Over the summer, my very best friend, who is a lunatic, and I were taking our dogs on 5 mile power-walks a couple of times a week. We felt accomplished, proud and two pounds thinner. We reminisced and mused about our college days when we would eat nothing but no-doz, cigarettes and vodka for a week, while running 5 miles every other day and how fierce our bodies looked.......on the outside...... on the inside they looked like Bubbles from the Wire.... If you don't know who I am talking about, here you go:
He actually looks kind of okay there.... You really don't get a feel for the amount scabies, Hep C and body lice he is cultivating.
So one day my very dear, best friend in the entire world, (who is a certifiable maniac), sends me this email:
Today I took my lunch hour to take a BIG walk, with a little bit of running. It was a full hour and I think I got in about 3 ½ miles. Anyway, I observed about 100 people out getting their exercise. Of note, all the women walking were between 150-180 lbs. and all the women running were between 130-150 lbs. I would estimate that there were only 1 or 2 that were on the other side of their respective groups. So, I have finally determined that running has to again become a normal part of my life. I’m ready to do this in a big way. I am sick and tired of my thoughts, regrets, wishes about my body dominating my thoughts.
I am going to start training for the ½ marathon = 13 miles. I want you to do it with me because it will be more fun and because it will improve our chances of succeeding since it always help to have someone encouraging the lazy one of the day.
It’s not until May. This is one of two of my ‘winter goals’. I also want to pick up on some fundamental Spanish. Okay, back to the running. In order to start training, we have to be able to run 3 miles. We can make that our September goal. Next goal is the Thanksgiving Day run, which is a 10K (6.2 miles). That will be no problem for us. I will map out all of the routes, unless you want to, but it will take 5-6 days of training a week and, up until Thanksgiving, it will never take more than an hour a day, unless we want it to. Two of my training days are going to be yoga on Tuesdays and frisbee on Sundays. So we would have 3 or 4 days each week where we have to get some level of running in. That could be Monday, Weds, Thurs, Saturday. We would be off on Friday always.
So, you think about it and decide……long term, do you want to be with the walkers or the runners?
She doesn't feel like a nut, SOMETIMES. All of the times. Ever.
Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 2:03 PM
Subject: RE: a big idea
Ok, we will join. I cannot run 3 miles either – it will be a struggle for me too. We probably won’t be running 3 miles without breaks until the end of September.
So, Thanksgiving Day is 6 miles
Then in March there is a 9 mile mini-marathon
Then May is the big 13 miler.
Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 2:07 PM
Subject: RE: a big idea
That’s going to be the first thanksgiving eve I don’t get schnockered.
Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 2:03 PM
Subject: RE: a big idea
It’s a great way to spend that entire weekend eating, drinking, and feeling really good.
Ok – you have only thought of reasons why not to, so I ask you again…..
Do you want to be with the runners or the walkers?
She's like a Mafia Don.
But, she's convincing, so I joined up. Two days after this email exchange, we went to our local Runners Spot and were fitted properly for shoes, stocked up on wicking accessories and BenGay, and were ready to go.
Our first Saturday, we successfully cleared a five and a half mile route. (I use italics because we ran about four of it and were in some serious pain for over 24 hours.) The following Monday we cleared 3 and a half, as well as on Wednesday, and then the 5 and half the following Saturday. It was a good pattern, and we were feeling confident, albeit, achy, so we decided that this would be our routine.
Fast forward two weeks, the BFF starts going through some MAJOR life drama. MAJOR. The kind of drama that overtakes your body with nothing but adrenaline, keeps you up at night and enables you to exist on a diet of nothing but water and pretzels. The kind of energy that if you don't pull on your running shoes and clear 10 miles, you will more than likely tear off all of your clothes, run down the street kicking puppies, scaring children and screaming unintelligible lyrics to Wayne Newton songs. THAT MAJOR.
Being that my BFF may be a lunatic, she is by all appearances, an incredibly successful and rational woman, so she steps up her routine to avoid any kind of uncomfortable, "naked around the neighbors with a kitten dangling from her mouth" situations.
