Oct 12, 2011

Once upon a time I ran fast. But just that once.

 took the last two weeks off to assess and tweak my training schedule. After my ½ marathon over Labor Day, I spent the next few weeks in a perpetual cycle of fatigue. I eased up on daily workouts and slept in more than I should. I thought *ding* over training. The killer was not that I was tired, it was that I wasn’t improving; I was covering the same distances and running at my same slow-ass pace. (Seriously, I’m an embarrassingly slow runner.) Along with that came an extra few pounds despite the same calorie intake. *Ding*Ding* ineffective over training confirmed. (I’m not complaining, that’s what girlfriends are for.) So I took the last two weeks off, broken off a few pieces of that Kit Kat bar (then a few more) and did Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30. (You laugh, but it's fucking hard.)

I also read the book Run Faster by Brad Hudson to find a new training schedule. Though his thoughts are scattered (I had to make cliff notes  to get the full picture) the book is a terrific guide to becoming your own coach and understanding what the hell “run 3 x 800 meter progression faster than marathon pace but not all out sprinting with 400 meters at v02 max pace and 400 meters recovery” means.  My new plan is to incorporate more progression runs, speed work and hill sprints so I can hopefully run farther or at least move faster than a woman in heels on cobbled sidewalks. I’ll begin next week; this week is purely for remembering how to run. Given my performance this morning, it may not be easy.

During my sabbatical I realized that once upon a time I ran fast. Once meaning a one time singular event.
At the end of August I was deep in the woods of Rock Creek Park trails with Cricket, on dirt trails where she runs free. As per my being a woman... in the woods... virtually alone, my senses were alert despite having Cricket with me (who I still doubt would actually save my life). When I’m on these trails in RCP I regularly look back to make sure I'm not being hunted and I have an unconscious tendency to grip Cricket’s leash in such a way as to lasso and strangle. So, with my defense on the ready, about 30 feet from the trail Cricket and I screeched to a halt and she started barking, hair up in the air, at something large and moving noisily in a tree. First thought- cougar. Second though- ninja monkeys. But no, it was the well-known species of “WTF”. WTF!? Who does pull ups on a bent tree in the middle of the woods while wearing brown shorts and a dark t-shirt that makes you blend in? I tried to breathe and said “you scared me!" The young monkey boy looked at me like I was nuts then blew me off. I continued.

Cricket cooling down with her little red "here I am" light.
A mile later, I turned a sharp corner and came to another gasping halt. Not 20 feet off the trail was the same guy carrying an over sized branch over his shoulders while balancing on a log. Another terrifying sighting of the legendary WTF. That was enough. My irregular heart beat wasn't conducive to running so I went deeper into the woods to escape this guy's weird tree workout shenanigans.

Later on I was all tra-la-la until a storm rolled in and 8:00pm approached. Darkness was coming after me fast. (Yes, coming after me. Dark can be so scary sometimes.) So I picked up the pace to escape my fear of tripping on rocks and logs, stumbling into water, and kicking raccoons in the pitch blackness of the woods within a city. (For the record, I did kick a raccoon once on a dark street in Boulder, CO. Talk about scared shitless. I don't know who was more stunned, the coon or me!) OK, back to the story: As I was running, I realized I wasn't running from darkness. No sir, I was running to escape none other than the Blair Witch; not the tree monkey-man, not the horrible fate of Chaundra Levy, but the Blair Witch. As my rational mind and fear wrestled, I saw sticks along the path laid like the Blair Witch stick man and realized fear won, and that I was running at a personal record pace of 7:30 min/mile. SO FAST!  I was sprinting with long strides up steep hills as I repeated my mantra, “Blair Witch, Blair Witch, run, oh my god, faster." I ran past Then, as I imagined being dragged into a cave full of children's hand prints, I threw myself down the hill and out of the woods. Safe! But not two deep breaths later something large came barreling after me with a loud scattering of rocks and bushes and almost knocked me over.  I was already on edge and I screamed a legit someone save me scream. I turned around to confront the Blair Witch but it was another (a different) young man out for a run. “Wow, it got dark real fast didn't it?" "You scared me!" "Oh. Have a good night!” Then he waved and trotted off carefree on his twinkle toes.

I’m sure I had nightmares that night. I also haven't run in the woods since then. Thank you Blair Witch for your motivation. It’s been 12 years and you can still scare the crap out of me.

1 comment:

  1. You are friggin' hilarious. Hope the running gets better!