Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Stupid *should* hurt

Man when the Gods rained stupid down on the Earth this week, I definitely forgot my umbrella. *sigh*

As you may be aware, I rather foolishly signed up to run 15k in August. Now that is enough time, I figured, to train. I wasn't being *entirely* unreasonable. So I went online a googled training plans. Most of them say run one minute, walk one minute - for a variety of different times. Ok no problem. Of course most of them also say run a 5k, then a 10k, and *then* contemplate a 15k... But we all know you can't trust everything you read on the Internet right? >;-P

So then I went back to Google and mapped out a couple routes from the farm. One that's exactly 15k and one that's about 7. Ummmm let me just mention here, for the record, 15k is a stupidly long distance to try and run. I know I can *walk* pretty much endlessly with no issue - but a 15k walk will take a *long* time and one thing I don't have all that much of is time. As Nicole mentioned "you know what's 15k away from me right now? Somewhere I can drive to." She has a point.

Alright so when I did the 5k, it took me about half an hour. This leads me to believe 15k should take about an hour and a half. And since I haven't run anywhere since the minute I crossed the 5k finish line, we'd double it. Now this is a problem in that I very rarely have 3h available in a day to do anything *sigh*. But I figure carve the time out once, then do a bunch of short runs to build up a whole lot more cardio and then try again. Yes, at this point I was figuring cardio would be the issue. That nasty little bugger Hindsight is sticking his tongue out at me and doing his nah-nah dance.

But I did have a day where I knew I only had one horse to ride AND that she really should have the day off. Which, with a bit of careful manipulation gave me the time I needed. I had an afternoon lesson I'd have to be back for, so I came, fed and turned out and then decided to try the run - stalls could wait till after. Anybody *else* see a flaw in this plan? Yeah well, didn't want to do stalls first and then not make it back in time so I figured this was the best of a bad situation (and let's be honest, any situation that involves me running is a bad one!)

So one minute on, one minute off. I can do that. No problem.

Ever been to Oakville? Oakville is where I trained for my 5k. Oakville is FLAT. The 5k I ran is advertised as being a "fast" race. Because it too is FLAT. But the farm? It's in Halton HILLS. A piece of advice - descriptors in town names are all too often the result of somebody with absolutely NO creativity naming the town. Basically in this area you are *always* going either up or down hill.

But still - one minute on, one minute off. Even with hills that shouldn't be too bad. So I gamely start out UP the hill at a reasonable (for me - or the average turtle - pace. And after a minute I am PUFFING. And somewhat embarrassed. I really didn't think I was *that* out of shape. But in less than 10 seconds breathing is exactly what it should be. hmmmmm. oh yeah - lesson learned for the day: holding your breath while running makes it significantly more challenging. I do NOT need more challenging.

So 30 seconds goes by and walking's really quite boring so I try to run another minute - this time going down hill. Sweet! Minute goes by in a heartbeat and I'm just getting started so I give it another 30 seconds and then some little part of my brain tells me that 15k is a LONG way. And the people who say one minute on, one minute off probably have a reason for it. And that reason probably has something to do with making it ALL the way around. Let me tell you something - when the voice in your head starts making intelligent comments, it's generally a good idea to listen.

The next walk minute was spent fiddling with my ipod. May as well use the time productively :) And on a side note - I definitely need to dl some new music! I don't think it's been updated since Denny's. Sheesh.

Then I followed my watch reasonably closely. Always the 1 min run, sometimes 30sec walk, sometimes 1 min. And when I was running I was somewhat singing along with the ipod. hahaha anybody who's had the misfortune to hear me sing along with the radio knows that this is a *very* bad thing, but other than one sheep who was sorely offended by it (that was pretty funny actually), there really wasn't anybody likely to be too concerned. And it works for riding so I figured it might be a good plan for running. That whole breathing and rhythm thing.

Alright so 1 minute on, 1 minute off. No problem. Cardio, at least for this particular challenge, is a non issue. I was quite pleasantly surprised about that. And every time I was walking I could hear my dr coach "power walk! You should be going somewhere! Double marks." Ok that last statement may not be so valid in running, but I'm pretty sure the other two hold. And while running, jump coach "drop your shoulders and keep your elbows in!" Apparently my bad habits are the same regardless of sport *sigh* Ah well, something to be said for consistency right? I wonder if they'd be amused to know they're coaching me in running too >;-P

So along I go, past the point that leads to the short route, and at about km 5 I could feel the start of the lactic acid building up in my quads. hmmmm. Not fatal at this point - they were just starting to get kind of heavy. And slight but not tragic shin splints. So to save the second I moved off to the unpaved shoulder and continued. Both issues I remember from doing the 5k. Both unpleasant but neither fatal. And really - every other minute is a walk break; it hardly even counts!

I keep going for what seems like forever, somewhat amused at the 80km traffic signs - ummm not such a problem now! And finally there's a stop sign in sight. Woohoo. That turn signals almost to the half way point. Sweet. Make the turn and it looks like a surprisingly short distance to the next turn... And then I realize no, it's just a jog in the road *sigh* Poor form.

