Loosening Up

There I sat in the ice bath. I sang along loudly to a song I didn’t know very well that was playing on the radio, waving my hands around in time to the music, all in an effort to distract myself from the mildly alarming purply-gray bloom on my fingernails.

Now that’s Saturday morning entertainment!

It occurred to me, as I wiggled my toes to make sure I still could, that one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in 31 years is the importance of not taking myself too seriously. This lesson applies particularly to my running – and, as indicated above (*shudder*), everything I do that’s related to it.

We runners all know the value of loosening up our legs. We loosen up before a run, after a run, after a long plane ride, after sleeping, while we’re sleeping…well, you get the idea. But what about loosening up the rest of ourselves?

My friend Charity invited me to a Pampered Chef party. I accepted her invitation; then immediately, nagging little thoughts started whining through my brain: The party is on a Friday night. I’ll be skipping yoga for the second week in a row. Will I have the energy to go to a party? Will I get enough sleep for my long run on Saturday morning? It will mean eating “treats” two nights in a row, with a Valentine’s Day indulgence on Thursday and then the yummy dessert that Pampered Chef parties always feature…

Then my Guardian Angel of Reason rolled her eyes, stepped in and told me to hush up and get over myself.

I love it when that happens!

I started looking forward to the party. I got a Sweetheart Shake from Sonic on Valentine’s Day after that day’s run, and consumed it so quickly and rapturously that I think my brain was just a frozen solid brick for a good few minutes. I took Friday completely off from exercise – no running, no yoga. It felt lovely and right – maybe because I’m getting into peak training mileage territory now, and my body frankly just needed a rest.

And the party was great. If you’ve never experienced Pampered Chef, I HIGHLY recommend it. I find ogling high-quality kitchen toys almost as intoxicating as stepping into a running shop, and when I get to taste scrumptious food made with said kitchen toys and hang out with a fun group of people to boot? Not a bad way at all to spend a Friday night.

I chowed down on a fajita, fresh salsa, rice, beans, and warm-from-the-oven chocolate-caramel skillet cake. I drank a small but potent margarita – or maybe it just seemed potent because it was the first liquor to cross my lips since somewhere around the start of training? Anyway, everything tasted terrific. To top it off, I finally gave in to a culinary crush I’ve had for years, and bought a mandoline, a.k.a “the ultimate slicer.”

When I got home, I wasn’t quite bedtime-sleepy yet, so I relaxed with a book till 10. That’s right, I actually stayed up to see a double-digit hour. I let myself sleep in till 7 the next morning…

…And proceeded to have my best long run in weeks.


5 thoughts on “Loosening Up

  1. Bravo! I too have to remind myself to “hush up” and just plain get over myself. I beat myself up enough. A little- dare I say – “rest” isn’t going to kill me- its only going to make me stronger. Honor thy body! 🙂

  2. I LOVE Pampered Chef parties!! And I love pampering me, especially when I’m ramping up, like you are. Your body needs a break now and then, especially when you’re working that hard, and because you’re working that hard, a treat or two won’t break the bank, so to speak. In fact, they’re deserved. So good for you for going and having a great time, and a margarita to boot!!

  3. My best runs have actually been on days where I slept in and did not push myself to stay on a schedule. A few of my worst runs have been when I tried to squeeze in a run on a hectic/heavily scheduled day and the run seemed more like a burden than fun.

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