One of the things I've discovered about running over the past years is that few things give you that all over exhausted feel. On some runs, it's a good thing. I've come back from many a long run just feeling that my body is completely empty of everything, not in a run down sort of way, but more of a satisfied I emptied the tank sort of way. Of course the flip side of that is the run down sort of way where I just want to curl up into the fetal position after I step through the door and go to sleep.
Then, there's what I've come to call the detox run. After the past week of what I can only call debaucherie of my body, I knew tonight's run loomed. It could have just been a simple 7-miler, but instead, it turned into penance for straying from last week's diet. Of the three or so 7-mile routes I have, they vary in difficulty, namely in hill profile. One I save only for this magical time of year where I walk out the front door for work...and it's dark. Then I return home, passing through the same front door...and it's still dark! Now is the time of resigning ones self to running in the daylight only on the weekends for long runs. So, I set out, in the dark, in my neighborhood, which is essentially a series of long uphills followed by long downhills.
I chose this route for a couple reasons. First off, I can't run the trails any more because quite frankly I'm scared of both spraining an ankle and getting jumped. Don't get me wrong, we live in a great neighborhood...but still. Second off, I've been feeling in good shape lately and remember back to this time last year when I struggled mightily with this route so tonight would become somewhat of a measuring stick. And third, I wanted to punish myself. I went in search of that empty feeling where I sweat out all the booze, butter, and beef from this past week. It may be brutal, there may be stitches in my side and labored breathing up the hills, but I know when I'm done that I'll feel that all has returned to normal.
I set out, sticking to an easy pace and found myself flowing up and down the hills. The heaviness in my legs and the utterly sluggish, bloated feeling I had all week had disappeared. I braced for the impending break down, the cement shoe feeling in my legs, and the chalky feeling of dehydration in my mouth...but it never came. I glided to the end of the route, placed my hands on my head, and began the slow cool down walk to my house pretty satisfied with the effort and ready for the week ahead...detoxed and back on the bus.
Of special note, my wife made cupcakes yesterday with homemade buttercream frosting. She also made mashed potatoes. Excited about the prospect of eating leftovers tonight and whipping up some kale to go along with it, I popped the chicken and "mashed potatoes" into the microwave to heat up. I peeked in after about a minute and noticed the pool of white fluffiness in the middle of the plate, slowly seeping around the chicken. "Huh, that's weird. Mashed potatoes shouldn't do that," I thought. So I pulled it out of the microwave and combed my fork through it. It strained through the fork tines and as I looked closer, it dawned on me: there are no more mashed potatoes...I had a side of icing for a dipping sauce. I scooped out the chicken, sucked the frosting off of it (I loathe myself), and went about eating my dinner. Dee-lish.