Running Like Hell (228th new thing).

December 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

I had been simultaneously dreading and looking forward to Day Two Hundred Twenty-Eight, the day I would run my first 5K. Actually, I had probably leaned a little more toward dread in the weeks leading up to it. I hadn’t been whole-heartedly embracing my Couch to 5K plan and by the the time the Run Like Hell Halloween-themed race came around, I was only at about week five (out of eight). Maybe even day one, week five, which is basically week four.

So race day loomed and I was barely running for more than five minutes at a time. Regardless, Patrick was super supportive and my friend Kallen was running as well, so we could be a trio of champions. I had originally (like six weeks earlier when I signed up for the 5K) set my time goal at under forty minutes. As each day passed I added a little more to that figure. On the actual day of the race I was just hoping I would finish before my play list ended. I mean, I could probably speed walk 3.1 miles in an hour, right?

It turns out, running a 5K wasn’t actually as difficult as I imagined. At the beginning the runners bottlenecked through the starting line so I did a strange jog/walk/stop for the first couple minutes until I could really let loose. My play list reverted to shuffle as soon as I moved my arms at all, so all my careful song planning went out the window. I ran at least the first mile nonstop, until I hit a hill and practically tripped over a woman bending over to tie her shoe in the middle of the race. The rest was a run/walk combo for me. I ran when an older woman in a poofy tutu came close to passing me (no way was I letting her beat me) and walked when I knew my face was redder than a beet (which was pretty much constantly).

The race ended in the cemetery, after jogging around what felt like dozens of different curves. I would speed up, thinking I was almost done only to round a corner and be confronted by yet another path lined by gravestones. That was kind of cruel of the race planners, I thought.

After what seemed like forever I caught sight of the finish line and struggled to plow through. I imagined myself tripping over a paving stone right at the end and failing to finish. That would be beyond embarrassing. More embarrassing than how red my race turned after so much exercise.

My official time was 39:12, but since we didn’t really get to the starting line until 2:00 minutes after the clock began, I completely believe that my real time is around 37:00. Which is pretty damn good for my first race. Kallen and I wrote down our “clock times” (as opposed to “real times”) and ended up in 423rd and 424th place. At least we weren’t last. Patrick, however, earned a respectable 121st place in the race. I think. You see, his handwriting is so terrible that when I looked up the results, based on his finish time and name and age, I could only assume the officials misread his surname. Or he’s living a lie. What do you think, Mr. Hu??


Perimeter of Grant Park (186th new thing).

October 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Patrick is my biggest cheerleader when it comes to jogging. Sometimes to the point of annoyance, but always with positive effects. As in, I feel good after I do it, no matter how much I drag my feet in the lead up to the thirty minute workout. Plus I hadn’t run my 5K Training program in several weeks and was worried about not being able to handle it. Honestly I just hadn’t had the time as I was working freelance twelve hour days and the sky had begun to darken earlier. Excuses, excuses, I know. I finally broke the habit with Mr. Hill’s encouragement on Day One Hundred Eighty-Six and took my training to Grant Park for the first time.

The plan was for Patrick to walk Murphy while I jogged the perimeter of the park, which is actually less than a couple miles according to his running iPhone app. Part of me thought it would be easy enough since I was training for an eventual 3.1 mile run. The other pessimistic part dwelled on the hilly pavement and exposure to cars and people laughing at my running style. I’m sure I look like a goon.

But with the extra encouragement I set off jogging away from the man and dog. And it wasn’t too bad. Fortunately I was on a day with short jogging bursts, so while my legs kind of burned and I felt short of breath, I knew that the more restful walking portion was just around the corner. And just like Patrick says, I felt really good afterward.

Attack of the Canadian Geese (164th new thing).

September 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

I had been slacking on my Couch to 5k program. Working twelve hour days really doesn’t leave enough time to go for a jog. So on Day One Hundred Sixty-Four I brought along a bag of gym clothes and decided I would rejoin the program by running at Shorty Howell Park in Duluth, just a few minutes from work.

I had only to this point run around the neighborhood, and the kick-off workout on the beach. The former is quite hilly, but I know the terrain well enough to remember when to conserve energy for the steep slopes. The latter was pretty much flat and easy. I didn’t know what to expect from this brand new park running experience.