And then suddenly about .5km shy the half way point my calves both ceased up as though I were wearing 6" heels. I could legitimately feel myself getting shorter. I can't AFFORD to get any shorter! Yikes. Ok so that one backed me off a sec. One minute on, one minute off. But clearly taking more of a toll than I'd anticipated. So the walk half of that interval was spent trying to stretch my calves out, rather unsuccessfully.

Now at this point I'm almost as far away from home as it's possible to be on this route. Everything from here on in is the way back. So what options do I have? I can call somebody to come rescue me. I can flirt with the farmer driving the tractor around and get him to rescue me. But both those options involve being rescued, which is not generally my thing. I can walk back - it'll take forever, but I'll get there. Or I can continue the one minute on, one minute off -- after all, everything hurts now, may as well suck it up.

So the inner voice was actively pushing for the "turn around and walk home" option, while the determined (read stubborn) side of me was arguing for go hard or go home - or in this case, both! A piece of advice, fwiw, from our obnoxious friend Hindsight again: if that little inner voice questions "do you think this is a good idea?" - consider listening to it; it usually knows more than you do.

I, of course, stuck with the determined voice (really, do I *ever* do anything the easy or normal way? What kind of blog would *that* make for? Probably not one you'd read - and we can't have that! :)

So one minute on, one minute off. I crossed the train tracks about 2 seconds before the lights started flashing. That would've bought me a good 1/2h break :) Prob just as well; I suspect if I'd had to hang out there for a half hour getting home would've been even harder.

On the plus side - respiration rate still a complete non issue; singing along w/ ipod still very out of tune; and generally making my way along one minute at a time. Which, btw, I still think is a very silly way of doing it -- shouldn't the intervals be in distance rather than time? Cause in a minute I could go nowhere or run my heart out but by this system it makes no difference. If it was .5km on, .5km off that'd be a much more accurate system would it not? It is, however, easier to judge when one has very few gadgets and no gps. hahaha

Anyways - the one minute off still seems longer than necessary but by this time the one minute on is *also* seeming to take forever. I started picking targets "I'll run to that lightpost and then check" -- and since in the country most targets are pretty far away; this worked reasonably well.

And then I saw the mountain. Remember the Halton HILLS idea. Well they lied. That was not a hill. At least not when you're basically at the point of physically lifting each leg and putting it in front. Lesson learned - run the route the *other* way around; it'll still have a giant uphill - but at least it'll be at the *start* of the route! hahaha So remember the whole one minute on, one minute off thing being pointless - how it should be judged in distance? This is why. Cause I definitely saw the mountain and set my pace and time so that my one minute off started the second I hit the mountain. And this is the *only* place I cheated. I freely admit there was no running up the mountain. The little voice won out *sigh* And we had a 2 min walk till I crested the top and ran down the other side again.

And then... I could see the stop sign. In my entire life I don't think I've ever been so happy to see a stop sign. Back on our street! The fact that it's still several kms to the farm is irrelevant; I was back on the right street. Woohoo! This stretch was a huge fight. It really hurt to move and the battle was between "walk home, make it there, but take forever" and "get there as soon as possible and don't give up when you're sooooo close." Wanna guess which one won?

All I can say is I'm really thankful I started out my run UP hill because that meant the very final minute of running was down hill.

I was hot and freezing at the same time (cold drizzly weather, exercise so hot, then stopping) and basically even contemplating taking a step hurt. A shower might've done wonders to cure all three issues but alas, I was at the farm. No shower option. So I cranked the heat, changed my clothes and ate some food. Fortunately the run took less time than I'd allowed (1h, 50min for the curious - and w/in the time allowed for the race too! I'm pretty stoked about that :) so I had a little while before I had to teach.

Brought the horses in for the lesson - more walking. Through mud. Not good. And had to even do an extra trip since Princess Sienna was objecting to being left alone *sigh* But I managed to teach (and the lesson even went really well - yeah for superstar students!) and do stalls - although I acknowledge they took me about 4x as long as they should've! And brought in all the horses. More walking. Through mud. Not good. Led them one at a time - took more trips but I figured I prob didn't have the strength or agility required for two at this point. Got to sit down for a bit to much some dinner and then out to teach again. And turn all the horses back out. More walking. Through mud. In the dark. Not good. And eventually go home.

The drive home was fine. Then I tried to get out of my car.

Mental note - if you decide to totally kill all your mobility muscles in one day, just keep moving. Cause once you stop you're done! *sigh*

Plus sides of the whole adventure though (they *are* there - you just have to stretch your imagination a bit to find them :) I DID it. Ok, technically that may be a minus, but I met the goal I didn't have to meet till August. Ideally I'd like to do it in August w/o injuring myself, but hey, it's a start. Paula's response made me laugh - she sent me a text saying "Alright you are banned from your own running schedule. I will email you the schedule you'll use from now on!" hahaha made me laugh. Except I found her schedule even harder than mine! But maybe there's room for compromise somewhere.

And now, I'm off to sleep. Perchance to dream. Of never running anywhere again. Till next time.


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