods. While the woods of Vermont are where I feel at peace, I use podcasts to stay out of my bad neighborhood. No one is there judging my use of headphones. I know that. Part of me wishes, though, I could be the author of that article. Running free of distraction. Listening to the animal & forest sounds. I do sometimes. Mostly, it’s me & Aggie dog & some soothing voice telling m their good story. Ted Talks, Fresh Air, Stuff You Should Know or Joe & Charlie tapes (sobriety stuff) are my favorites. 

This isn’t to say I could relapse if I don’t have my precious podcasts. It’s not that dramatic. Simply, I have a more enjoyable run with some company. My runs, nine weeks out from Umstead, are loooooong. This still slow scurrier has a 25 miler followed by a 16 this Friday & Saturday. A total of eight hours listening to my own shitty thinking makes for some baaad ideas. So, I choose to listen to someone else’s good ideas. 

What’s your favorite podcast? Please & thank you. 
Thanks for running with me,
Astrid

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Stuff Of Dreams

  
Picking my way uphill, Coach Aggie comes zooming by. My beautiful blonde canine hip checks me on the rocky single track, carefree & unworried. She heads up & out of sight, taunting me to chase her. Perched on one leg, I spread my arms, looking for a tree to balance against. This is not how I’m going out. The last seven months are not going to dissolve because I refused to ‘take it easy this week’. Left leg back with the right, I see Aggie turned back, as if to say “What’s the hold up?”. You know what.

It seemed almost inevitable I would twist an ankle just days away from my 1st 100 miler. Of course, no twisted ankle today. Aggie is sleeping in the back seat on the way home. And Umstead is only four days away.

Vermont 100k was the last race of any real distance. Since then, I’ve run in two 50ks & a six hour challenge. After the 100k, I dropped out of the VT50 at mile 14. Despite loosing 50 lbs, my tummy was fat. I figured I was permanently bloated. 3 weeks later, I was admitted to Dartmouth for emergency surgery to remove 2 lbs of tumors from my abdomen. The tumors were benign, thankfully, just blocking up the works. It was a long recovery & even longer before I ran again. I think it was February 1 2015 before I started again. Six weeks later & an additional surgery & recovery, I got back to running in June. Real running. And it felt so good.

During recoveries, running was like this far away hope that I might someday do again. Of course, it was never that dramatic. Swimming & walking, however, aren’t running when what I wanted was to run. Crewing for hubby at Pineland & VT100 was fun, but not the same as participating. Sometimes, only running helps running. Know what I mean? So, I got to be of service & spend some time behind the scenes, meeting some amazing folks along the way. 

So, here I stand (read sit) at the edge of what I started the blog for four years ago: to record my journey to my running dream. Running a 100 miler. Unbelievable. It’s finally almost here. And it’s good, this chasing my dreams stuff. Besides not sleeping well this week, it’s good. We leave for Raleigh in two days.

“I’ve been excited about this race all year long. Now that I’m here, I wanna go home”. -quoted from ultrawalk.com. That about sums up how I’m feeling this week. Fear, fear fear. I’m gonna trust that the training I put in is enough. Remaining tumors have not grown. I’ve got God, my sobriety & an amazing crew to get me to the finish line. If I can get out of the way, it should be an amazing experience. P.S. Finishing would be really really nice. 30 hours. I got this. Right?

Prayers would be greatly appreciated. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for running with me,

Astrid

Mornin’ Running

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Morning!
I’m mostly a morning runner. Here are some of my favorite shots from my beautiful Vermont mornings. And a couple from a recent trip to Spain.
Enjoy!

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Running continues to be a real joy for me. How’s your running going?

Thanks for running with me,
Astrid