6.2 flat treadmill miles took 64 minutes, didn’t stop running until 50 minutes and only because my sock had bunched up inside my shoe and I was worried about getting a blister. Around minute 30 my left leg started tingling like it was falling asleep. I’ll chalk that up to circulatory system fatigue.
I never thought I’d be able to finish. Well, I should say I anticipated forcing myself to finish, but somewhere in my mind was this voice saying “he probably won’t be able to do it, and that’s ok” But this voice only made me want to finish even more. I hate that condescending voice. I imagine its a nice looking gentle talking woman, and shes talking about me to someone else IN FRONT of me. That special kind of “don’t say it to his face, but he’s not really a star, he’s just what we have to work with for now”… voice.
I’ve got this panel of experts in my head that determine whether or not I should try and run another minute. “At minute 15, let’s go to 16 and then we’ll stop” they say before retreating back into their conference room full of monitoring equipment and charts. They are the board, the planners, the strategizers that come out every once in awhile and tell the bridge officers and engineers responsible for controlling all bodily functions to run at this speed for this long. These bridge officers and engineers trust them and do whatever they say. They in turn promise to report any and all abnormalities which is always just pain and suffering and yelling “we need to stop – soon!” They also place orders for inspirational music and to inject adrenaline to kick it into high gear, ignore knee and hip pain. They also keep watch on other runners at the Y who are so obviously competing with me (they aren’t). I just watch the whole thing unfold while I continue to make the same motions with my legs and arms. Sometimes I turn the whole thing off and just stop running and walk instead. Usually its because my stomach hurts or I don’t have the inspiration to keep beating my feet. I’ll never take for granted what it’s like to run while in pain, and I headshakingly think about all those endearing historical figures I’ve read about who have.
When you’re trying to get in shape you do crazy stupid insane things like running without stopping for 50+ minutes. Who does that? Not me. Which is precisely why I had to at least try it. If I failed, so what, try it again later I guess – or don’t, it doesn’t matter. Die and restart the mission from the last time you saved like a video game. If you fail to run as fast or as far as you were trying to, you don’t really die and because you at least tried to make it, you’re that much further along when you try again. Amazingly this is how getting in shape works. You have to keep pushing yourself, but you get to keep what you accomplished. This concept was hardly established whenever I had thought about exercising to get in shape. I figured each and every time I could force myself to exercise it would be just as painful, depressing and difficult as the first time. Boy was I wrong. It gets easier until you choose to make it harder, but it’s not hard just because you’re exercising. Of course, if you don’t exercise at least once every 2-3 days, your accomplishments turn to a fine powdery sand and simply disappear.
A lot of people get in shape after a mid life crisis or a big event in their lives like, ahem, getting divorced after being married for 13 years. For me, it was a lot of things. I can’t say for certain I had (am having?) a midlife crisis, because I don’t like to minimize or commonly categorize the effort and brutal hard work I’m voluntarily putting into getting in shape. Why couldn’t I be the one who wasn’t fat, and could run 5k and 10k marathons? Why not me? Is that a midlife crisis? I don’t care.
For many, getting divorced means changing their lives entirely. So while this upside down world is taking shape, why not lose 30 pounds? I in fact initially went the opposite direction. I took on some pretty self-destructive habits like smoking and drinking (more than normal) for the sole purpose of showing myself I can a) do whatever I want, whenever I want and b) am tough enough to do drink all that, and smoke all those and not die or get sick, and I didn’t but I was certainly very sad and depressed.
A weight loss competition inspired me to just at least try and get in shape and lose weight. I wanted to beat my co-workers who were all 10 years younger than me. Screw them and their higher basal metabolic rate. I’m gonna hit this ball so far out of the park it’s gonna smash through windsheilds in the parking lot. So far I’m winning that competition. I went from 219 to 198 in 3 months and looking to have lost even more at the final weigh in on May 9th.
I’m gonna run for an hour every other day until May 10th. Dammit.