I began the five minute warm-up walk down the hill by a picturesque pond, side stepping around huge piles of bird excrement. The body of water is home to dozens of Canadian geese and ducks who had crapped everywhere. It was merely a nuiscence until I came across a family of people feeding the overgrown birds. On my path.

I’m not a great fan of geese. In high school we lived in a neighborhood with one of those “lakes” built into the neighborhood. In that pond lived an evil Canadian goose. My mom christened him “Sid Vicious,” not because of his rock n roll tendancies, but more because he would swoop down and attack unsuspecting children. My brother was once nailed in the hip in a fly-by and the bird dive bombed me once or twice while I was rowing on the water. Eventually animal control saved the young neighborhood kids by capturing it and taking it somewhere else (heaven perhaps?), but the fear caused by the sight of a giant bird heading straight towards you has stayed with me. Watching Hitchock’s The Birds as a kid didn’t help either.

So I was trying to weave around the flock of geese and simultaneously avoid their droppings when a few of the winged beasts come at me. I mean, they probably were just seeing if I had bread, but you never know, so I yelped and steered as far away from them as possible while the family feeding them laughed. It was embarrassing, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I jogged on peacefully, but never returned to that side of the park.

I wasn’t taking any chances. And while the run was nice enough, I will probably avoid that park from now on, at least the area by the pond.

Jog with a Dog (157th new thing).

September 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

The final day of the first week of my couch to 5K training had arrived. At Patrick’s insistence encouragement I had completed my second training a couple days earlier. The third installment of walking/jogging came much easier. Partly because I knew what to expect, but mostly because I was going to incorporate it into my new activity: on Day One Hundred Fifty-Seven I would take Murphy along with me.

To be clear, before jogging on the beach on Day 151 I hadn’t attempted any form of running since I joined Patrick for exercise way back when on Day 6. So going three times in one week was a pretty big deal, a great accomplishment in terms of self-motivation. I even prepared by downloading a couch to 5K iPhone app that let you know when to jog and when to walk. No more timer. Or so I thought. Unfortunately after the five minute warm-up walk I somehow reset the workout. After jogging for what I thought was well over a minute I looked at the screen to find myself still supposedly on the warm-up.

Back to the timer method.

But the important part: how did Murphy do? Patrick had always been reluctant to take the pup along for his runs in case Murphy needed to poo or chase after a dog or even just lay down, tuckered out. But since I was doing the walk/run combo, I figured he would be ok. Plus he always behaves better for me. 🙂 And he was excellent. He heeled for the most part and kept up nicely. Sure he tugged to say hello to a few of his fellow canine companions along the way, but for the most part he stuck by my side. Thirty minutes after beginning we arrived back home, Murph very eager to get inside where he promptly spread out over the AC vent. I envied him and opted for the couch instead. While he may not be the best companion every time I go jogging, it was certainly nice having him along.


Tuckered Out


Sand Beneath my Sneakers (151st new thing).

September 14, 2011 § 3 Comments

I totally had a parasailing trip booked for the afternoon of Day One Hundred Fifty-One, and I was excited. I left Patrick (who did not care to join me on my adventure with his fear of heights) and his parents at the beach front condo and headed up the road to Murell’s Inlet. I stepped into the Ford Focus as fat drops of rain began to fall on my head. While the weather seemed calmer once I arrived at the parasailing departure, Captain Sean decided to cancel the trip. I signed up for the next morning and headed back to Litchfield to find a different new experience.

I surfed the internet on my phone while the rain fell hard outside and Patrick questioned whether or not he could go jogging, if the rain would stop. He jokingly suggested I join him, but I knew how well that turned out the last time I tried. However, the website I had been checking out on my handy smart phone was about a 5K jogging program called “Couch to 5K.” It was for people with no jogging experience (check) who needed a program to motivate them (check). Thus, with Patrick’s encouragement I strapped on my running shoes and turned on a podcast and headed for the beach, timer in hand.

It was frankly a lot easier than I thought it would be. I started with a five minute warm-up walk, followed by a minute of jogging and then two minutes of walking, for twenty minutes, followed by a cool down five minute stroll. The minute jogging followed by the two minutes of walking raised my heart rate, but never to the point where I had to stop and catch my breath. It was almost as if the point came where I looked at my timer right as the jogging portion of the interval training ended. It was manageable! Maybe I will actually put in the time to run a 5K this year. At least I got off the couch.

Will jogging also tighten up my seemingly slack chin?

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