Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I've got the blues.

I’ve been remiss about posting, I know. My silence is due to several factors, most of which are excuses, but if you bear with me while I list them, I’ll get quickly into the primary subject of this blog: running. First, there’s the usual: I’ve been working every day and putting in double-days at the gym. Add that to the new trick my cat, Nermal, has come up with to let me know she’s peeved (her way of issuing grievance, I wonder?) My running apparel, travel bags and swimsuits have all become alternative latrines for her. Why she’s doing this now, I have no idea. I mean, how hard can life be when you have someone else feed and brush you, clean up all your shit, feed you skipjack tuna every day and catnip tea at night?

The worst part is finding another "Nermal special": the sinking-mad-dejected-repulsed reaction that starts in my stomach and spreads to my extremities. So, it’s been annoying, to say the very least.

I’m also down because the restaurant gods have definitely put me on their shit list. I mean, it’s hard enough to find healthy veg-fare out there without having every single kitchen do the equivalent to my food that Nermal does to my clothes. It started with Steve’s birthday dinner, a meal he traditionally has with his entire family at a restaurant in Nevada City called Cirino’s. Steve always gets the burger (this year was no exception)-- yes, the 100% beef-covered-in-gorgonzola-burger-- but I was assured many times the place had vegetarian pasta dishes. And though I’m not a fan of eating cheese (hence, the vegan diet), I decided I’d take one for the team and not make a fuss for an event that only comes once a year.

And so, there I was: the only one at a table for eleven ordering the “vegetarian” pasta while the rest all had burgers. Ok, fine so far, right? But when the entrées came out on white plates, well, things just went south. Burger, burger, burger and then, pasta (with no vegetables, oddly) and beneath a thick layer of cheese, bacon. Yes, bacon. Now, I don’t know in what universe one would consider bacon a vegetable, but I certainly don’t. And I thought to myself: “Well, the waitress looks like a decent person and is probably educated. I’ll point this out to her and she’ll admit the kitchen made a mistake and it'll be fine.” So, I called her over, and did exactly that.

Her response? “Oh, you’re a vegetarian? You didn’t know [insert word here that sounded Italian] means bacon?”

Me: “Um... no. But the menu said ‘vegetarian pasta.’”

Her: “Well, it’s not.”

Interior dialogue: ^$#(&^%!!!!

So what the hell am I supposed to do? (I didn’t say this, but perhaps I should have.) I ended up scraping the cheese and bacon to the side of the plate to eat the greasy pasta. Yuck.

Then there was the hummus-avocado sandwich sans hummus I ordered from our local café, the Dam Café (which is owned by the nicest couple ever but I have to say, they hired a not-so-great crew.) This was followed up a few days later at the same place with a bean-and-rice vegan-irto sans the beans and rice. Nice. Syd’s Bagelery (the place I met Patrick Stewart) is usually pretty good, but twice they have also decided to give me a hummus sandwich without the hummus. And then, once without the shredded carrots. (It was the best idea EVER to put carrots on a sandwich. I L-O-V-E whoever came up with that idea dearly.) And my personal favorite, today’s lunch courtesy of the Uncommon Kitchen (a little café tucked into the back corner of our only heath food store): a vegan noodle bowl with no noodles.

I suppose there could be worse things ( I could get both legs ripped off in a freak encounter with a snow-blower) but for some reason, the constant hungry-factor has got me down (there’s not much to a sandwich or a burrito when you leave out the main ingredient.) Perhaps, therefore, this is nothing more than a hunger-driven rant.

But then there’s more: the 10k I ran on Sunday. I was only running it for a workout--a tempo “with others.” But I realized as soon as the fog-horn went off that a race is a race no matter what. I wasn’t going to “slow” down so as to run sensibly. With all those moving bodies, the man next to me elbowing me in the boob and the other guy, smacking my face, well, I ran my first mile in something like 6:14 which is waaaay too fast for a steady pace for me right now. I was fine with this pace for the first mile, and part of the second, but when a woman whom I’d passed around mile 1.5 caught me at mile 2, I sort of realized what an idiot I’d been. By that time, we were running on a freeway overpass for pedestrians (so there was a slight incline, in other words) and that was about enough to make me want to throw in the towel.

I didn’t, however. I think the only thing that got me to the finish line was the mantra “Believe, believe, believe.” That and the fact that Davis is actually a pretty cool place. The race was only on surface streets for a brief period: nearly all of it was on bike paths (there were about a million of them.) Plus, there were actually things GROWING there, like flowers and grass. I guess the snow at Tahoe is kind of getting to me.

And though I’m not overly thrilled with my performance in Davis, I do think I finished strong despite it all. So, that’s something, I suppose. I’ll provide stats soon, as well as photos from the event, courtesy of my wonderful photographer, Steve.

In short, I don’t know what’s got me down. I just feel-- well, to be brutally honest-- “heavy”. Heavy as in “overweight” but also as over-worn. Heavy as in there’s too much going on and none of it seems to matter much. Heavy as in I wanted to run a sub-40 minute 10k, not a 40-minute 20-second one. Heavy as in I know I have to train harder but it snowed again today and it’s supposed to snow again tonight and I have to work this holiday weekend... so how do I manage that? Heavy as in I have this incredible sense of motivation to achieve these goals, but I don’t know anymore if I have that je ne sais quoi (talent? time? I’m not sure what it is) to make 2:47 a reality.

Plus, I really do just feel fat.

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