Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Running Towards Sunrise
Well, I did it.
Yesterday, my iPod shuffle came in. I wasn't even here when it arrived, I was down on Military at the coin op, doing the laundry. By the time I got back, Thomas had set up the little dock, loaded whatever needed loading, and everything was set and ready to go.
So I loaded the Couch to 5K podcast for Week 1 onto it. And some other music, while I was at it - I mean, the thing holds 250+ songs on it, I may as well get other uses out of it, right?
I turned it on, stuck the earbuds in my ears just to get an idea of what I'd be listening to. Warning: Initial Volume settings are LOUD.
It's mostly a techno sort of thing, which really isn't my style of music, but it's probably better for the time being than anything I'm more familiar with, because I do like to sing (badly, off key, and with terrible breath control) and I think singing and running are probably not a good mix. At least for a while.
The Plan was: get up in the morning when Thomas's alarm clock goes off. He's one of those massive snooze button slappers and between when his alarm STARTS going off at 6:30 and when he actually leaves for work at 8:15, there's a LOT of time for me to get in whatever workout I need so that someone's here with Darcy. (As a note, I want to apologize here to my sophomore and junior year roommate - and best friend - Carol, for putting her through two years of massive snooze alarm slapping. I have received my karmic comeuppance... in abundance.)
The Plan did not account for my mutant worrybrain, which proceeded to dream about running. And iPods. And Penn and Teller, for some odd reason. Anyway, just before Thomas's alarm went off for the first time (somewhere about 6:15 or so) my brain yelled at me. "OH MY GOD, IT'S 8am!" Which wouldn't possibly be enough time to do the run, and how could I miss my FIRST RUN!? I woke up with a start and squinted at my clock.
I punched my pillow and attempted to go back to sleep for 15 minutes, but my body wasn't having any of that nonsense. I had told it to make sure I got up this morning, and make sure I got up, it did. I should be grateful for this ability, but as it happens, my body tends to be anywhere between 15 and 40 minutes early. So... mildly grumpy.
I got up, brushed and braided my hair, and got dressed in my workout clothes. I threw my hoodie on over the top, slid my iPod through the front pocket and clipped it to the far side (on the theory that if I dropped my iPod, it would at least fall into the pocket and not onto the ground.) and started off.
It was BUTT COLD this morning. The current temperature is 38. There was frost on the cars. I did a five minute warm up walk around the back side of the apartment, then headed over to the path where I intended to do my run.
In a way, it was both easier than I feared and harder than I had hoped. I had pains in strange, unexpected places. I had expected my ankle to hurt. Or my feet. Or my knees. What I hadn't expected at all was that my lower back hurt. Not in the spine, which might have made sense, but in that little area right where my butt ends and my back starts. One of my not particularly couth friends calls that spot the beer-shelf... "you know baby's got back when you've got a place to set your beer..." And my thumbs hurt, but that was probably just the cold. The rest of my hands stayed warm (ish), but the worst of the cold air was streaming right over the thumb.
There was mist rolling off the waterway near the path. (They call it a waterway, but it's really not. This whole area is built on one giant swamp/watershed and any place there's a deep enough hole, there's water. To build highways and such, there are any number of these little glorified mudpuddles, man made, to hold all the water.) The effect, combined with a flock of Canadian geese who were just waking up for their morning scrounge, was oddly bucolic and rather pretty.
The Week One program consists of eight 60-second running intervals, separated by 90 seconds of brisk walking. The guy who narrates the podcast sounds eerily like my guild leader from Warcraft, which sort of amuses me. He says, as we're starting out, "Remember, you should be able to talk while running..." Yeah. Right.
Except that I did. On a couple of occasions, I responded to something that he said. Mostly along the lines of "Oh, Suuuuuuure." and "Ha! Fsck you!" That last one came out as a startled exclamation when we were mostly done with the intervals. We were on interval 6 and he says "You should be able to feel the affects of running now." Me: "Ya think?" "But you shouldn't be exhausted or out of breath." Me: "Fsck you, pal."
I did have some problems with my iPod. Or, more specifically, with the little earbuds. The right ear bud stayed in fine, but the left one fell out a couple times, and I had to run trying to screw it back in (so to speak...) That was awkward.
On the plus side, I saw almost no one while I was out. One of the things I've been mildly paranoid about is that someone will see me. I know that I don't exactly run. I more like lumber ungainfully in a given direction and that I'm still hugely fat and more bits of me bounce and jiggle than I really care to think about. I can't imagine that I look anything other than completely ridiculous. The only person I saw was an eight or nine year old girl headed out the front door on her way to the bus. She waved at me. I waved back. She smiled as big as the world.
The seventh interval was, actually, the hardest for me. As a further matter of fact, I didn't finish it. I counted when I dropped down to the walking pace again and I think I was only about 15 seconds short. I decided rather than trying to run the circuit as I'd originally planned (I didn't want to end up completely out of place at the end of the run and then have to walk back to the apartment - I was slightly worried about getting back so Thomas could leave for work on time... more on that later!) I'd turn around when I got to interval 4. I'll have to extra measure to be sure, but I don't think I ran more than 2 miles, which is about 2/3 of a 5K. Well, we'll work on distance and endurance later.
What this did mean is that while I was jogging BACK, I was running into the sunrise.
You know, cowboy movies often end with that vivid scene of a lone rider on his horse, the sun a blob of volcano-red in the distance, the mountains a beckoning call... symbolic.
I think running into the sunrise was even more so, for me. I couldn't see anything more than the brilliant yellow of the sun, reflected and refracted at me in a hundred thousand directions by the dewey grass, shimmering off the lake to my right, and the pavement under my feet. I ran those last sixty seconds towards the beginning of a new day.
I got home just in time to hear Thomas slap his alarm clock for the last time, roll out of bed, and go off to take his shower.