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Kara Sevda

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Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:33 pm

The year is 2012, and according to some, it might be the last of this planet, so it's time to set a few things straight.
Those of you who have followed my blogs before know that over the summer and into fall I started running and running and running because I loved it. And then I kept running and running and running because I was chasing a number. A perfect number.

Dan Pearce defines Perfection as "an infections mental disease laying siege on us right now." He elaborates on the subject, stating "we live in communities where people feel unconquerable amounts of pressure to always appear perfectly happy, perfectly functional, and perfectly figured."

In the three and a half months since I walked away from training, I've dedicated a lot of time to considering Pearce's arguments and analyzing their applications in my life... Of which there are many.

Without running, I struggled with a way to keep myself looking and feeling perfectly happy. I believe it was Michele who suggested that running can become an addiction, but I was never about to admit that I needed something to keep me happy... But after trying (and failing) to replace that meditative, centered feeling it gives me with the usual suspects, I think it's about time I accept that, like it or not, I need to run.

Kara sevda.

Literally translated, the phrase means "black passionate love." A more apropos translation is something like "blind love" or "unconquerable love." The first time I heard the phrase was in one of my undergrad writing courses, and it was described as a sort of blessing-and-a-curse concept. It's that thing you can't pull yourself from, no matter how hard you try.



This is where I would normally try to employ some writer-esque finesses and tie these loose threads together with a pretty bow. But I'm no longer sure that pretty bows exist, and if they do, that they're worth having around. After all, Pearce's cure for Perfection is a simple two words: "Be real."

So, to set those things straight, to be real:
I'm not the runner I was before I blew up; I'm really starting over.
I'm not going to run the sub-3 Boston premiere I wanted to; instead, I'm going to try and pace my good friend her sub-3:30.
I'm never going to be completely satisfied with achieving my "goals;" my happiness is derived from the act of running itself.

When I started running, I needed to prove to myself that I was worthy of... something. I think this entire mentality is misguided. Worth is inherent (and a complete construct, but that's a different story); there is no need to prove anything. Proving is what made me blow up.

And God knows I came to a point where I never again wanted to run another step.




Like that was ever going to happen. What a Face

(EDIT: link to Pearce's blog on Perfection; worth a read, in my opinion http://www.danoah.com/2010/09/disease-called-perfection.html)
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mark B on Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:34 pm

Dan Pearce sounds like a pretty insightful guy.

Then again, so do you.

Good luck as you embrace the intertwining, ever-evolving mysteries of your passions. Hope you don't mind a few voyeurs while you do it. Wink
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  John Kilpatrick on Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:49 pm

Of course I say this tongue in cheek, but how about this:

Forget all of the mumbo jumbo bullshit, set some goals, set out some sort of training regimen, and have fun!

Sorry, I'm simple-minded and just couldn't help it tongue . I think your plan is great and more importantly you enjoy what you do. You have a lot of good years ahead of you and are a talented athlete... I'm not sure you are really starting over - you are older and wiser now!

Happy new year and have fun!

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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Kenny B. on Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:03 pm

I love the brutal honesty and awareness you have. Let me quote Tolle "To recognize one's own insanity, is of course the arising of sanity."

I do believe anything is an addiction that takes you out of the present moment. This can in many times and will make your life unmanageable. Many of us are functional addicts(running). This is not to be mistaken for non-addicts. But once we are aware of this we can make changes to be "present" runners.

I look forward to following your blog and seeing you progress helping your friend pace sub 3:30. What a nice goal in many ways!
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Julie on Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:09 pm

Look forward to reading your blog. I think it's pretty easy to get addicted to pretty much anything, especially for certain personalities (mine included, which is why I have a few things on my "never try" list because I've worried about getting addicted to them). But it's extra tricky for running, maybe, because it does give back so much and help the rest of life to be healthier or better or whatever else.

I hope you have a great time at Boston and can enjoy a return to running injury free and keep things in balance.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  JohnP on Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:50 pm

Mike. that was a great entry, really insightful. I think you will do really well now, knowing all this about yourself. Don't be surprised when the competitive juices start flowing freely, just temper them this time.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:26 pm

@Mark B wrote:Good luck as you embrace the intertwining, ever-evolving mysteries of your passions. Hope you don't mind a few voyeurs while you do it. Wink

Thanks, Mark. While I've been looking into doing a HIM this year, I'm thinking that your no-race plan might actually be the best thing for me. I'll probably end up doing a "solo race" HIM during the summer, but I see no reason (yet) to pay upwards of $200 for something to stress myself out over. Besides, my one previous "triathlon" was an impromptu Olympic distance solo race, and it was actually a lot of fun to just think of it as a strenuous brick workout.

@John Kilpatrick wrote:Of course I say this tongue in cheek, but how about this:
Forget all of the mumbo jumbo bullshit, set some goals, set out some sort of training regimen, and have fun!

That's the practical application of all this, John. It's just a very, very verbose way of saying it. Wink

@Kenny B. wrote:
I do believe anything is an addiction that takes you out of the present moment. This can in many times and will make your life unmanageable. Many of us are functional addicts(running). This is not to be mistaken for non-addicts. But once we are aware of this we can make changes to be "present" runners.

