Run or Dye: I Didn’t Die

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Yesterday culminated a months-long journey to my first 5K. I bought a Groupon for Run or Dye back in February because it sounded like so much fun. The idea of being covered in color looked awesome and is something you’d never get at a cycling event. I thought it also might be a nice challenge to try running. Everyone seems to be doing it, and I’d done it before, albeit before a torn meniscus that still haunts me. I downloaded the RunDouble app and got started on training. I ran straight into a roadblock after a few weeks: knee pain. I ditched the Brooks shoes for a new pair of New Balance with their special inserts that have graphite arch supports, after going through their analysis (he said I had been using the worst possible shoes for someone with flat feet – awesome).

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Things got better with the New Balance because I was definitely able to run again, but still running sucked. Every training option – the track at the gym, the treadmill, the trail near home, running through town – was unpleasant. There was always pain that I discovered would sort of go away after about 10 minutes if I just ran through it, and then as the training runs got longer I really tweaked my knee by “running through it.” Every hill I ran I wished I were on my bike because I missed the reward of the downhill. Every curb I stepped off of brought a twinge of fear that I’d trip and fall. I even ran once in Central Park, when I was in the city for work, and although it was beautiful and interesting, even that had its down side: EVERYONE passed me. My friend Doreen was right – the more you run, the more you love cycling.

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Before, and after

Because of my knee I never really finished the entire RunDouble program. I got into week 8 of a 9-week program. So I had run only about 2.5 miles at once before getting to the event.
I originally signed up with one of my best buddies, who ended up having to travel for work on “race” day. Fortunately, Sister/Roomie (see related post, “Near Miss Weekend“), also signed up for the hell of it when I mentioned it to her. She completed Iron Man Lake Placid last year, so the thought of running with her sort of made me feel like an ass, since I could barely maintain a 12-minute pace. But she’s so wonderful that she made it fun. I got us slogan shirts in honor of our beastly bi’s. She got us some other appropriate accessories for getting covered in colored cornstarch.

PhotoGrid_1371311761981I must say the event was really fun. We ran around Citizens Bank Park, and at color stations volunteers chucked huge handfuls of colored powder at us. It ruled. The event has its roots in the Holi color festival in India (which is beautiful and of course is bastardized by these events, but I digress). And I ran at a decent pace and had no pain while I was there. There was no clock, but I think when we were actually running my pace was under 12 minutes. For this creaky cyclist, that’s pretty damn good. IMG_20130615_173018

I want to say this was my “first and last” running event, because I’m paying for it so thoroughly today, but you really never know. Roomie and I grabbed beers after the run and I actually heard myself saying I might consider doing another 5K. That was, of course, before my hip, knee, and foot got all hoogly-boogly last night. I’m going to get it all looked at. So you really do never know.

And now – time to saddle up on the bike!

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A Cyclist Tries Running

I am truly a lover of the sport of cycling. I don’t follow sports aside from a bit of baseball, but I do read about and follow cycling, because I have put a few miles on the bike and I have a bit of an understanding of it.

I also have always said that I am not a runner. I have spent short periods of time jogging for exercise until my knees bother me enough that I give up. The last time I jogged outside was about 5 years ago, which included being pooped on by a bird, so that didn’t go all that well. Cycling has not let me down – no knee pain, no bird poop, and I can fly at up to 40 mph, which is quite awesome.

So I am not sure what possessed me to sign up for the Color Run 5K in Philly, except that it sounded like so much fun and a good friend wanted to do it with me. I got a couch-to-5K app and started training.

It wasn’t so bad on the treadmill or the track at the gym, but then I did a run outside. What?! I felt like I was moving through Jell-O. The scenery almost seem to be passing by in slow motion. I realized after that I am spoiled by cycling. It doesn’t take much effort to get going fast. Running, I almost feel like I’m going more slowly than when I’m walking.

I’m also using a brace and ice and my Brooks shoes, but the knees are still hurting. Some people say I’ll get addicted, but I just want to get through training so I can enjoy the 5K and get back on my bike.

Got Any Snake Cages?

No?

Then what am I going to do with these PYTHONS?

Bam!

(OK. This isn’t me. I don’t look like this. Thankfully. This is a famous bodybuilder named Cory Everson.)

That bad joke is courtesy of my brother, who probably isn’t aware of how often I use it. Maybe he wants some sort of royalty for it. Too bad.

Others I use are the old faithful “I’ve got two tickets to the gun show, and you’re invited” as well as “Is there a vet nearby? ‘Cause these puppies are SICK!”

In any case, I may have biceps but I also had lots of cookies around the holidays and my arms aren’t going to pedal my bike for as many hundreds of miles as I’ll be logging this year. So I’ve launched Operation Rocketship. Those of you who know me well will laugh; for those of you who don’t, the short version is that I once went on a terrible date with someone – a bike ride, actually – who told me that if I’d just lose 10 more pounds (after the 10 I’d already told him I’d lost), I’d be a “rocketship.”

Well I didn’t take that to heart and obviously never saw that guy again. But I’m using his word. Again with the borrowing. Whatever. I’m going to try to step up the workouts and step down with the calories. Judiciously, of course – let’s not get all crazy and think I’d give up my wine. And I love food, as does Sherpa Tenzing, but since we’re both going to be on the bike soon, we will both benefit from Operation Rocketship. Last night I made us some teriyaki salmon and those Brussels sprouts I’ve raved about.

And I’m going to bolster my iPod with some good music, including this oh-so-perfectly named mix from NPR (and the article is funny, too!): The Gun Show. Check it out!