Sunday, March 3, 2013

What is a "Runner"?

Week 1 Workout (Did Workout 3 Yesterday)

Week Workout 1 Workout 2 Workout 3
1 Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

 Week 2 Workout (Did Workout 1 Today)

2 Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

This is a dual post.  I ran the third workout for Week 1 of the "Couch To 5K" program yesterday (Saturday), but I didn't get around to posting.  I also ran the first workout of Week 2 today!  So, This is sort of a two-parter.

Since it is a two-parter, it may be kind of long.  You have been warned.

Yesterday's workout was 8 sets of 60 seconds running, followed by 90 seconds walking.

This week's workout is 6 sets of 90 seconds running, followed by 90 seconds walking.

Both workouts were on treadmill. 

It's interesting how different things pop into my head when I'm running.  Today, my thoughts were on all the times I've tried to become a "runner" before.

Cue dreamlike imagery  like clouds rolling by or something, while I go into a flashback.  A harp would be nice too...   OK don't overdo it...

I tried to run long distances when I was in High School.  I had a crush on a girl I knew from church.  She was a star cross-country runner.  She inspired me to run!  Well, OK she inspired me to act like I was inspired to run, so that I could spend time with her.  But.... it counts!

She and her father also ran in a running club and went to various race events on weekends, and I volunteered to go with them to one of the events.  It was across town, and we piled into their Winnebago to head to the event.  It wasn't overnight or anything, so I'm not entirely sure why we went in the motor home, but we did.  I remember it, because it was old and the engine was very loud.  She and I played cards on top of the engine housing on the way.  It was "nice".

During the race, I got to record her lap times on a chart.  Nice of them to make me feel needed, even if I was pretty much just a tag-a-long.

So anyway, after that weekend, I resolved that I was going to be a cross-country runner too.  I started running.  I did great!  I ran every other day.  I ran when it was cold.  I ran when it was hot.  I loved to run.

I especially liked to run, because my running route "just happened" to take my right by my hot girlfriend's house.  OK, she wasn't so much my girlfriend.  But I wanted her to be.  So, I ran by her house.  She probably never knew I ran by the house.  It wasn't like I stopped there or anything.  But she was supposed to notice, and come tell me how great I was doing.  Alas, it never happened.

The grand total mileage between my house and hers, was.... probably about 1.5 miles, round trip.  I "thought" that was pretty good. In many ways, it really was.  Not everyone can run 1.5 miles without stopping.  Fewer people still, will go out and do that multiple times a week.  So it's not bad.  It really isn't setting a very high bar though.

So, I thought, "I need to do more!"  I decided I should join the school cross country team.  Did I mention I really liked this girl... a lot?

I signed up for cross country, and to my surprise, they actually put me in the class slot for it!  No sirens went off.  No cross country team police showed up to book me for impersonating a runner.  They put me in.

In retrospect, I probably should have trained harder from the time I signed up for the class, until the day classes actually began.  That might have helped me some.  Did I do that?  Of course not.

Nope.  I showed up for that first day of class, decked out in my sneakers (you mean you actually use special shoes for this?) and gym shorts.  I was probably about 180 pounds.  This isn't too bad for an adult runner.  In fact, I'd feel great about myself at 180 pounds right now.  However, I was 16 I think, and 180 pounds is pretty much a lard ass in high school.

Needless to  say, the other guys in the locker room were looking at me pretty funny.  Next thing I know, a coach is coming over to see me.  He said something to the effect of, "Can you run for the entire duration of practice?"

Can you really run for the entire duration of practice?

"Sure," I said.  "The class is only an hour.  I might have to walk a little at first, but I think I can get there before long."

"Son,"  he replied (You know you are in trouble when they start with "Son").  "The class is only for an hour.  The practice goes on for two more hours after school... every day."


That was my response, in case you missed it.  I couldn't say much else.  My mouth was hanging open in shock.

To my credit, I regained my composure and said, "Maybe I should think about moving back into a regular P.E. class?"

"I think that would be a good idea."

So I did.  After all, I wasn't a "real runner."

I was just a guy with a crush on a girl.  Maybe I could find something else to do to impress her (I didn't).  I forgot about running.  I moved on.  She did too.  *Sigh*

A few years later, and I'm in college.  I decide it's time to pick up running again.  I don't think there was a "particular" girl I was chasing at this point.  I think it was just a general "getting in shape to try to attract a girl" kinda thing.

So my best friend and I would run.  We were doing pretty good.  We'd run really hard and thought we were doing pretty good.  Then we'd head back to his apartment and eat pizza.  I'm sure this was a really effective workout strategy.  You see, while the pizza offset our running, we also drank crystal light with the pizza.  So that's 1 point for the run, minus one point for the pizza, plus 1 point for the crystal light.  We were plus one point for the evening.  I should patent that workout plan.  I bet it works!

Actually, it might have.  Before too long I actually had a girlfriend!  Success!

And what happens when you have a girlfriend?  You stop running - right. And so, I did.

That particular girlfriend didn't last much beyond a summer, and in all honesty, it felt like longer than that.  I loved her.  She loved my best friend.  *Sigh*  (He didn't love her back... so I was plus one in that situation too.  Hooray for me.  Actually make that.. plus a thousand)

I didn't start running again right away.

But I have at various stages of my life since then, with various degrees of success, ultimately ending in failure.

A common theme though, is that I didn't really ever consider myself "a runner".  Sure, I run in races on occasion.  I've finished a few 5Ks.  I've even run a few without stopping.  But that doesn't qualify does it?

I mean, we've all seen them.  We know what real runners look like.  Those are the guys who weigh, like, 75 pounds.  They have long, skinny legs that are solid muscle!  They finish 5K's in 15 minutes.  They talk about things like "fartleks", and their diet appears to consists mainly of gels... and pasta.

I'm not one of those guys.  I "want" to be one of those guys, but I'm not.  I'm 270 pounds (and dropping, thank you very much).   I currently could maybe run a complete mile if I was being chased.... by a very slow person.  I get passed on the track by the real runners.  Pfft... I even get passed on the treadmill by the real runners.

So can I claim to be one?

Perhaps the better question is, "will I ever be a real runner, if I don't start thinking of myself as one now?"


So, I'm a runner.  As Gimli say's in "The Lord of the Rings,"  I'm "very dangerous over short distances!"  Especially if I manage to bump into you or something.  You've been warned.

But I'm still a runner.  And tomorrow, I'll be a runner.  And the next day, I'll be a runner. 

Hopefully, I'll become a smaller runner.  One who is less dangerous for short distances, and more dangerous over longer ones.  I'm trying.

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