Saturday, February 9, 2013

The People in the Back Matter Too.

Fair warning: I'm still disgusted with myself.

I knew going into today that I hadn't had nearly enough sleep. I was shy about three hours of what I needed. So even as I went through the first tenth of a mile, I was already feeling tired and draggy. I also felt extremely heavy on my feet. Neither of these things is a magic bullet reason for why today felt so disappointing, but they probably contributed to the whole.

Maybe it was the cold. At least I didn't pull any muscles from coldness, though I didn't do a good job of warming up or stretching, and that's my own fault. I was wearing enough clothes even without my jacket, and I almost tried to load myself down like a pack animal with water, phone, jacket, etc.

As soon as I started breathing hard, I couldn't regain control of my breath again. I went to shallow panting and then I got that horrible metallic taste in my mouth. Blood. I don't think I could have spit out a drop of blood if I had tried, but I do think it came from my lingering bronchitis (stupid of me once again to think a month had been enough time to get over it -- last year it took about three months) and my beginning cold.

It was either my sinuses or bronchial tubes, and my sinuses aren't really that bad yet, so it probably came up from my lungs. Bad taste, and then phlegm started clogging up the works. The second half of the race was a pattern of jogging a few seconds until the coughing started, then getting choked and having to slow down to a walk again. I really did keep trying to jog, even while I was coughing, but I couldn't do both.

I just remember wondering why my breath tasted so nasty. I thought it was my imagination because I didn't want to run in the cold. (It was 32 degrees.) I could see my breath, but keeping my Buff over my mouth didn't stop the coughing. It wasn't the cold air - just the bronchitis. It's six hours later and I'm still having to repeatedly clear my throat every few seconds. I did it all morning before the race, and I still am. Yuck.

I'm still limping, but not from any pain. (That will be tomorrow, and all week, I'm sure.). My right leg is dragging again, and I'm having to pull it forward using my hip. It wasn't the big problem, but it was just another thing that made me want to sit down on the side of the road and just QUIT. I limped after the first mile. And darn it, I wanted to be able to at least run a mile. I can do it on the treadmill. A mile and a quarter, actually. I guess the treadmill makes it too easy.

So... I still haven't found that magical state in which distance running is fun, just being resolved to finish the distance so far back that they've already given out all of the water and tell you to your face that they don't care what your time was after the first 200 people finished. Why keep the clock running anyway, if you only care about the winners up front?

Hey, those people in the back matter too. Even if we are destined to forever embarrass ourselves trying to keep up with the "real" runners, some of us desperately need someone to tell us that it wasn't pointless to try.

I think it would help me to lose fifty pounds, but anybody who looks at my log or at me melting in the gym would be perplexed about why I'm steadily gaining a pound a day. No period in sight, and it isn't water. You've gotta understand that every single pound is seriously freaking me out. I'm doing the right things to make it go away, and the harder I work,the bigger and heavier I get.

Everybody knows more about what I AM DOING WRONG (and that's the bottom line, making sure they paint me as stupid and them some kind of fitness genius) and it is always some ONE little easy detail they attach magical properties to -- if I just did THAT I would wake up tomorrow and be lean, healthy and fit. Do this exercise, don't do that exercise. Eat this food, never eat this food! Don't eat more than 1200 calories a day you pig!, you're not eating enough. Take this pill, wear this patch, drink gallons of water, stupid- that water thing is a myth! Don't eat sugar! Don't eat fat! Don't eat carbs! Don't eat meat! Don't eat salt! Don't let your electrolytes get out of balance! Don't lift weights! Don't do lots of cardio! Do hours of cardio a day! Don't eat anything white, don't eat corn, don't eat artificial sweeteners! Don't eat honey -- that's sugar! Don't have caffeine! Don't eat gluten!

Get fitted for the right running shoes! (I did. My brother and his son are my witnesses.) Oh no you didn't, because they are the magic solution and I know that everything else would fall into place with the RIGHT shoes! I don't know who YOU got to fit you for your shoes, but you must have picked THE ONE GUY WHO DOESN'T KNOW WHAT HE IS DOING, because my magic shoes solved all my problems! (Really, Forrest? How're you enjoying your bandwagon of propaganda? Aren't you easy to manipulate?).

These people can all tell me what I'm doing wrong without ever spending a moment with me, looking at a picture of me, or knowing anything about me in any tiny detail. If any pat answer was the solution, don't you think the world would know this already? As the good man once said, "Life IS pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."

The answer is to never gain weight, never get out of shape, never become depressed, and never have a chronic health condition impacting any of these. Suuuurrrrre it's all under your control. Sure it is. All you need is the perfectly healthy human body.

There's such a bewildering amount of know-it-all "solutions" coming from all directions. I mean, what the fuck?!? It's ALL bullshit. Or maybe I should pray and expect God to fix it all for me. Maybe God wants me to die a miserable and heavy mess, instead. Maybe God doesn't bother with the people in the back, either.

So here's what my pace looked like:

Mile 1. 12.58 minutes (Well, it's a mile under my hoped-for 15 minutes)
Mile 2. 14:42 minutes
Mile 3. 16:40 minutes (coughing was uncontrollable here)
Mile 4. 15:29 (only .11 miles at that pace - hill going up to the finish line)

My average pace was 14:48 min / mile, so I guess it all averaged out ... Okay. It's all pretty pathetic, but I did try, and I'm still a beginner. My next goal is to aggravate my shin splints so badly that I have something to show a doctor. Then maybe I can make a little bit of progress toward healing. The question is, do I continue with my 10k training, or do I back up and try to improve my 5k disaster? Whatever I do, I've obviously got a lot more work ahead of me than behind me.

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