Running: Days 7 & 8

If I’d written this up after Day 7, it would have sounded like I’d had a major breakthrough. Clouds parting, sunlight streaming out after a storm, a dove would fly by and drop an olive branch on my head and such. But I am writing this after Day 8 and it is raining, the olive branch was just a birch twig, and the bird was caught by a particularly mean and feral cat.

This is week 3 of C25K. In week 3 we go from repetitions of 90 seconds of jogging/walking to two sets of the following:

  • 90 seconds jogging
  • 90 seconds walking
  • 3 minutes jogging
  • 3 minutes walking

I’ve been dreading the 3 minute thing since mid-last week when 90 seconds was killing me. But on Tuesday, I went for my run at 6:30PM. This was a change as I had done the previous six days early in the morning. I don’t remember now why I couldn’t run in the morning (hey, it was 3 days ago. I can’t be expected to remember stuff that far back, can I?) but the evening was perfect. It was cool, breezy, and the bike path was bustling (but not so bustling as to induce OCD-induced rage at people who cannot figure out the rules of the road.

Aside: Dear Cranston, RI Bike Path users: Bike on the right. Walk on the left. Thank you.

And after I completed my first of two 3 minute jobs, I felt great. It was during the 3 minute walk after the job that I went through a group of about 7 teenagers (or so). I was cranking Paul Young (“I’m gonna tear, your playhouse down, pretty soon…”) One of them clearly said something to me so I popped my awesome Sennheiser/Adidas In-Ear ear phones (with the awesome hook over my ears to keep the damn things from falling out the way Apple’s always do) out of my ear and said, “What?” He repeated, “Do you have a cigarette?” I smiled and said, “Nope, sorry.” Popped my earphone back in and kept going, laughing to myself that it would never occur to me to ask a runner for a cigarette, only partly because I don’t smoke.

The second 3 minute job that day was tough, but for the final minute, or so, I decided to push myself and went from a jog to a steady lope. I wanted to actually run for a bit. And I did it. A full minute, more even. It felt incredible and life was good.

[Insert spacing here for dramatic pause.]

Yesterday was not the same experience. Now, before I wind you all up and have you think this story ends with my having a crippling injury, I will go ahead and tell you (in Peter Falk’s voice), that I do not get eaten by the eels at this time. Nor do I have anything really bad happen to me.

I went out in the early evening again. It wasn’t my plan but I was such a zombie in the morning yesterday that all I could was get my recommended daily allowance of brains and survive my hellish commute downstairs to my home office (this is what comes from watching Sherlock with Jack until late at night). Unlike Tuesday, it was hotter and much more humid. Thunderstorms were wandering around (yes, I checked the doppler and none were nearby, sheesh) so the air was heavy with potential weather. 

Maybe I didn’t fuel up properly (though for my morning runs, it’s usually just a Luna Bar and a cup of coffee) and maybe it was just the humidity, but this run was a complete slog. When I was 70 seconds into the first 90 second jog, I wanted to die. My knees were (finally) bothering me, my backs of my calves were on fire, and I felt like I couldn’t get my feet landing the way I wanted to (too far back, too far forward) I began to seriously question if I could handle the rest of the run.

In the end, I did handle it. I took each jog iteration one at a time. I did try for a longer/faster lope in the sound round of 3 minutes but I just didn’t have it in me. But I did survive the run yesterday. Sheer will power? Plain old stubbornness? Who knows. But I did it. 

My walk home (uphill from the bike path) was painful and I had drunk all of my water in the wake of that final 3 minute jog, but I made it home alive.

I have no clue what tomorrow will be like. And it will be weird because we have a packed-solid day starting with an early drive to Western MA for a wedding followed by an early return (missing the end of the reception) to attend my wife’s aunt’s 95th birthday party. I figure I will get up and out for a run as early as I can stand it so I still have time to cool down and then shower. I have learned that showering immediately after the run is a mistake as I am often still sweating after I get out of the shower and just have to go shower again.

So, Week 3 is 2/3 done and I am not even going to look at what week 4 brings (I lied. I did look. I’m just choosing not to contemplate it now) and am just focused on tomorrow’s run and surviving it.