March 05, 2011

Notes From A Novice Runner - This Post Brought to You by You Tube

A couple months ago, after a few successes at CrossFit and a few somewhat heavy pours of Pinot Noir, I got the balls to sign up for the Seattle Rock n Roll Half Marathon.  At the time I was mostly concerned about the physical endurance aspect of the event -- could I physically prepare myself to run 13.1 miles IN A ROW, AT THE SAME TIME?  All these runner types insist on this "in a row" business when they coordinate their races, which um-- hello? if I run 100 miles over the course of my lifetime you better believe I'm gonna call myself an Ultra Marathoner in my mind because I'm delusional like that.  Ok not really, but the point is that the physical endurance was at the forefront of my mind.  But a few months into preparing myself for this endeavor (and yes, I realize most people need weeks to prepare for a half marathon but I need months) I've had a few other realizations.

The first realization that I had when I started spending afternoons on a treadmill in the dungeon like gym at my office was that Holy Moses! Bo and Hope are still on Days of Our Lives.  I mean seriously?  You would have thought Stefano had killed them off by now, right?  That guy really knows how to drag things out. Also, I realized that I have no idea how to use the remote in this gym.  You would think it is a remote control and how complicated can it really be, AND YET.  The last time I was regularly watching Days of Our Lives was circa 1993, so to call this discovery shocking is an understatement.   

Realization number 2?  Music is not a 'nice to have' it is a 'need to have' along with a headband for my very cute but very UN-functional-when-running bangs.   Could I have picked a worse haircut for athletic endeavors?  No, no I could not have.  Anyway, we were talking music, not hair.  Sorry about that.  So yes, I NEED music when running, especially on the treadmill.  And oh my god, why did I never realize that the treadmill is actually a thing of torture all those years when I was feeling jealous of people running along next to me at 24 Hour Fitness?  Running outside is so much easier because there are like, landmarks that you pass.  And the scenery changes.  And ohmygod looking at Bo and Hope for an hour is quite difficult to do actually.  What is easier on the treadmill though is controlling my pace.  Treadmills have a good grip on Ron Popeil's Set It And Forget It!  mentality, and I have a harder time doing that when I run outside.  Total sidebar here:  We just got a hand me down rotisserie (Don't worry, from my aunt, not just some random person.  How gross would that be?  A secondhand meat juice maker.  HORK!)  and the thought of being able to rotisserie my own meat brings me so much joy!  And yes, I realize right in this moment that you probably think I have a small and sad life, there's no need to point it out.

Anyway, music!  Music!  Get back to music.  So, Eminem.  He is my running messiah, really.  What?  A drug addled rapper isn't who you would choose?  That's weird.   Well, frankly Eminem is really one of the only artists who can penetrate The Tunnel of Pain.   And while we are discussing The Tunnel of Pain, let me tell you I could have written that essay.  I NEVER hear the music at CrossFit and Garrett always hears it.  Neither of us can get over the fact that the other one experiences it differently.  CrossFit has made me realize that we all go to different places while being tortured.  I go to The Tunnel of Pain.  And unfortunately I do not pass go OR collect $200 beforehand.  

So yeah, when I'm in The Tunnel, not much gets through but I can tell you this song does. 

Best running song ever.  

And if I was in middle school and You Tube was my binder I would circle this video with pink puffy hearts.  And if I was Mark Wahlberg I would tattoo "Eminem 4 Eva" into my chest with a Bic Pen because I'm that hardcore dedicated. (Sidebar Numero Dos:  Someone on the Twitter the other day mentioned "Fear" being one of those movies that they can't NOT watch if it is on TV.  I wholeheartedly concur!  That is one of the best most ridiculous movies you will ever watch, and if you haven't seen it please do yourself a favor and Netflix it immediately.)  

So again, back to Eminem.  This post needs some Ritalin.

Something about 5 minutes of Military Cadence in the background makes me grab myself by the bootstraps when I'm about to crap out and say "Quit being a wimp and press on!"  Oh, and then there's the Nate Dogg factor.  Nate Dogg always makes a song better.  It's just science, don't argue with science.  What ever happened to him, by the way?  I actively miss him.  All this Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber bologna makes me long for 90s Rappers like a Victorian woman longs for her fainting couch.  And seriously when I hear songs like this new Matthew Morrison song (the nail in Glee's coffin) or Kim Kardashians new single  it makes me want to take a bath in NWA and then douse myself with some 2 Pac.  I may just put 3 hours of Eminem on repeat for The Big Day (interspersed with some  Regulators, of course).  Oh yeah, and you read that right, I said 3 hours.  Because my goal time is right around there.  And yes, I'm fully aware that many people run FULL marathons in that amount of time and all I can say about that is those people are not me.  

The thought of doing anything for 3 hours still makes me shake my head.

Which brings me to the main realization that I have had:  Running is like 30% Physical and 70% Mental, which does not bode well for the fact that my focus thus far has been mostly on the Physical.  Why has no one thought to tell me this?  No matter how rested, stretched, headbanded, and shiny I feel when I start a run, I spend the first mile bitching in my head solely because I have been taken out of my comfortable state of stasis and my poor little brain doesn't know what to make of it.  It happens Every. Single. Time.  Usually when I get to the second mile and the running becomes the stasis I'm a little bit better, but OOF -- that first mile is always rough.  

So all of this is to say that lately my life looks like various arrangements of the following: Eat, Work, Run, CrossFit, Cook, Thank Garrett for Cleaning, Google Ron Popeil videos, Try to Enjoy Some Alone Time, Catch Some Bad Television and Sleeeeeeeeep, Glorious Sleep.  

It's a small life.  But it's a good life.  



Amy --- Just A Titch said...

A few things. First of all, I am like you in the NEED for music. I need it to be hardcore rap with a lot of cursing, mostly to match my internal monologue. And you best believe that song is on it.

Secondly, running is SO mental. It's crazy how easy it is to talk myself out of being able to do something, even if my body is totally doing it.


Camels & Chocolate said...

Really, a whole post about music and you didn't even give us your ultimate running playlist? For shame! But you did actually inspire me to dust off my iPod this Saturday morning. I'm used to always running with my running buddy or my husband, but today am solo--and as I'm running the Chicago Marathon this fall, I definitely need to get back in the run-with-iPod mentality or risk getting so burnt out (or even worse, bored!).

Jessica said...

This is why I will never be a runner. I cannot handle the mental part of it.

Also, you're hilarious!

Emily said...

Music is my best friend when I'm running not matter outsider or on treadmill.

Home Sweet Sarah said...

I think we're music soulmates, Holly. Sometimes I like to listen to "Regulate" on repeat.

Also, that was me talking about "Fear"! Marky Mark 4 Eva!

LizScott said...

Completely true story: I listed to 3 hours of Kanye's Stronger and Warren G's Regulators during a marathon. Totally unplanned - they came on and it worked for me, so I just put those two songs on repeat and cruised. (haaaaaaaaa. That makes is sound easy and fun. It was not. But the music was good).

But yes: Three hours of Stronger and Regulators. And I don't regret it a bit.

Sidebar: I did my first half marathon in just under 3 hours. Perfectly good goal. You will be awesome.

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