Sunday, May 18, 2008

Working it on out, part infinity.

I went for a run around the lake this evening right when the sun was going down and the full moon was waiting in the wings, a ghost of itself in the blue sky. Everything is blooming, finally, and the trees smell delicious. I did a pattern of running 6 minutes, walking one minute, repeat repeat repeat, which meant I only walked a total of four minutes in my three mile run, minus my warmup and cooldown. This is good for me. I mean have you SEEN my physique? I am what you might call "bottom-heavy." I'm a very earthbound runner, and not a really motivated one.

I'm doing a 5K, my first ever, in a few weeks. I keep mentally pooh-poohing it because it seems like most anyone can get up in the morning and crap bigger than a 5K, but it is actually sort of big for me because, while I like sporty stuff, I've had such don't-wanna attitude about physical training of any kind for most of my life. Seriously, when I played volleyball in high school, I'd be the one faking that my contact popped out during wind sprints and I'd go away to the locker room. Unfortunately coach would be waiting for me to finish the drill and she'd run it with me, just like a good coach, but mentally I'd be doing ugly crying and flinging myself face down on my bed the whole time.

So it's a change for me to adopt any kind of conscientious training regimen, however half-assed. I'm not talking about regular old exercise. I'm talking about like running even when you have a stitch in your side. Here's a true confession: until about two months ago, I had never ever continued running through a stitch. But one day I had one, and I was like "fuck it, I'm going to do this," and I kept going, and it sucked for like 8 minutes. But then it was gone and I could get back to the normal kind of running hate instead of the special side pain kind of hate that usually just makes me abandon the whole project.

You may remember awhile back I wrote something or other about wanting to try things I'm not good at, in order to get some humility and work at getting better. I may not have written the thing about humility, but I do think that's partly what it's about. I've realized in recent years that there's a life lesson I seem to have missed as a child, and that's the lesson about plain old persistence, about working really hard in order to accomplish worthwhile things. (It's not your fault, Mom. You probably told me and I just wasn't listening, or you were busy trying get Hobby to use the toilet.) I was good at a lot of schooly stuff and I liked accolades. Naturally I focused more on the activities that got me positive attention than the ones that required a lot of work and maybe involved delayed gratification. That's how I've rolled.

Anyway, ramped-up physical activity is fitting the bill right at the moment, for that particular life lesson. I mean, look: practically everyone is faster than me, lots of people are stronger, and most people are more motivated. But I am still going to do this little race, and then maybe I'll do another one, and then maybe I'll think about a sprint triathlon. And I'm riding my bike to work, and maybe I'll start riding other places too, even places wayyyy over in St Paul that would have seemed too far away last year for anything other than a recreational day trip.

I smell like a campfire right now. We just burned a big load of scrap wood in the fire pit, and it was excellent, all orange sparks leaping up into the midnight blue while the solar path lights struggled to stay lit in the blaze. There's a "men in hula" documentary on in the background, so every once in awhile I look up and see some dudes practicing their hip swivel. Go men.


  1. We're so linked on some of these life experiences. I've decided I have to sign up for 5K just to make stuff move.

    And I heard the hula doc was great but missed it when it aired here.

  2. Hey! Way to run through the stitch!

    I just signed up for a 5k as well, but mine is not until October. It was $25 and my thrifty-ness is meant to be motivation to keep running even through the summer, as I hate exercising in warm weather. Can't waste the $25 though, right?

    I'm also crappy at persisting through things I am not good at. I always say one of my hobbies is "starting things and not finishing them".

  3. i hate running (it may have something to do with my big boobs) but i'm thinking of trying the run for 2 minutes and walk for 1 and then see how it goes. inspiring!

  4. Kickpleat, strap the girls down and move that bootie. The walk-run combo thing is actually a real technique called the Galloway method. So, you know, you can take walk breaks and feel hardcore.

  5. Dude, we finish what we start. It's the theme of 2008. Not much more powerful or moving than persistence, no matter the distance or event. Go, mujer.

  6. good for you! hey, 5ks are no joke...i miss doing them since i'm preggers now, but i used tolov them.....

    so many people take off like bats outta hell but then they are completely burned by mile one or, pace yourself.

    i always think that 5ks are longer than people think. i start slow and don't get my groove until like mile 2.
    have fun!