Saturday, August 27, 2011

Batten Down the Hatches: Reflections

I've battened down the hatches, made the requisite run to Whole Foods for PB and other hurricane essentials, and filled the bathtub with water. All that's left is to hang out and see what slow moving, soaking Hurricane Irene brings.  
How a yuppy prepares for a hurricane...
Hunkering down for Irene's appearance in D.C. has given me a lot of time to catch up on episodes of Master Chef and Expedition Impossible and also to reflect on this week, which included a lot of firsts:

First earthquake! Even better, I got to use the mad earthquake drill skills I picked up from working in Seattle part of last year. We even had an earthquake drill while I was there. The safety coordinator guy got onto the PA, rustled some paper around, and we all ducked, covered and held until he stopped rustling the paper. Trés realistic. On Tuesday, I got to test out these skills, once I figured out that I was not having a previously undiagnosed neurological issue. Who cares if I ducked, covered and rolled (whoops), and didn't make it under my desk until most of the earthquake rolling (not me) was over. The critical part is that I got under the desk, which, in a city where everyone else's instinct was to run down stairwells and then outside, makes me one of three geeks who followed FEMA protocol. On the other hand, it was quite the bummer to get home and find my Olie Kolzig bobblehead doll decapitated from a 5-foot dive off a shelf. I guess even goalies take dives.

First bodywork session with someone in the process of Rolfing training! One of my favorite Iyengar yoga teachers came back to town, armed with some bodywork techniques he's picked up while at the Rolfing Institute in Boulder. My first two thoughts when I learned where he was going were (1) He gets to breathe the thin Boulder air! and (2) Sign me up to be a bodywork guinea pig! I got to be the latter on Wednesday evening, with a 1.5 hour deep-tissue session. Admittedly, I'm not entirely sure what Rolfing is, so it's probably a good thing that that's not what I got. After my session, my calves — already pretty worked from an attempt at mile repeats in the morning — were jello. It took me six blocks of walking before I felt like I could even control them.  By Friday, the calves felt awesome. Really.

Took my first power yoga master class! I'm a yoga slut. I practice pretty much all styles, depending on my mood, except for Bikram. The sweaty hot and heated stuff makes me nervous, though. Chalk it up to having cracked my tailbone two New Year's Days ago and messing up all the muscles back there. This past Thursday, the Studio DC brought Bryan Kest to D.C., and it was pretty rad. He's down to earth — a plus in my book — although, am I the only person who thought it could have been also called Master Class with Dr. Seuss? (Reach the right leg high, up to the sky....)

First pre-hurricane run in 3 years! Fact: During the 2008 Ragnar Relay, my teammates dropped me off on a western Maryland ridge, and as the van drove by and past me, Tropical Storm Hanna unleashed her fury. At least, that's how I remember it. I'm getting older, so my memory could be fuzzy.
After my last leg in the 2008 Ragnar Relay in DC.
The sun rose as I ran this leg - hence the headlamp and vest.
Sure, I haven't regularly run in almost 3 years, but there also hasn't been a real hurricane or tropical storm here since then. Mere coincidence? This morning, I totally forgot about the "tropical" part of the phrase "tropical storm-like conditions." I was also spoiled by the low humidity earlier in the week, so it was a massive sweatfest on my nearly 7-mile spin this morning, during which I saw an atypical number of other runners also getting in their pre-Irene miles. I don't think of myself as an über endurance athlete, and my longest race distance has been 10 miles. I'm definitely still in the build phase of Army Ten-Miler training. To hit nearly 7 miles right now after starting at zero in May is right on track....it's my pace that's bothering me.

Next week's a step-back week.  Stay tuned...

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