Monday, February 11, 2008

Tales of a 5K Nothing

subtitled: I Paid Money* for Pain.

Yesterday morning was the Florida Hospital Lady's Track Shack 5k. After 5 days of grueling preparation, I was ready. Oh wait. That's right. I didn't prepare.

As we arrived at the starting area, we saw signs that designated what kind of mile you run. There were 6, 7, 8, 9, 10+ minute mile signs, and then a sign that said "walkers" (not to be confused with the device that aids one in walking). The three of us looked at each other, as if there was much of a decision to make, and headed to the 10+ minute mile section.

When the race began, I realized that there wouldn't be much running for the first minute, as it is somewhat difficult to run when there are 1000 people right in front of you. Once we cleared the bottleneck, the running began. We ran surprisingly longer than I expected. (in case I haven't made this clear I don't really run much. Or ever.) Hitting the first mile (a combo of running and walking of course) was exciting. There was a little mile marker and a clock that let us know how long it took. As we approached it, we saw that it had not quite been 15 minutes yet, so we suddenly sprinted to be sure we got in under the 15 mark and then cheered wildly at our accomplishment. People around us were amused.

Somewhere into the second mile my sister attempted to point out a squirrel, but the lack of air in her lungs led to a very weak and breathy "squuiiirrelll" which set us off laughing. Which stalled out any running. Laughing and running are two things I can't do at the same time.

Shortly after that, we hit the halfway mark, where there were volunteers providing us with a tiny Dixie cup, half filled with water. The water to Dixie cup ratio resulted in quenching your thirst with liquid that tasted a lot like, well, Dixie cup.

Second mile marker I didn't even see. It may have had something to do with the man standing on the corner we rounded yelling (yes, truly yelling) at us, "Don't walk! No walking!" It was more of a "I will kill you" yell, then a "way to go" one. So, of course, we ran, all the while yelling back that negative reinforcement was our favorite motivators. (and again, there was amusement to be had by the crowd around us). Fortunately, Linds noticed the mile marker and our time - 31 minutes.

The next corner we rounded was manned by a police officer, who yelled "GO NEW YORK!" as we passed. I realized that he was talking to me (I was wearing a Yankees cap), so I felt the need to run again. I didn't want to let my new NY friend down.

The last mile was tough. My heart was not happy with me. My sister kept wondering aloud why her legs were itching so much, and our third friend kept wanting to run more. I was very happy as I realized we were approaching the third mile. And then I remembered that 5k is slightly more than three miles. So we started to run again - we could see the finish and the big clock and were so close. Run run run. As we ran the last .1 mile, I could feel the valves of my heart that actually work properly cursing me, but there was now a crowd of people on the sides cheering us in, and as much as I wanted to give up and just walk it in, I kept running.

47 minutes and some number of seconds I didn't quite care about - I had finished my first 5k. I felt like I was going to pass out, and was wondering if there was a defibrillator close by, but I finished.

Despite the pain during the run (and, oh my, the pain now) I have plans to do another in April, although this time, I will actually prepare.

Can anyone tell me at what point exactly I became this special brand of crazy?

Listening to: The District Sleeps Alone Tonight by the Postal Service
Current Mood: Feeling good! Oh, except for my abs, shins, butt, thighs, etc...

*the money was for a good cause - the proceeds went to the local hospital's breast screening program, which pays for screening and mammograms for women who can't afford it

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


My favorite response to my decision to participate in a 5k this weekend comes from my mother:

"Have you done an ANY K?"

It's so perfect, it deserved its own entry.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Run, Freedom, Run!

Phone conversation with a friend this evening went something like this:

"So you want me to sign you up?"

"Yeah, why not. It's for a good cause, right?"

"Yeah. It starts at 7:30. We can park at my office and walk over."

"Ok. Sounds fun."

And with that, I signed up for a 5k. This Sunday. The long time readers of this blog will recall that I have mentioned in the past that I generally only choose to run if chased. And even then, if I think I have decent odds bludgeoning the pursuer with a tree limb or whatever else is close at hand, I will probably take my chances.

