Sunday, July 11, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve. OR: A Glorious Beginning....

"So.... Want to go and run a race with me tomorrow?" This was the question presented to me on November 25th, 2009 by my sister as we were enthusiastically eating a Thanksgiving Eve meal with our Husbands and Parents. Being that it was an evening of gluttony I had to pause and chew my way thru turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cabernet and Jameson before answering. "Hells NO" I said with conviction "This old lady don't RUN... And you know that." Contemplatively my Sis poured herself another generous dollop of wine and replied "well... I'm only doing this race so that my back is as bad as it can be so that hopefully the Doctors will finally do something about it (she had been suffering from horrible back problems for months and it was eventually diagnosed as a bulging disk. Most unpleasant.) "So" she continued I am going to run very slowly, or maybe even walk most of it. There is no reason why you can't do this!"
I took a moment to reflect on my general feelings on running, sprinting, jogging and all things that involved the lacing up of the dreaded sneakers. I surveyed the carnage of the Thanksgiving Eve buffet scattered all around me, not to mention the excellent bottle of red wine that I had taken it upon myself to down (quality control people, have to make sure the vino meets my standards!) I mulled over the fun time that The Sis and I could have sprinting along like bandy legged gazelles on Thanksgiving day with 2,000 or so other fools... and I repeated myself "Abso-fricking-lutely NOT" Why don't we just go and get a pedicure like normal people? Accepting defeat my Sister informed me that she would be heading out, hung over or not at 6 AM the following day and that if I wished to join her on the road to torture I was more than welcome.

Later that night my middle aged huz suggested that I just go and do it already, I was in good shape and it would be fun! "Fun" I deadpanned "Fun like death by paper cuts, fingernails on a chalkboard or repeated slamming of my fingers in the car door perhaps...." I went on to remind the Huz that despite my overly active lifestyle that I had never run (for running purposes) a day, or even a step in my life and I was sure to have a major coronary event. Or throw up, which I hate. "I'll be a running winebag after tonight anyway" I moaned, helping myself to more pie "and that is no way to pre-game!" "Do what you want" said Huz "But if you are gone in the morning I'll know where you are."

I woke up the next morning at the asscrack of dawn and showed up in my sisters dooryard promptly at 5:59. A magical hour.... She was surprised to see me! We were both surprised not to be suffering the ill effects of eating too much turkey and drinking tumblers full of whiskey. We decided that perhaps we were onto something and would create a whole new athletic diet (and fitness program created especially by never-run before me!)

We made it to the race in time to see about 1.2 million buff, spandex clad, college age competitive runners pouring out of their cars. I quaked inwardly as I watched them sprint off to run a few miles before running a few more miles. They were like fricking baby deer, running with apparently no effort , no sweat (well, it was 48 degrees) and no worries about vomming on their shoes at all. My sister watched them too, but was not alarmed. "We're not here to beat THEM" she barked bossily "We're just going to run at our OWN pace, do our OWN thing and know that this is a fast race full of pain in the ass hardcore runners." The competitive side of me did not like her words of wisdom one little bit, but knowing that I was terribly unfit for such an adventure I followed her obediently around to register and NOT run a few miles to warm up.

Within a very short period of time we were OFF!(despite my moanings on the way to the start that I thought we should blow it off and go out for pancakes. or just sit on the curb and watch everyone else!!) However, it was very exciting, there were throngs of people, lots of cowbells and all the happy adrenaline boosting energy that one could wish for. It was a good thing that the Sis was there to firmly hold me back because I would have (filled with that competitive lack of reason that I already mentioned) taken off with the crown and passed out cold after 0.2 miles. We jogged along at a nice slow and steady pace with people passing us by the hundreds. I was POSITIVE that by mile one I would need to walk and possibly take a short nap to recover from the terrible strain that I was going through. Much to my surprise after the first mile my legs woke up and started carrying me along most cooperatively. I looked at them in amazement as they had never done such a thing! "HEY" I cried out to my Sister "my LEGS are running away with me!!" "MMMM" she replied smugly "Told ya..."

We jogged along happily for what felt like 26.2 miles. We did not have to walk, nor did I stop to hurl upon my shoes or upon the spectators. I was quite pleased with this turn of events. By the end of the 3rd mile my legs had stopped feeling so great and were just feeling... Shitty. Despite that we ran like the wind (ahem) for a strong finish! OH SNAP! (not knowing any better I immediately came to a full and complete halt and the pavement in front of me buckled in a rather odd and seasick like way. In the background I could hear my sister shouting "keep walking!! keep moving!! sound advice, a minute too late!) All was well in the end and we finished in 39.11 (with a pace of 9:48) We placed 1137th and 1138th out of 1521. I was very glad not to come in last, not to vomit and not to have to walk. I had my first (and last, I declared at the time) race under my belt and I felt free to scamper off and eat as much Thanksgiving as I wanted.

THE NEXT DAY. I wished for death to come because the pain was just a tad bit too much. I felt muscles that I did not know I had- I mean really, I have muscles in my TOES? I could barely walk, most certainly could not squat or touch my toes, and felt to be 145 years old. Did that inspire me to continue on a quest for improved running and better fitness? Absolutely NOT! My real start to running was still months away. So stay tuned...

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