That's a pretty apropos definition, Kenny. I'll remember that.

@Julie wrote:Look forward to reading your blog. I think it's pretty easy to get addicted to pretty much anything, especially for certain personalities (mine included, which is why I have a few things on my "never try" list because I've worried about getting addicted to them). But it's extra tricky for running, maybe, because it does give back so much and help the rest of life to be healthier or better or whatever else.

Couldn't relate to this more. Glad to hear I'm not the only one.

@JohnP wrote:Mike. that was a great entry, really insightful. I think you will do really well now, knowing all this about yourself. Don't be surprised when the competitive juices start flowing freely, just temper them this time.

John, that's the plan - never fully satisfying the hunger. I've been reminding myself during every single workout to leave a lot left in the tank and keep that hunger as ravenous as ever.

---

Thanks all for the support. I've got a good feeling about what I'll be able to accomplish - and enjoy! - with a more reflective and accepting attitude.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:42 pm

So in the spirit of enjoying things, Aileen and I hiked up Saddleback Mountain yesterday.

The day began with a sizable hangover for me - game night at my neighbor's house the night before - that quickly disappeared at the onset of the hike. Gotta love exercise for its ability to do that.
This is the 5th time I've climbed this mountain, excluding the time I ran halfway up it (the easy half), in about as many years.
Overall, the hike is around 15 miles with some 4000 feet of elevation gain/loss (net). As we were nearing the summit, I realized that I used to run those numbers three times a week. "That sounds really, really stupid," Aileen told me. "Why would you do that?"
A very, very valid question. At one point early on, my answer would've been that I simply loved the freedom and the challenge. At this point, I still can't imagine doing that again. Not anytime soon, anyway.

We made the summit in about 3 hours, ate a small lunch, and headed back down - but not before I had to quell Aileen's hopes of napping for a few hours up there, and not before I made it very clear how excited I was to be able to see downtown LA (through 47 miles of southern California smog) for the first time... Aileen was not so thrilled about this.

Came home and cooked some awesome tacos - black bean and tilapia - and washed them down with a few Coronas. Then napped away the evening and slept like a rock.
If you're thinking at this point, "wow, that must've been nice," it was. A truly nice reminder of how I felt most of the summer, just exploring and enjoying life.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Kenny B. on Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:47 pm

I must say I am bit jealous of your journey you posted about but at the same time not sure I can do the beer drinking thing as much as it sounds, well quite liberating. Something about reading your post reminded me of what I miss or really never had which is that freedom to adventure. Granted it is there if I want it, but you know what they say. The more you want something the more "wanting" of that something you get.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Dave-O on Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:08 pm

Insightful new blog, Mike. And a nice reminder that we follow each other's journeys not only for the running and the data.

In the years I've written about my training, and read others' takes their own, its interesting to see the different ways in which people find motivation. For me, it is the quest of the perfect number, to break through the next barrier. On the surface, the difference between running 1:10:01 or 1:09:59 is a mere 2 seconds over 13.11 miles; but to me that means everything. Same with 2:29:59. Honestly, I have no clue what I would do next if I ever manage to hit those numbers. But its the quest that gets me to put in 15 miles in the cold and dark after a full workday.

There's nothing wrong with finding motivation and happiness in different. I guess I don't have a point here (or a pretty bow to wrap my post together) other than being reminded this sport means different things to all of us. Carry on.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:57 am

@Kenny B. wrote:The more you want something the more "wanting" of that something you get.

A little want can break the monotony of routine though, no? Just a fine line, is all...

@Dave-O wrote:Honestly, I have no clue what I would do next if I ever manage to hit those numbers. But its the quest that gets me to put in 15 miles in the cold and dark after a full workday.

There's nothing wrong with finding motivation and happiness in different. I guess I don't have a point here (or a pretty bow to wrap my post together) other than being reminded this sport means different things to all of us. Carry on.

Dave, I can't say that this recent run-for-the-sake-of mentality will have any permanence; if I've learned anything, it's that I tend to change my motivators every 10-16 weeks. Which probably means that once I'm healed up enough for a serious training cycle after (before?!) Boston, I'll be going for that magic number: 2:59:59.

---

EDIT: Whoops, forgot to update, as was the original plan. Maybe I forgot because nothing too interesting has happened lately. Took a semi-rest day after the mountain excursion - I was all dressed for the gym and pool before I looked over at Aileen, completely comfortable crocheting in her pajamas (how's that for alliteration?), and said "fuck it." We later walked a couple miles with my brother's dog just to clean out the legs a little.

Yesterday was a morning strength session with 20 very easy minutes on the elliptical and an afternoon 1:10 ride, easy effort level there, too.

Planning an hour to 1:15 on the bike today with a few ramp-ups (the cycling equivalent of 8 second hill sprints) to start introducing some variety into the training regimen. Will be my first real effort in 2 weeks or so.