Yet, Sunday, a mere 5 days from now, I will be participating in an event where I am expected to move my legs at a pace faster than the one that gets my from my computer to my coffee maker.

I decided (about 10 minutes ago) that maybe I should read how one goes about preparing for a 5k. I clicked on the first thing google spat back at me and right off the bat, I was told:

"If you have not attempted running before you may want to go easy first, so that your body can get used to this activity, more specifically your legs. You will have cramps, a lot of uneasiness and will find yourself gasping for breath most of the time. You will have a lot of sore muscles. You might even wonder whether this is for you, believe us this is for you. Don't give up."

I am about to participate in an activity that causes cramps, uneasiness, and shortness of breath. These sound like things I should be avoiding. Or taking medication to eliminate. And yet the internet people are telling me this IS for me. As I continue to read, I see that the plan for preparation they have laid out is an 8 week plan. This proves to be problematic, as I only have five days. At this point, I ask Google to show me how to pretend to prepare for a 5k, but Google fails me.

But wait? What's this?

"You've just turned 50 and you've decided to run your first 5K. Why not? You already exercise. And even though you're not a competitive athlete, you've wanted to do it for quite awhile. Now you have the time and motivation to prepare."

This site sounds like it may be more my speed. What does the AARP recommend?

Get organized. Make a training schedule to help you stay consistent and on track. - Check. My training schedule currently consists of Dudley's daily walks, a little pilates to prevent pulling anything, and...well, that's it. But I am organized about it.

Go easy. Don't overdo it. Set reachable goals so you don't get discouraged or hurt. - A 5k is approximately 3 miles. So my goal is to finish no later than 10:30. 1 mph. That sounds reachable, eh?

Eat well, stay hydrated. Experts recommend a wide variety of minimally processed foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Drink more water than you think you need before, during, and after workouts. - Does this mean stopping for a fruit smoothie half way through is a good idea?

Love your body. Be sure to get enough rest - don't let yourself get run down. - Sleeping is VERY important. So in order to prepare for the 5k, I will be sleeping more. Midday naps start tomorrow.

Buy quality gear and clothes. Make sure you have all the equipment you need for your event. - Sneakers? Check. Layering of sports bras? Double check.

Don't mess with Mother Nature. Be careful when it gets hot - drink plenty of water, wear light clothing, and try to stay in the shade. - This is Florida. If they wanted us to be careful about the heat, they probably shouldn't have planned a 5k within state lines.

Have fun! Enjoy the benefits your mind and body are reaping from physical activity. - In all seriousness, this is what I am looking forward to. I am going on this excursion with a friend and my sister, which guarantees high entertainment value. Add in the fact that we are all non-runners and will probably still be half asleep when we start the race, and I am pretty sure hilarity will ensue. Is it possible to kicked out of a 5k?

So, I will be updating you all after the weekend on the results of the 5k. Who knows? Maybe this will inspire me to actually train for one properly.

What? Stranger things have happened.

Currently listening to: The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson
Current Mood: Sleepy. See? I am already preparing...

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Forecast is Optimistic

As you may or may not have noticed, I changed the template I use for this blog (again). This one felt clean and light (neither of which I am feeling at this precise moment. ha! and also, ew!)

One thing I noticed after making the change, was the post count it gives by year and month for the blog. So if you all will take a moment to look to the right of your screen (uhhh...the other right...the hand that makes the backwards L) you will notice that in '05, when I started this blog, I posted 119 times. Not a daily blogger, but respectable. Enough to make you check back on a regular basis.

The following year, I had dropped to posting only a third as much (look at me and my use of fractions...woot.)

This past year - 10 posts. Not even a monthly update. So sad.

So I have resolved (not be confused with "I made a resolution") to post more regularly this year. Considering I already am posting at 50% of last years activity, things are looking good. So expect some odd posts that arise solely from the need to post.

Not unlike this post.

Listening to: Run, Freedom, Run from Urinetown: The Musical
Current Mood: optimistic. i thought we covered that. you all really need to start listening better if I am going to post more. i mean, really.