I, being her comrade in cross country, accompanied her.
From 3 and a half miles, we kick it to seven. THREE TIMES A WEEK. 21 MILES A WEEK. Which, is not too bad for people who run marathons regularly, who did not just start running after 6 years of not running, two weeks ago. It was the kind of advancement that the only other time in my life I have done such a thing, was in fifth grade, when I went to a ninth grade reading level.... Reading is a lot easier than running, just in case you were wondering.
Also, a dirt little secret about me.... I smoke. I smoke about two packs a week, but I still smoke.
So, we step up the program, but she is not only running on our days, but the days in between. She is clearing about 35 miles a week. She has always been more driven than I am, but I am still an incredibly competitive asshole, so I try to step it up as well. I begin to literally, KILL MYSELF. My life consisted of yoga and running..... The yoga was not an effort to enlighten and relax me. It was an effort to stretch out my muscles that were so tight, my 5'9 frame was contracting 3 inches to 5'6, and I seriously was convinced my calf muscles were taking up permanent residence in my butt. My feet were going to end up right below my bunsies.... It was not going to be pretty. Also, my house reeked like BenGay. My normal scent had gone from L'Occitane to a pungent eucalyptus, and my S.O. was threatening to shove me off of the nookie train. Not that it would matter, because I couldn't move. I hobbled around my house with heating pads and ointment like some decrepit fitness troll..... The situation was out of hand. I had to do something.......... I had to save myself.
This was easier said than done for two reasons:
#1.I am a competitive asshole. The thought that she was clearing 35 miles a week with nary a shin splint, was driving me mad.... Why was it so easy for her? Where was her pain? Why am I the one who has been stricken with the physical prowess of a geriatric, and she the nubile youth, who is a year older than me in actuality? WHY?
#2. My body, though broken and beaten, was foxing up to the max. My legs were looking bitchin and my skinny jeans were becoming a comfortable reality.
I was torn. Emotionally and physically.
I decided that I would pull back from running with BFF all of the time. My weekdays, I would run 4 miles and then join her on Saturday for our big run. It was the perfect plan.
One Saturday, due to prior commitments, I was not able to meet up with her for the run, so I decided to go at it alone. No biggie.
I'm running along and then all of the sudden, I was on the ground. There had been a shot of pain, and then my knee gave out. I collected myself, started to stretch in the middle of the sidewalk, and began walking. Walking was very uncomfortable. It actually felt more comfortable to run, so I did for about two miles... Then, the pain started shooting up the outside of my left knee, then it shot down to the side of my left foot. I had to stop.
I made it home, only to stretch, jump in the shower, strap on 4 in. stilettos and head to a cocktail party.
By Sunday, I was completely immobile.
Monday, I tried to run, mainly because I am insane. Needless to say it was not happening.
Tuesday, I activated my medical plan and headed to my doctor. After I laid out the puerile details of my bad judgment, it was of no surprise to anyone that I had now caused Iliotibial Band Syndrome to my knee.
I was prescribed anti-inflammatory medication, Vicodan (HOLLA AT YO GIRL!) and instructed to ice the shit out of my knee and to stretch gently. I was also instructed to stop running completely for a week, but to keep up with yoga, though mildly.
I felt frustrated and weak.
But, then I realized that even though I was injured, I had still accomplished more in six weeks than I ever thought I would. I also realized that going from zero to sixty is just fucking stupid. It's stupid and not surprising that I hurt myself. I am still young, but I am not 23 anymore. I am 33. My body will still cooperate with me, as long as I listen to its signals and PAY ATTENTION.
So, a week went by, and I successfully cleared 4 miles today, with little to no pain. The last two were not so easy, so I walked. But, it was still a success.
I plan to keep up with the goal we established. But, I am going to achieve this goal on my terms.
ETA: I also plan on getting some, now that the BenGay has been put to rest...*Cue Bow-Chicka-Bow-Bow, no babies, no babies, no babies, stop!*