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Monday, May 14, 2012


It's true - it was a conspiracy. I know I might sound a little paranoid, but honestly, how else can one explain it? I was so motivated today to get a good quality run in. About 8 weeks ago, I got roped into signing up to be part of a "6 pack" team for a 5 mile race sponsored by Harpoon Brewery (get it? 6 pack?) this weekend. It was a lottery, and my eternal optimist/very manipulative friend assured me we likely wouldn't even get selected, but they were one person down and they were desperate. I wanted to sleep on it and really make sure I was up to this - I haven't really been running since the fall, with a few minor and awkwardly-executed encounters with the treadmill interspersed here and there. Of course, being the friend that she is, my dear chum told me she needed my answer in two hours. Nope, I'm not kidding. However, never one to let my friends down (even if it means selling my soul to the devil and/or embarrassing myself as I crawl to the beer tent after the race I had no business even attempting to run), I begrudgingly told her I was in. I secretly crossed my fingers, though, and hoped and prayed (yes, I honestly did ask for Divine Intervention here) that we wouldn't get selected.

Of course, karma doesn't work that way, and apparently, neither does God. I must have been very very bad in a former life and/or God really does see everything and he knows about the many times that I have fallen asleep during the homily - our team was chosen for the race. Too late to back out - they had my credit card number, my t-shirt size, and my two free beer tickets. What's a girl to do???

So - that was about 8 weeks ago. Since then, I think I've run twice. Yep - I had good intentions, but work was hectic and I had to take stuff home, home was hectic and I had to take stuff to work, and it was cold and rainy and just gross (and that's just my leaky basement I'm talking about where the treadmill is; outside was certainly no better). Then it got to about 3 weeks before the race, and I realized I really need to get on this if I stood any chance of not making a complete fool of myself. Out of our 6 pack team, I don't even know two of the people! One person is my friend's sister, and both she and my friend are cute and energetic and they could look good and have fun rolling around in dog poo. The other person is a friend of mine, who is now an officer in the Marine Corp! Yikes!!! No pressure for me, clearly... The longest race I've done yet is a 5K (3.2 miles) - and I've only done two of those! I've run 5 miles maybe twice in my life. Ever. Pardon my french, but I am sure I'm fu%#ed!!!

Endlessly chastising myself, I knew it was time to start taking this seriously! At the three week mark, I finally dragged myself out of bed at the butt crack of dawn and stumbled my way onto that damn treadmill. (It might have had something to do with my new resolution that I would only allow myself to eat ice cream on days that I worked out, and we all know how I feel about ice cream... Regardless - it worked!) Woo hoo!!! I felt pretty good, and even better later that night when I got an email from Harpoon Brewery reminding me that the race was fast approaching and asking if I'd run that day! (How did they know?) I emailed them right back and said, "Why yes, I did!" (I'm still waiting for their reply saying "Of course you did! That email was sent to you in error - we have no doubt about your commitment to this race or your motivation in your training schedule! You're doing great!")...

So, life is good: I'm getting ready for my race, I'm allowed to eat ice cream that night before bed, and I'm feeling pretty proud of myself. And then it happened. Someone told me about 50 Shades of Grey. This can and will be a whole other post in and of itself, but suffice it to say that I've been a bit distracted since starting that trilogy. I have been staying up waaaaaayyyyy too late reading the books, and it's kind of hard to find the snooze button and mumble "Screw You!" with only three hours of sleep, much less to actually get out of bed and run a few miles! Christian Grey is hot and all, but honestly, he's not doing much for my training. He has, however, been kind enough to give me a temporary pass on running as long as I spend that time with him, and he's even lifted my self-imposed ban on ice cream on days I didn't work out. (Hmm - it's all coming together - he's part of this conspiracy!!!)