Lastly, in part of a new installment we're calling "Mike's So Bad at Being Vegan, It Hurts," I ate calamares en su tinta for the first time last night. For those of you who have no idea what I just said, it's squid stewed in their own ink. A primo dish in Spain, and still top-quality when cooked by a Basque. Despite its authenticity, however, I think I might have to side with Aileen on this one and say I think I'd prefer deep-fried calamari. What a Face
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  John Kilpatrick on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:22 am

@Mike MacLellan wrote:it's squid stewed in their own ink

That sounds completely awful. Why would anyone want to do that anyway?

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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mark B on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:26 pm

I enjoyed the video you posted on Facebook of your and Aileen on top of Saddleback, too. It's pretty clear that your girlfriend thinks you're nuts. Very Happy
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:11 pm

John - it wasn't too bad. A sofrito of tomato, onion, parsley, and garlic that turns jet black once the ink is added. Actually, it tasted like fish, and the squid was pretty tough. Shrug. Chalk it up as a life experience.

Mark - yet she still puts up with me and, pretend or not, acts interested in my endeavors.

---

1:05 on the bike this morning with 5x20sec ramp-ups (10sec building speed seated + 10sec all-out standing sprint) w/ 90sec recoveries towards the end. Glad my knee held up without the slightest bit of complaint.

I've been noticing lately that my heart rate at various effort levels has dropped to something closer to when I was "fit," and my speed at those effort levels has also increased. A good sign.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Julie on Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:55 pm

Very good sign! Glad your knee is cooperating with the biking. I hope you're able to run pain-free soon.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:33 pm

Squid with its own ink does take some getting used to..... Rolling Eyes
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:00 pm

Julie - Thanks! Good news! (see below)

Michele - To be honest, and I'm crossing my fingers that the cook never reads this, I think the squid was overcooked. It was very tough to the teeth. Either that, or squid just has a weird texture.

---

So, good news! I decided to try and set out some sort of get-back-to-running training regimen last night - just enough to get me ready to run Boston as prepared as possible given my recent injuries. That plan included beginning to run next week, with three very short runs (coupled with some cross-training on the elliptical to warm up). This morning, I realized that might be a bit silly, to go from 0 to 3 all at once...

So I split my planned 30min elliptical to 20min + 10min treadmill. Kept the pace slow (9min/mi) and... no knee pain! But man, running is really, really weird after the elliptical.

After some chest and triceps and a good stretch, I jogged home (~.4mi) for a total of 1.5mi running today. And no knee pain. A good start, and I'll be wise to not get too excited about that and blow my discipline. Baby steps.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Kenny B. on Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:34 pm

Nice to hear there is no knee pen.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Julie on Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:43 pm

Glad to hear about the run! Keep taking it slowly, sounds like you're doing a good job of it, though.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:22 pm

Squid has a real weird texture - no matter how it is cooked, and I like it.

As for the run, good news.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:07 pm

Wind is stupid. 20mph wind with 35mph gusts during a bike ride is even stupider. In a have-to-laugh-at-it way.

Went out for a planned 2hr ride with my brother this morning. Nevermind the fact that every tree in sight is being bent in half.

The bad: 5 miles with a straight-on headwind, averaging 10mph on a 2% gradient. Layman's terms, that's ridiculous, mind-numbing, and demoralizing.
The good: two sections of 3 miles with a straight-on tailwind, one of which we were spinning at 35mph.

Oh well, two mentally grueling hours in the books, and still zero knee pain to boot.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Kenny B. on Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:15 pm

That's a wild ride into those winds! Glad no pain again!
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  John Kilpatrick on Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:35 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:Wind is stupid. 20mph wind with 35mph gusts during a bike ride is even stupider. In a have-to-laugh-at-it way.

Went out for a planned 2hr ride with my brother this morning. Nevermind the fact that every tree in sight is being bent in half.

The bad: 5 miles with a straight-on headwind, averaging 10mph on a 2% gradient. Layman's terms, that's ridiculous, mind-numbing, and demoralizing.
The good: two sections of 3 miles with a straight-on tailwind, one of which we were spinning at 35mph.

Oh well, two mentally grueling hours in the books, and still zero knee pain to boot.

Rough ride, Mike. That is brutal. Good to hear about no pain. 10 mph for 5 miles is just nasty....

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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:52 pm

No pain. Yeah! Continue to be smart!
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:33 pm

Thanks, all.

Kenny - I admittedly "pulled a Baldo" during that windy section of the ride and forced myself to remain very mindful of my situation instead of trying to "overcome" it. It made for an extremely pleasant five miles, despite the conditions.

---

Made a long-time-coming purchase this morning after finally coming across a fluid trainer on Craigslist for <$100. Only 80, in fact, for a minimally used Travel Trac, complete with riser block.

Then I put it to use. Just an hour while watching some TV, but I can tell it's going to take some getting used to. Definitely felt like a stronger muscular effort than riding on the roads, so I'll have to take that into account and be careful not to use the bike computer to gauge my effort.

10min elliptical + 20min run + gym tomorrow.
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