Who Is This Person In The Mirror?

It’s been almost a month (!!) since the marathon and in that time, I have run exactly 2.84 miles. I am a runner in my heart, but certainly not in practice right now.  This has afforded me a rare opportunity – a glimpse in the life of non-runners. Or at least, what life is like for a non-running me. Your experience may be different, but here is how the landscape of my life has changed:

1. I need less sleep. I am notorious among my family and friends for being one of the first ones to retire in the evening (considering it is usually so early, the word “retire” is appropriate to convey the act!). When we go on family vacations, I am referred to as “Princess Christina” due to my crankiness about loud noises after 10 pm. On an average night, I am in bed by 930, where I read until 10 or 1030 and then am out for my minimum 8 hours, 9 hours when in peak training. In the last month, though, I have noticed that my light is not getting switched off until 11 or 1130 and I don’t feel groggy with less  zzzzz’s. Some nights I have stayed up late enough to only get 4-5 hours – if this happens in my running life, I have to go to bed early the next night or I will be a mess for days. Now, I can get away with one or two nights like that with no ill effects. Last week I slept at Lil Sis’. It was 1130 and I was still fooling around on Google Earth plotting her runs. All the sudden, she was yawning and was like “wait a minute, why are you still awake?!?”.

2. My appetite is nil. One of my favorite things about running, and especially endurance running, is the satiation of the deep hunger that follows long runs. Oh, that giant bowl of cereal tastes so good! And though I am swimming, it is not nearly long or difficult enough to create the same effect (I am sure Michael Phelps would have something to say on the matter, but for the workouts I am doing this is true). So I move through my days with just little pangs of hunger here and there. One of the hardest things has been to reduce my caloric intake – eating as  I normally do is leaving me feeling bloated and gross, yet I am so habituated to eating that amount it is hard to reduce it. This is leaving me with extra pounds and even more grouchiness. Last week I worked on figuring out how much I need to eat as a non-runner, which has been helpful to my belly, but I really miss being hungry.

3. I don’t care about the weather. When I am running, I am addicted to weather.com. In the 10 days leading up to the marathon, I was on 4 weather websites multiple times a day. In normal training, I can tell you the next few days highs and lows, the chance of precipitation (and whether it will happen early/late or all day) and the speed and direction of the wind. All of these things are crucial to planning runs, especially when you don’t have access to/any interest whatsoever in a treadmill. But now? Now I have no idea. I find out the weather when I walk outside to feed the buns in the morning (don’t worry, they are kings of the castle on a screened-in porch, not fending for themselves in the yard!). Ask me what the weather is today, tomorrow or on Wednesday and I’ll look at you with a confused expression and reply “Why ask me? What am I , the weather lady?”

4. My face breaks out. I literally never have pimples. Never did as a teen, don’t have that 30-something acne people complain about now. But these last few weeks I have had more zits than the last 10 years combined!

So this is the new (and hopefully temporary) Kashi. Not sure how I feel about any of it – I mean, some of these changes are making me more relaxed and less of a rigid robot. On the other hand, there is a gaping hole where running used to be and I just don’t feel like “me”.  Plus, I miss all the beeping. As I am writing this, the song “Carry On” by fun. randomly came up on my playlist. Thanks, indie rock dudes, good reminder. I am guessing they did not write this song with the idea that it would help a runner rest her way back to her identity but it is working just the same. Sample lyrics:

We are who we are
On our darkest day
When we’re miles away
So we’ll come
We will find our way home

If you’re lost and alone
Or you’re sinking like a stone
Carry on
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground
Carry on

What changes have you noticed in yourself when not running?

Run on, Carry On, friends!


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5 responses to “Who Is This Person In The Mirror?

  1. Bel

    VERY interesting! Wondering though, have you made it to a sports Dr. & if so what is the result of that? (i.e. Is there an estimated recoup time?)

    As for your points, here’s mine.

    1. I find the opposite is true for me. There’s something to be said about a body in motion staying in motion. When I run I find I have more energy, I’m not dragging in the middle of the day and don’t feel the need to nap with the kids – instead I run. As far as sleep at night…I’m lucky if I get a solid 4-6 hours every night on a GOOD night, so 8-9 seems like a pipe dream! But when I’m running, I feel better rested in the morning regardless of the houses I log on the pillow.

