Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The View From Marshallville, Ohio

What perks are there in living in a village?  Chances are, don't ask a teenager.  They are likely to slump their shoulders and say "there's nothing to do..." It means existential defeat to someone in their twenties.  If you want the real scoop, ask a thirty-something who loves wide open spaces and mistrusts any place populated enough to need more than a blinking orange light in the most congested crossroads... and is training for a 5k.

I started running last week in preparation for the Warrior Dash, August 25.  Let me give you a snapshot of my life as a runner over the past fifteen years.  1997 - senior in high school.  Made it to State in track (albeit as an alternate) on the Northwest High School 4 X 400 team.  Middle distance was my forte but I could run five miles easily if pressed upon.  A mile run was our team warm up back then.  I ran around our allotment listening to a Sony Walkman pumping meticulously chosen tape recorded classics such as: Led Zeppelin's "The Immigrant Song," Nirvana's "In Bloom," and Stone Temple Pilots "Unglued," and Pantera's "Slaughtered."   These runs were often angst-filled episodes with pockets of runner's euphoria.  Once I was almost hit by a car.  I mean, it was like really close.

Flash forward fifteen years to 2012.  There has been no running in these past fifteen years.  None.  Zero.  So, imagine my surprise when I attempted it this week.  I set out to do 1.2 miles.  My rationale was that I had done a mile back in the day entirely up on my toes, breathing easy and joking with my friends.  Yeah, a lot was different.  I no longer have a cool flowing, Hugh Grant haircut and mutton chop sideburns.  I no longer have those buddies that made running such a breeze.  I no longer have any muscle tone in my legs.  So, I hit the wall.  Hard.  To put it in terms of my high school track days, the monkey had come out of his hiding place and was kicking the $%*# out of me.  I ended up running for .5 miles.  The rest I had to walk.
The next day I couldn't get up and down steps very easily and everything was super tight.

I no longer had my sweet Sony Walkman, but I did have my iPod.  So, I queued up some songs to aid me and set out again two days later.  Think Corb Lund, "Horse Doctor, Come Quick," Black Eyed Peas "Imma Be," and Gwar's "Immortal Corruptor."  I didn't stretch this time either.

I tried a mile again.  My legs felt like rubber bands that had been stretched to their limit and were in danger of snapping.  The pain the next day was epic.  By the third outing I spent a full fifteen minutes stretching and walked a half mile before I decided to run.  The results were better.  I was able to run a full .5 mile.  Last night I ran nearly the whole mile.  Today, aided by the bouncing, bald head of my childhood friend Robert, and my own jealousy of his ease with the whole ordeal (he never stopped running after high school), managed to run .5, walk .5 and run .5.        

I 'm still out of shape, but getting better.  I'm into week two of my training and I feel pretty optimistic about my chances come August 25.

As long as I continue to stretch, that is.