Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 252: The Joys of Streaking

It's Day 252 of my running streak and January 1st, 2011 has never looked so good. I'd love to inspire you with glory stories, but not today. Sorry. Instead I will share some "day in the life of a streaker" stories you may find comical.

Story 1: He maketh me to stop pedaling ...

I just returned from 10 glorious days in Orange County, CA with my brother and his family. The weather was gorgeous and the time with family - especially my niece, Lily and nephew, Ethan - was long overdue. (See shameless plug pic to the left.)

While in California, I was invited to join my brother on one of his famous canyon bike rides with the kids. He takes them up to the top of a canyon where they throw rocks (always making the *peow* sound) and just enjoy some quality time together. I was flattered to get the opportunity to go. I quickly kicked out my run for the day while he fixed up a bike for me, then off we went ... up and down the canyon hills making our way to the famous rock-throwing precipice. Unfortunately, about halfway to our destination the chain on my bike broke. (Turns out you shouldn't change gears while pedaling up a steep hill.) With no tools to fix the chain, I began the trek back to the house on foot while Del and the kids continued to the desired destination.

I coasted down hills on the chain-less bike and walked the bike up hills. Imagine my embarrassment (and disgust) when "Ken and Barbie" jogged past me up one of those hills. Truth be told, I was glad the bike gave me an excuse to walk up the brutal inclines. Never mind that "Ken" was effortlessly running up said hills while pushing a stroller. Jog on, Barbie & Ken. Me and my gimp bike were just taking in the view.

Story 2: The Longest Mile

Frustrated that my running streak has actually decreased my overall fitness (nothing but running isn't nearly as effective as cross training that includes weights and such), I decided to do something about it. A sucker for a sale, I purchased 2 weeks of Fitness Boot Camp at 75% of the normal price. Perhaps the above Ken & Barbie incident encouraged the timing, but I finally scheduled my 2 weeks for September. Normally the classes would be MWF but due to the Labor Day holiday the first week would be TWF. 4:30 am Tuesday morning came and I was up and moving, ready to begin my new and improved routine. My fervor was quickly replaced with agony thanks to a couple unforeseen factors:
  1. My non-running muscles have been hibernating since April.
  2. Not knowing I was supposed to bring my own 8 lb weights, I had to borrow the instructor's only extras ... which were 12s.
  3. The class' expectations of my performance quickly skyrocketed when they found out I was in the Army. Not wanting to poorly represent the US military, I felt inclined to push myself beyond the level of any of my seasoned classmates.
All the ingredients were there for a butt-kicking workout ... a workout that rendered me immobile the next day. Unfortunately the schedule adjustment for Labor Day meant I had to go 2 days back-to-back instead of having a rest day in between. "No problem," I thought. "The hair of the dog that bit me. It'll probably help with the soreness."

Um, no.

I have literally never been this sore in my life. EVER. And that's coming from someone who's been through basic training at Ft. Jackson.

But remember ... I'm still maintaining a running streak through all of this. Oh, if I thought my run the afternoon after the first workout was bad, you should have seen me trying to run the afternoon of day 2. I chose the treadmill option, which I normally never do, in hopes it might ease the pain of the run. I started off walking just to warm up and hope that my quads would loosen up a bit. That wasn't happening so I decided to bite the bullet and move it to a jog. Oh how I wish there had been a video camera filming this because I'd be the newest rage on YouTube. (See commercial below for an example.) When my brain sent the message to my legs to begin running, my legs sent back a message in response: yeah right! They had no intentions of cooperating. With little control over what my body would and wouldn't do, I found myself in some semblance of a jog but on my tip toes (??) but even then at a snail's crawl. As I began to laugh hysterically at the pitiful sight of me I suddenly made another realization ... my sore abs made laughing hurt too. I can honestly say it was the longest mile of my life.

Thankfully I get a day off from boot camp and hopefully that time will be sufficient for my body to regain full functioning abilities. In the meantime, here's an excerpt from my current theme song, compliments of John Mayer:
Oh Gravity is working against me
And gravity wants to bring me down

Oh twice as much ain't twice as good
And can't sustain like a one half could
It's wanting more
That's gonna send me to my knees

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