    2. I do find an increased appetite when I run, however it’s more like “I need to eat breakfast” vs “Eeh, I can skip it today”. Though I am not logging anywhere near as many miles as you are, so I doubt I will feel the same effect as you! I’ve never really gotten into calorie counting and all of that – I just kind of eat when I’m hungry and then lay off if I feel I’m gaining too much. When I first started all of this I did seem to want to eat everything in sight but that has since diminished and I’m back to “normal” for me. However, when wifey travels it’s hard to get in the running I want to if at all, and lately she’s been gone A LOT!! So I’m feeling quite gelatinous as of late, but there is no difference in poundage yet. But definitely time to reel in the Christmas cookie eating! And that’s what I miss – the extra food I can eat while running!

    3. Not much to say about that. I’m the person who usually says, “If I want to know the weather I’ll open a window”. LOL.

    4. OK, again, I find the opposite – When I started running my face broke out something awful! And I find it comes & goes now too but I haven’t really nailed down if it’s related to running, or a lack thereof. Though now that I think about it, it can just be timing & hormone related. I did have a small amount of adult acne but it all cleared up when I got pregnant with my daughter. When she was about a year old my face blew up for a little bit and then cleared up (though I got pregnant again). When I started running, my son was about a year old so it may have been related to that, I don’t know. And now he’s 18 months & I was already pregnant again the first time around, so I don’t know if this is just how my skin is now (God, I hope not!) or if it’s running/not running or what. But now that you’re mentioning it I’m going to pay more attention and see if there’s any rhyme or reason to it…hmmm…

    OK, so now this comment is ridiculous and more like a personal message than a blog comment! Hang in there!! I can’t wait to read that you’re running again!

  2. As always, my response is more related to non-running exercise endevours but I feel like I need to contribute anyway:)

    1.I am a person that needs a lot of sleep in general. If I am more stressed I need more, less stressed/happier I need less. When I am working out consistently I find that I do need a little less sleep but the main difference for me is the quality of my sleep. I fall asleep more easily, sleep better, I am more refreshed when I wake up. I do have more energy when I am in a exercise groove I am more productive and actually do more, so I am sure that I am a more tired, too.

    2. I don’t really see any change in my appetite but I do tend to eat a little healthier.

    3. With the exception of extreme circumstances I don’t really care about the weather…..

    4. I am one of those very lucky women who has had breakouts at every phase of her life. At times its been really bad and I have gone on medication. (I don’t think anyone should have to suffer from sever acne, there are so many medications out there and doctors that can treat most kinds really easily) Currently I have a low grade break out almost all the time:( It sucks. Running, no running, pimples suck.

    Here is my 2 cents on the pimple front, just some thoughts that might help. Breakouts can be caused from any change in hormones, if most of your pimples are around your jaw this may be the case. I find a gently cleanser with salicylic acid works the best to keep my face clear. Its pricey but I have been using Dermologica and I really like it, well worth the $30 I spent on it six months ago. (Sometimes you really do get what you pay for) I wash my face only once a day, at night. In the morning I just splash it with cold water. You don’t want to dry it out.

    I am also a big fan of Stridex Pads. (I know, I know, I am like a high school sophomore..lol) I can use them only on the places where I break out, so the rest of my skin gets a break from chemicals. Speaking of which…could it be the pool? It sounds silly but you only started swimming recently and the pool water might be drying out your skin. It sounds counter intuitive by that can irritate it and cause pimples. Perhaps an organic moisturizer after your swim or at night?

    Not really sure why I felt I needed to share all that…..I guess its just what your blog does to me:)

    You are a runner, you will always be a runner. Right now you are being a really smart runner and giving your body the time it needs to heal so you can continue to be a runner. I love you.

    • Whoa, good sleuthing! Maybe it is the pool! I had not been in one in over a year so maybe my face freaked out. The breakout has settled down, and maybe that is due to the fact that i started wearing moisturizer more regularly again bc my face was feeling tight and dry. Thx!

  3. Pingback: What I Saw When I Ran Wednesdays | Cape Island Runners

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