Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Plodding update

So, many of you have been asking me about how "the running thing" is going.

Let's be clear about one thing: "running" is an exaggeration. I plod. The fact that I run about 5K in 40 minutes should quell any fantasies you have about this.

Remember, I have a 28" inseam... That translates into short legs. This is not self-deprecation. It's an observation based on empirical fact. I'm quite OK with this reality, but it does mean that I will probably have to work a little (or maybe a lot) harder to get a little faster. And that's OK, too... I'd just prefer not to die in the process.

In fact, since we are being realistic here, let me just say:

  1. No, I will not be running a marathon any time soon. I can barely do 5K! (So... stop asking! It's too much pressure!)
  2. If #1 above is true, then I will certainly not be considering any triathalons or any other sport ending in the suffix "-alon". Not going to happen.

Yes, I do have some goals in mind, but I prefer to keep them to myself for the moment. They do, however, include such things as "Run 5K without going into cardiac arrest". This is a modest, but reasonable, goal... and one I look forward to achieving sometime over the next year or so...

You want the goods on how it's going? Well, here's what I've found out:

  1. It's hard. I wheeze - a lot. (And no, I'm not a smoker. Never have been; never will be.)
  2. I enjoy a love/hate relationship with this new activity. I love doing it... until about the 3rd km, then I hate it. I keep going because I am not sane enough to quit.
  3. My hair is annoying. I have discovered that the only way I can run with it comfortably is in a French braid. I am lousy at braiding my hair, so I'm sure it looks hideous. But whatever.... The other day, I somehow forgot to braid it before I found myself on the track. The pony tail swatting the back of my neck did not make me happy. (If you're wondering why I don't just go cut it off, read Project Rapunzel - Take Two. It's no where near time to cut it yet.)
  4. People who design sports bras have no freaking idea what they're doing!! (And they should probably be shot -- or better yet -- forced to run a mile in another woman's body and bra.) And yes... I bought "top quality" at a proper running store. WhatEVER. The designers should still be shot! -- Are you guessing that I have an opinion on this matter at all?! Well, you would too, if you strapped yourself into three of the suckers before setting a foot on the track. (No wonder I wheeze!)
  5. Proper socks are expensive.
  6. I need good socks because blisters are simply a fact of life now. (And yes, I do have proper shoes, fitted by a professional. In fact, I have two pairs - one I keep pair at home; the other at the gym.) Despite what at least one of you has asked, no, I don't feel "cool" having feet covered in blisters, and no, having them doesn't make me feel like a "real" runner. I suspect "real" runners have callouses. It's us wannabes that have blisters.
  7. Thank God for iPod.
  8. If I were a sane human being, I would probably have quit by now. But A. made a good point to me last weekend when she said, "We know you can do it. You do whatever you set your mind to. The question is should you do it?"

(And that, from the woman who thought it was a good idea to do 108 bicep curls at her own gym last Friday... Yes, A. we know you can do it, but should you?!) Personally, I've never liked the word "should". We should really eliminate it from the English language.

There you are... plodding update, as requested! It's really not as glamorous as it may seem.

Wanna help? Here's what would be really great:

  1. Send song recommendations for the "running tunes" play list on my iPod.
  2. Don't ask about racing, any events ending with suffix "-athon" (or worse yet, "athalon"). Remember that I am a beginner and it's "one step at a time", as they say. In my case, those are slow steps... and that is unlikely to change any time soon. :-)
  3. Anyone got any tips on how to French braid your hair?

By the way, thanks to amber and KT for their long-distance tips and tricks. Good to know others go through the same things -- and your blogs are inspiring. Thanks to everyone else, too, who has offered encouragement without pressure! And special thanks to those of you who remind me to stay sane and this is supposed to be fun. (A. are you reading this? :-)

Now, I really should go study for a while...


M A F said...

Have you ever considered cycling as opposed to running?

CM said...

Aside from French braiding, have you considered looping the ponytail through the elastic on the last pull but not all the way, so that instead of a tail, you end up with a sort of a loop, where the bottom end (the part that would slap your neck) is looped through the elastic as well? I do this when painting at the moment, because I was ending up with considerable quantities of paint in my hair as a result of the house remodel. It's just a thought. I also use those grip-clip things a lot. I take the hair into a ponytail by hand, twist it quite tightly, winding it up the back of my head as I twist, and then slap a clip (or 2) on the twist. A few spritzes of hairspray and it holds really well. This could potentially work for your hair too, since I think we have a similar length now. The clips I'm talking about are like those old "banana clips" but are not nearly as long, they have sort of claws on either side and a squeezy handle bit that opens the claws. Anyhow, good on you for the continued running. You rock.

Sarah Elaine said...

To Mac - I spend my "off" days on a stationary bike. As for real cycling, I have tried, but to be quite honest, I've never found an adult bike that's comfortable. So... short of swiping the bike of the kid two doors down... But wait -- he's grown this past summer and now seems to tower above me. Hey, maybe he wants to sell his old bike...

CM - Thanks for the hair tips. Have tried one clip, but not two. The sort-of-bun, loopy thing with pony tail doesn't work so well... always seems to fall out... I'll keep experimenting and keep you posted.