Okay - fast forward to now. The week before the race. I'm still absorbed in the books and breaking my ice cream rule almost every night, but somehow, the race date keeps getting closer and closer. I am notorious for procrastinating, but I guess there isn't really any way to cram for a 5 mile race, is there? It's not like pulling an all-nighter the night before can help (although I likely will because I'm so close to finishing Book 2! I can't leave Christian hanging while I go off and run some silly race...).

So - the race is in six days. I know my body and even when I'm in great shape, exercising on consecutive days is not a good idea, so that leaves me three times to run between now and race day! Yikes!!! Last night, I was full of resolve - today would be the day! Last night, I set my alarm for 4:42am (with enough cushion in there for two snoozes), and even managed to tear myself away from Christian by 12:30am. 4 1/2 hours of sleep isn't ideal, but beggars can't be choosers, now can they? Off to la la land I went. And then 4:42 came. And went. And 4:51. And 5:00. And somehow, even though I was alert enough to properly operate the snooze button, my brain didn't actually register what was happening until 5:36. Yep - way too late to get up then and do anything productive. I felt bad, but really - can I honestly be held responsible? I wasn't even conscious!!! I quickly told myself I'd just run in the evening after the kids go to bed, and then I promptly reset my alarm for 5:42. (Six minutes may not seem like much, but when you're as chronically sleep deprived and/or narcoleptic as I am, you'd be amazed what you can do with that amount of time!)

I finally got up and made my way to the shower. While there, I had a brief moment of insanity and contemplated bringing running clothes with me to work and sneaking out an hour early to run before coming home. However, my superego kicked in somewhere between burning my eyes with face wash (for the 87th time) and nicking my knee with my "nick-free" razor (for the 78th time), and I realized what a ridiculous idea that was. Granted, most of the students have left the area and most of my coworkers don't venture out of the building in the daylight, but could I really risk having someone see me? I wasn't worried about getting busted for running on work time (of all offices, shouldn't one like mine understand? We tell our patients day in and day out how important it is to take care of themselves!). Nope - I had bigger potatoes to fry. Like what would I look like walking from my office to my parking lot in running clothes, carrying my fancy work bag, my rain boots and umbrella from a wet commute this morning, my lunch bag, and another bag full of my work clothes? And in the off chance that I did see someone I know, how awkward would it be for them to see me in my running clothes? (Remind me to post some day about the time my boss showed up from vacation to a work-sponsored ice cream social wearing spandex bike shorts and a mesh bike shirt, or the time he came to my office for a morning meeting in his biking clothes and a coworker saw him leaving and thought to herself, "Oh, how nice. Melissa is seeing a transgender client." Moral of the story: work people + non-work clothes = awkwaaaard.) Oh, and last but not least, I'm fairly certain I would have gotten lost trying to find a running route around my work. Or I wouldn't have gotten lost, but ended up running the same short route five times to get the distance I wanted without the fear of ending up somewhere from which I had no idea how to get back.

Okay - so I finally succumbed to the reality that I was going to have to run after work today, after the kids got to bed. Miraculously, they were in bed relatively early (7:25, but who's counting), and I even had enough energy left to change out of my work clothes and into my running clothes. I played a few quick rounds of WWF, said a way too brief hello to Christian, and then I was up and on my way to the basement. I am going to do this!!!

So - we have a tv in the basement, but the speakers are crappy on it and it doesn't really go loud enough to be heard over the treadmill (of course, when sitting in the living room on the first floor while someone else is on the treadmill, I can hear every word perfectly). So I decided to test out my new earbuds, arm band phone holder, and music on my phone. However, staring at a cinder block wall and shelves and shelves of unorganized "storage" isn't nearly entertaining enough, so I decided to have the tv on mute just for something to look at. Due to some confusing and certainly unnecessary changes by the FCC a few months ago, the only way we can watch cable on the basement tv is by watching the same channel that is on the tv in the living room. Okay - no big deal - I would just find some cheezy 90s movie on demand and be good to go. Well, here's Data Point #1 that there was a conspiracy: our DVR was already recording two programs and I couldn't watch anything from on demand. My choices were, then, to watch a show that I didn't want to see yet, or a show that my husband is recording and I could care less about. Ugh. Fine - I set it on the I-could-care-less-about-this show and off I went.

