Saturday, September 18, 2010

It's all good.

No Cheese Chase for me today. La Cocotte was up much of the night with frighteningly high fever. We spent much of the night nursing, so much so that I was tempted to volunteer myself at the milking competition that is part of Cheese Festival we are attending. Instead of the race, I went for a tempo run on the Badger State Trail which is an oasis of FLAT, soft ground in a rural sea of staggeringly hilly, asphalt roads. Is anyplace more beautiful than Wisconsin in the early fall? This trails cuts a linear swath through rolling farm land with gorgeous wild flowers and dramatic cloudscapes. Sure maybe some places are more stunning, like the in-your-face gorgeous Sierra Nevadas but Wisconsin has a quiet, modest beauty that moves me.

Anyhoo I took advantage of the tranquility to figure out how this next chapter of my life is going to work:

Running - I have to stop thinking of running as a way to burn off all the excess calories I don't need to be consuming in the first place. Sure I ran high mileage (for me) last year because I was preparing for a marathon but it also supported my terrible habit of eating WAY more than I need to. I was a stay-at-home mom, around amazing Italian food ALL the time and I picked up some horrible habits. Time to eat what I need. Eat when I am hungry and kick the food addiction habit. I am nursing far less. I will be sitting at a desk 8-10 hours a day and running waaayyyy less mileage. My daily calorie requirement is going to fall. I have to be cognizant of that and act accordingly.

I also have to consider my running goals. No marathon on the horizon. I want to run a sub-17:30 5 km and a sub-36:30 10 km in the next year. I don't need to run 100 km per week to accomplish this. I need to stop thinking of a 75 km week as a failure and consider it the new normal. Focussed, quality running is my new mantra. Also, "body as car". I simply don't have the luxury to just up and go for a run anymore. I need to use my body as a car to get to work, daycare, etc. that is how I will get my easy mileage in without sacrificing too much time.

Family life - no more crappy TV. I got into the habit of not watching TV in Italy because it was too much work. I need to maintain that habit and reclaim the pointless hours otherwise spent rotting in front of the TV. I only have 3-4 waking hours a day with la cocotte during the week (god that is so depressing to think about). Every single one of them has to count.

Work - New role. Have to wrap my head around it. The only way forward is with confidence. I don't have confidence so, time to fake it. People with self confidence and an authoritative manner succeed (provided of course they have genuine talent and ability to back it up). In the absence of confidence, I just have to fake it until I make it. Sounds like the slogan on a cheesy poster that hangs over a coffee pot containing foul-smelling, burnt coffee in the office kitchen (you know right next to the poster with the cat hanging from a bar by one paw with "Hang in there" written above). But kitschy though "fake it 'till you make it" may be, there is a great deal of wisdom therein.

So, to sum up: food as fuel, not as entertainment. quality, focussed running. 75 km as the new normal. no hours spent rotting in front of the TV, realize how precious every hour of family time is. fake confidence and the rest will follow.

Seemed much more insightful against the backdrop of the Badger Trail.


  1. That's the attitude! I hope you will keep up with that attitude even after the "runner's high" and endorphins from the run vanish:)
    I need to follow your example concerning food. I eat like a 250-pound male woodchopper.

  2. Of course I need to comment - there really IS no place more beautiful in the early fall than Wisconsin. Not that I've seen, at least. I always thought perhaps Canada. Hmmm. I like imagining you running on the Badger State trail.

    I just have to add that I don't think there is shame in running to burn calories. But the faster one runs, the more calories one burns per minute, so there is a little incentive to train right - but it's only so one can eat even more.

  3. 3-4 hours a day with La Cocotte? But that sounds like heaven to me! I started working again on Sept 1, and since then, it is 30 min in the morning, and 1 1/2 hour in the evening with Malo... and I find it incredibly difficult to accept...
    Good luck with the new life!

  4. Funny, I was going to say something like "glad you like Wisconsin, but isn't Canada similarly beautiful this time of year?". Then I saw that Sea Legs had written the same thing... I like her. Do you know if she is single?

    Your last two posts have taken a turn for the serious, which is interesting for us readers. Not that your blog never had angst in it. But it was always fun naive-Canadienne-in-Italy chaos, a la you trying to hide the overachiever, while standing on a stage receiving a ten-pound first place trophy.

    I can certainly relate to what you are saying and, of course, it's going to get better once you get into a routine. There is a saying in ultra running that goes something like "it never doesn't ever get better", something like that.

  5. Yeah it looks all good, your day is great, keep up the good work anyway.