Saturday, July 23, 2011

Big news!

So I have GREAT NEWS which is also kind of sad news.  I got a job!!! And it's a good job, and it fell into my lap without me even looking for it, and they made me an offer extremely quickly--basically I found out about it and had an offer all within a week.  All in all, I feel very fortunate.  I just had an all-day interview on Tuesday and they made me an offer right away, and I start August 15.

But I have to move to southwestern Michigan.  Yes... I have to leave Columbus.  I'll still have significant ties to Columbus (academically and socially) so I will still be around here, visiting, a lot.  It's about 5.5 hours away or so I think.  When I'm in town on Saturdays, I'll still make an appearance at group runs.  And I'm still doing the Columbus marathon (it's possible I'll have to scale back to the half depending on how moving and starting a new job goes).  I really want to still have my "Columbus vegan runner" identity so I'm going to do what I can to preserve that for as long as possible.

Where I'm going it's going to be hard to find other runners, and there aren't really any nice long dedicated running trails.  I'm going to have to run on roads without sidewalks--country roads, curvy woodsy roads, where pickup trucks barrel along with no regard for pedestrians because they don't expect to see them.  And I'm afraid it's going to be hard to find running buddies. So far, I've found the following running clubs:

  • Goshen, IN:  Two Rivers Running Club --I have some ties to Goshen and it's about an hour from where I'll be living, but I might be staying there overnight sometimes.  So it's not out of the question that I could run with these folks once a week or something, maybe.
  • Michiana Runners:  Northern Indiana/Southwest Michigan --this is most likely the biggest group in the area, but it's also the most intimidating.  I bet these people take themselves seriously and are fast runners and serious runners rather than slow people like me.  There's a Tuesday run at 530 from downtown South Bend, IN (about 45 minutes from my work), a Thursday run from Mishawaka (also about 45 minutes from me), a run from Notre Dame campus a couple times a week (no real details there--also about 45 minutes from me), and informal group runs on Saturday/Sunday.  Again, about 45 minutes away from me.  I might just have to plan that one day a week I'll drive 45 minutes for a group run so I can actually have friends and meet people.
  • PMC running club:  Berrien Springs (only about 25 minutes from my work).  Close by, but they cancelled group runs until September... seems from that that they aren't a very reliable option.
  • Monday Night Running Club:  This is my first option since it's very close to my work.  We'll see how it goes.
  • Kalamazoo Area Runners:  This is probably my last option.  Kalamazoo is about 50 minutes from work, I think.  But I think this is probably a really big club.
Taking up trail running is also on the table, maybe.  I'm not sure what kinds of trails exist but I bet there are at least some.

As far as eating vegan goes, this is going to be a real test of my creativity.  There's not even a Kroger within 45 minutes of where I might end up living.  The closest Whole Foods and Trader Joe's is Chicago (about 2.5 hours).  I'm probably going to have to drive to Indiana weekly with a cooler to "import" organic produce and anything "unusual" I want like almond/soy milk, tofu, tempeh, etc.  The grocery store in my town is called Harding's and it's basically a middle-America meat-and-dairy-based market.  It was extremely disappointing.  And restaurants are for the most part completely out of the question.  Heck, the nearest Starbucks is apparently 20 miles away.  Really, though, it was eye-opening... I mean, no wonder middle America doesn't even consider veganism an option.  It's like the stores there MAKE it not an option.  You can't expect people to learn new or healthier ways of eating if there aren't CHOICES available and even the produce looks like wilted garbage. Agh.  It disappoints me on so many levels.  So, keep following for news of what I find around there and how I make this work (obviously, I plan to make it work, even if it's a pain in the ass to do so.)

That's another reason I'll be visiting Columbus.  Not only will I miss my old friends and my old haunts, but my old ability to eat wherever I want at restaurants whenever I feel like it, and going out to the store to pick up groceries easily and simply within just a little mile drive, or half mile walk to the co-op.

Buying a Prius is also something I'm thinking about, since I'm going to probably have to drive around so much in order to keep from going insane from isolation and crappy food options.  I'd feel slightly less guilty if I wasn't burning through gas money while simultaneously killing the environment.

So it's a time of transition in these parts.  I am hoping my blog can retain its old identity but also reflect the new one; maybe it can also have a page and some resources about how to be vegan when you live in the middle of nowhere rural woodsy American whatever.  (On the drive between Goshen Indiana and my new town in Michigan, I also went past a Tyson slaughterhouse.  At that point I really had some serious doubts in mind about what I've gotten myself into location-wise. It was very, very shocking.)  

The job though is basically my dream job.  I'm really really happy and I feel very fortunate, even if it's going to take a little adjusting.  I went from being all "omg what is going to happen to me, my life is a bunch of unknowns and I have no money" to "wow i have pretty much the best opportunity ever."  And a special shout out to Physically Philosophical:  If things can fall into place for me this quickly/easily/unexpectedly, I'm sure some relief from the anxiety is headed your way too!  Remember, we have oddly parallel lives ;)  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Right on cue... one remaining black toenail from doing the Cleveland marathon with wet feet just fell off.
Fresh start?!? Yay!

Kickin' off a new training plan...

I'm just going to get this complaining out of my system, because then it's time for me to man up:

  • Cleveland marathon made running NOT fun any more.  I've been incredibly lazy the last month and a half with no desire to run at all, really.  The heat isn't helping.  But I'm going to be really pissed at myself if I give up over just one bad race experience.
  • It's hot.
  • I'm constantly under pressure to meet writing deadlines now, and it's making me really stressed.  And also the kind of depressed that leads to me sitting around on the couch sulking more than I'd like.
  • I need a job and I'm stressed about money, which sucks.  I'll be ok for awhile, but not too long of a while.
  • I have to move out of my apartment in about a month and a few days.  I have so much crap around that I need to pack.
So the last 3 of those bullets are things that could be at least somewhat helped and eased if I was on a regular running schedule again.  It's a time-proven reality that running helps me manage stress.  And I haven't been to a group run in a million years... even though I miss everyone and want to go I've been feeling like I'm too out of shape to keep up and I just haven't made it happen.  For awhile the structure of having a couple weekly group runs was kind of helping, too.

So I'm designing a training program and going to do the Columbus Marathon again in October.  There's not as many weeks left to train as I'd like, but I'm hoping I can just reset my mind and refocus and get my training off the ground quickly.  I haven't COMPLETELY stopped running, but I've been doing like... little 3-milers wearing Vibram fivefingers.  I guess it's slightly better than if I had just totally stopped, but we'll see.  I know a ton of people running this race--some coming in from out of town and doing it as their first race or marathon--and I want to be a part of that.  Not to mention all of the people I know in Columbus who are going to run it.  So, it should be a good time.

I'm going back to a Hal Higdon plan with a few minor modifications and replacing 1 run per week with a Daniels-style speed workout.  I'll be working out the details in the next couple weeks.

To end a post that starts with complaining on a more positive note, here are some things that are awesome:
  • I've been cooking a lot again!  Not having money is making me have to be more resourceful and I have to eat at home a lot more...but I've been cooking some good stuff.  More recipe posts will surely be happening ;)
  • The Tour de France is on! YAY!  i love watching pro cycling so, so much.  It's making every day more fun.