I got my ear buds in without too much damage to my ear drums or my self-esteem, and I was running. Then Data Point #2 came along: My phone (which admittedly this is the first time I've used for running music) somehow got stuck on repeat. I battled and battled (and almost fell of the treadmill), but finally got it working. Phew.

Then - you guessed it - Data Point #3: The show that I could really care less about ended. No big deal, except what replaced it was even worse. Some unheard of talk news show - about things I could care even less about than the show I could care less about that my husband was recording. And, Data Point #3b - because of the way we have the tv rigged up, I can't change the channel without going upstairs and doing it from the main tv. So it was just me and the news, chillin' in the basement. But at least I had my music to keep me entertained.

Enter Data Point #4: My phone stuck it's fingers in its ears, squinted its eyes shut, stuck out its tongue, and said, "Na na na na boo boo." I don't really know what it did, but basically, it stopped playing music. Either I wasn't technologically skilled enough and/or not physically coordinated enough to try to figure it out without injuring myself, so I finally gave up and tossed my phone onto a nearby pile of clothes I've been meaning to donate to the Salvation Army for the past three years. Oh well, at least I could unmute the tv and maybe learn something about the big bank blunder pas that I still didn't really care about. It was better than silence, though.

And then my pants started falling down. Data Point #5a. I tried tightening the drawstring, but in my attempt to untie it while still running, I managed to tie it in a knot. Data Point #5b. Desperate times call for desperate measures, though, and I somehow was able to reach a clothespin from the nearby clothesline and MacGyver my pants so they stayed up well enough and at least didn't trip me or make me moon whomever might have been so unfortunate to be peering in my basement windows at that tine (I know you're out there, you creep!).

Life was certainly giving me lemons, but I was making lemonade, dammit! I could do this! I was determined to run today (and truthfully, getting pretty scared about race day), so I made it work. And then Data Point #6 happened and it was the end of the road. All this movement that my body is so unaccustomed to took its toll. Apparently, my insides got jealous, and they decided that if my outside was moving, well, so should my insides. Now I understand why marathon runners poop without stopping and just let it fall out of their shorts - there's a lot on the line when you're in a race. I don't get how pooping is adaptive to the survival of our species in the whole "fight or flight" theory, but I guess it has a function somehow. However, I was not that interested in finding out... As dedicated as I was to getting a good run in today, I am not so dedicated that a) I would willingly poop my pants, b) I would be willing to put the treadmill on a speed of .1 mph and mop the poop off the belt as it cycles by, or c) that I could ever live with myself knowing that I even contemplated being willing to do either of those things. So - that was it. My time was up, and my run was done. I did manage to get in a decent 2.37 miles at least, and while it's not quite the 3 or 4 miles I was hoping for, it's at least a start.

All in all, I can't say today was a total wash. I will consider this to be what I like to think of as a "teachable moment" and it will encourage me to try harder for Wednesday. Namely, I'm planning to:
1. Ban Christian Grey from my Kindle at 11pm Tuesday.
2. Move my alarm clock across the room so I have to get up (and hopefully gain consciousness) to shut it off.
3. Delete my husband's DVR selections so I can pick something good to watch.
4. Figure out my phone so a) it's not on repeat and b) it doesn't lock me out mid-run.
5. Find a way to either hook up external speakers to the crappy basement tv or hold the tv in my arms while running so it's close enough that I can hear it.
6. Forgo pants all together so I don't run the risk of having droopy drawers and/or falling off the treadmill while trying to get a clothespin and act out my inner MacGyver (both of which would be incredibly awkward and uncomfortable while holding the tv, mind you).
7. Not even look at a spec of fiber or eat a single raisin between now and then.

I think I've got a good plan in place. And really, what's the worst that can happen? If all else fails, at least there's one more run after that one to really get serious about training for this race! :) 

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