A. said...

How about two pig tails? Those should really work...they're light and you can tie them at your neck on either side. That way, they should stay out of your way and they should stop slapping against your neck.
Personally, i think *should* definitely should not apply to all situations, but I think you'll agree that it has its place...as it should.

madcapmum said...

I think anyone who can run 5K is in darn good shape! What's the point in running til your toenails fall off? Ew!

Sarah Elaine said...

a. : Now when have you ever seen me in pig tails?! That's more your style, isn't it? (wink!) Besides, then I'd just have two floppy things instead of one... Sheesh, I might feel like I had basset hound ears on the side of my head.

Oh dear!

MM - Thanks for the kind words. Trust me... not exactly in shape, just a little insane! But your comments always make me smile.

sissoula said...

It's good to have goals, and I respect that the fact that yours are personal and will remain that way. Other people seem to be trying to impose some more objective standards of achievement on you -- which can also be a good motivator. I mean the objectivity, not the pressure.

Amber said...

I'm tall, 5'9" ... don't know what my inseam is but it's longer then 28" ... and I'm hustling if I run a 5k in 40 minutes ... seriously!!! Then again, I am labeled as slow :) Run at your own pace, a pace that is comfortable for you. And remember, you 'are' a runner!

As far as the hair, have you tried a ball cap. I found ball caps a few weeks after I started running and I won't go back. They stop the little streams of sweat that slide down your face, under your sunglasses and into your eyes. Very helpful. Besides, if you are ever caught in sudden rainstorm, they are beyond helpful!

In regards to sports bras ... I soooo agree. I'm currently squeezing into two. Right now, I'm finding it a useful place to store my cell phone, but I do know how to sew a neat little runner's pocket into shorts and sweats so I'm not really needing this extra little storage spot. Enell bras have come highly recommended by kt. As soon as we get settled into our new house in NY I plan on placing my order for one. They must be good, there is a 8-12 week delivery time.

Have you tried Body Glide, found at most sporting good stores, for the blisters? I thank God that I am not dealing with blisters. I think I might have to think twice about running if blisters were part of the deal.

btw, ran any 7k's lately?

kt said...

sarah: too cool. U R 2 funKNEE!! i too have heard about body glide. also VASELINE works! frozen peas for sore muscles. & have you read the non-runners guide to mara(ahem)THON? just bought 2day. love it. amber got the runn.schedule from it.

i wish U, me,& amber could run 2gether. what w/ FLOPPY ponies, big bobos, chafing PLACES, our mp3 players and ipods, ... not 2 mention amber at 5'9, me at 5'7" and you at 5'3" WOULD WE NOT MAKE A MOTLEY CREW? picture worthy at LEAST!

keep on PLODDING. i used to say i was slogging. but i have, of late, changed that to RUNNING. i ALWAYS wanted to B a runner! up to and thru my 8 mile run last sunday, I WAS. dunno what U'd call me now. i think "sidelined runner". (knee and all)

anyway, i so enjoy your humorous posts! you should publish! ah me! you already have! have you also done fiction? i read you wrote a manual, right? i like this LIGHT stuff better! =)

God Bless you today, Sarah! you are too cool!


kt said...

WHOA! let me re-phrase! i dunno about froz.peas for sore MUSCLES. i favor rubdowns (all 3 kiddos 'massaging' my bod at once) (or hubby w/ the doors closed!) or hot showers or tubs!! i still love ben-gay or the current equivalent. i'm sure BEN-GAY is not longer p.c.! i get the walmart equivalent.
froz. peas are more 4 sore knees and shins! =) bad-hurts. i consider my sore MUSCLES= good hurts!


zouzou said...

Grrls, grrls! Can it BE you've never heard of Shock Absorbers? they're the BEST SPORTS BRA IN THE WORLD (according to moi). Figleaves sells them or some obscure running store in Red Deer (who knew? I'd already ordered before I saw the red deer thing)

NOT that I'm a runner by any stretch of any imagination. I can't STAND it though the few meagre efforts I've made have resulted in quite astronomical results - I guess my body likes it, and I don't.

But back to S.A.s, they are THE BEST (oh wait I said that already)My girls are very sensitive to jiggling and I found myself routinely having to support them with one forearm while I ran! Not exactly discreet. And then I see women running whose breasts are just winging around, how do they do it? to say nothing of the physical hazard of hitting yourself in the nose or something.

I have two pairs of SAs and they're just heaven. They have various types depending on your activity level ie more size = more support, sideways vs vertical motion, etc. They've finally applied science to it.


happy plodding! you can be my ongoing inspiration

Sarah Elaine said...

Sissoula - Thanks for the comments. I like how you think.

KT - I think I overstretched my quad last week. The frozen peas felt good! Mind you, I only had them on for half an hour... and I might have had a hot bath after that, I can't remember.

Luckily, no sore knees. Whew! Keep writing, you inspire me!

Amber - Will try to find some Body Glide (though it sounds like it might be used for something other than blisters - oy vey!) Thanks for the tip!

Z - Wanna go to Red Deer soon?!