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Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Run

Pin It It's inevitable, with the new year approaching, that I start thinking about the potential for maybe possibly re-starting my fitness routine pretty soon. It's more difficult to convince myself to do this than it is to actually get back into the habit. I'm not desperately out of shape, after all, and I'm busy. With...you know...stuff. It's hard for me to come up with really compelling reasons to exercise, to be honest. After all, I play volleyball--competitive, sacrifice-your-body-volleyball--twice a week, and shouldn't that be enough? But then I remember that I do have high cholesterol, and even if I could care less about having the legs and a stomach of an eighteen-year old (okay--so I'm shallow enough to admit that it would be nice), I probably should care about the whole heart and artery thing. That means a solid couple of hours of weights and sweat-inducing walking on the treadmill every day that I don't play volleyball.

When I was younger, I tried to do the whole running thing. I had to psych myself up first with the appropriate gear. Super-duper running shoes, check. Ankle socks (guaranteed to make my calves look very shapely), check. Compression bike shorts (guaranteed to keep my butt from jiggling too much, just in case anyone's looking), check. Uniboob sports bra (purpose evident, I should hope), check. Cute tee shirt (just because), check.

The next step in the psyching up process was the stretching--at least fifteen minutes worth. Quads, hams, calves...arms, fingers, knees and toes. What else could I waste time loosening up? Then I remembered hearing that doing crunches prior to jogging helped the runner extend his distance. Awesome. Three sets of twenty crunches later, I was ready for the torture to begin.

I walked to the end of my driveway and started off with a nice, easy jog to warm up.

It wasn't so bad at first. I settled into a rhythm, my shoes on the pavement and breath blowing out alternating a little song that I could sort of pace myself by. Slapslapbreathebreathe. Slapslapbreathebreathe.

Then my sinuses started to burn, and I figured I better start breathing through my mouth. Of course, I probably looked a little like a fish tossed up on land, but that was okay. That was about the time I hit The Hill, and I figured hopefully that it was probably time to alternate a little walking with my jogging (which was probably about as close to a walk as a jog can get, anyway). How far had I gone, anyway? Three tenths of a mile? Dangit. Maybe I shouldn't walk yet. I needed to run a mile. So I kept jogging. And gasping. It was starting to be more of a slapslapGASPbreatheslapGASP breatheslapWHEEZEslapGASPtry.to.breathe.slapslapWHEEZE...

It was around the top of The Hill--another tenth of a mile--that I developed an agonizing pain in my side. Whattheheckwasthat? Was I dying? Had I pulled something? DID I NEED TO WALK YET? Instead I licked my lips, which felt as if they had swollen to half the size of my face, with my cottony tongue. I should have brought a bottle of water. As if I could have grasped said bottle of water with my fingers, which had taken on the appearance of blood red sausages by this time. Whatwaswrongwiththem? It was as if all the blood in my body had rushed to my hands. And I knew that I was going to die of dehydration before I ever got home. Seriously. I was going to collapse in the middle of the asphalt street, chest heaving in its uniboob sports bra, legs twitching convulsively, and Die. Of what, I wasn't certain. The pain in my side, perhaps, or thirst, or mismanaged blood allocation...I would be dead, and it didn't really matter.

Somehow, though, I didn't die. I am one tough cookie. I managed, with that horrible pain in my side that I thought might have been appendicitis or something equally fatal but in retrospect was probably just a spasming diaphragm to make it around the block and back to my house. I'm pretty sure I was making a keening noise reminiscent of an animal suffering the agonies of the damned, but none of my neighbors came out to investigate. I wobbled inside drunkenly, leg muscles quivering, breath whistling, knees all but buckling beneath me as I staggered to the kitchen sink and began sucking water out of the spigot. I craned my head around to look at the clock on the microwave. My total time was ten minutes and some seconds; I had probably run a grand total of half a mile.

Once hydrated, I made the mistake of glancing in the mirror (I wanted to see, after all, if I'd toned up any or lost any weight). Did I mention this was a mistake? Big mistake. My face was brilliant with suffused blood. Not pink, or glowing--as in, wow, she had a good workout and she looks so healthy. We're talking all the blood in my body was now having a party in my face, with the exception of a thin line of white around my lips, cracked and chapped from where I'd been licking them as I ran. I was not a pretty jogger, apparently, although I will say that everything else was still okay--no unsightly sweat patches of the underarms or butt, no freaky hair. I guess God decided that if He was going to give me the face of a tomato, He might as well be merciful and skip the sweat glands.

All things considered, though, this whole experience left me a little lukewarm on the whole running thing. A brisk walk on the treadmill hill cycle is torture enough for me.


PMC said...

I am dying here....that was the funniest thing I have read in a very long time....whew.....I am still gasping for breath here....Lori! That was just what I needed to start my day...I think I will go on my walk now! (I have to write a post on running now...well, sometime...in the future..I have done the running thing too...did you know that walking is the new running? So if you run and you recycle and wear green and drive a hybrid you will be all set!)

PMC said...

i meant of you WALK and you recycle and wear green and drive a hybrid....walk...walk...WALK i tell you! :)

Richard & Natalie said...

This is something every woman, (and perhaps a male or two) can relate to when they've tried running. My favorite part... 'uniboob'. Classic. Totally loved it.

Sarah said...

Gosh, this makes me feel MUCH better about my running experinces. I'm a walker (or step arobic-er) on a good day!

Cee Tindall said...

TOO funny and TOO true! This confirms I did the right thing by giving running up for lent a few years ago! Best 'sacrifice' I've ever made! ;)

Rachel said...

I don't know whether to be offended or honored that you'd take the time to do a write up about me!

As for the compression shorts. I found that all they did was take that which was jiggling and forced it up further north only to be sandwiched from that which was pushed down south from the uniboob bra causing cars to swerve off the road from the sight of the epileptic oreo convulsing down the side of the road.

Out of the goodness of my heart for the welfare of all mankind and keeping traffic from piling up I have taken to sitting on the couch. It's the least I can do......

Gerb said...

Oh, Lori. I used to be a runner and my body is just not cooperating anymore. I could totally relate to much of what you wrote. I will be attempting to run my first 5K in 19 years this March - only because I have this issue with not accomplishing goals I've set - but to be honest? In my case (and apparently, yours...) running is totally overrated. You stick with volleyball, I'll stick with rollerskates and I think we'll be much happier. ;)

Lori said...

PMC--don't worry: WALKING. GOT IT. I'm all about being green.

R&amp/Nat: That pesky uniboob will get you every time. I'm so glad bra manufacturers started making dual cup sports bras--the twins are much happier these days.

Sarah--I'm just glad to hear, through all these comments, that this was not an isolated incident and I'm not the only tortured non-marathoner out there. And you're better than me with your step-aerobics! Go, girlie!

Cee--Those are the best kind of sacrifices, I'm thinking. Much better than, say, chocolate or caffeine.

Rachel--HA! I see you've been there. That "convulsive epileptic oreo" line was fabulous. Thanks for helping us all make our city streets a safer place. ;)

Gerb--I'm so jealous that you have mad running skills, my friend. Good luck on that 5K--I'll be totally rooting for you as I walk the equivalent. :)

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