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
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground
What changes have you noticed in yourself when not running?
Run on, Carry On, friends!