this shit is hard!

It All Looks Flat When You’re Looking At The Ground

Spring has sprung! Officially. On paper, anyway. Today’s weather even seemed like it would cooperate with the calendar, the sun shining out from within a bright blue sky and everything. Then we left to head to meet everyone at the park and like some sort of omen, the sun hid itself behind some dark clouds.

Please just don’t rain. Please just don’t rain. Please just don’t rain.

That ^ totally worked. It did not rain. The sun didn’t make another appearance and it didn’t get much warmer but it did not rain. Yay for that. Because it certainly didn’t get any easier this week- walk three minutes, run three minutes. Five sets of that. What? This is easing into running?

Ok, fine. Three and three. But that’s not all. Yup, up and down those hills. Those hills! When, when, when will that track be clear and available?

Stretching. There’s something I wish I could do. I bet it would help if I could just s t r e t c h my soles before we start off. It looks like it feels good and everyone raves about its importance. Any hoo, after they all got their stretch on, off we headed- towards those dreaded hills. & wouldn’t you know it, minute four placed us right smack dab at the bottom of the first incline. First three minute run and it may as well be vertical. Ugh. Its amazing how long three minutes is when something is difficult. We didn’t stop. We were super slow though, like so slow that the others in our little group kept turning around to check on us- both of them seasoned runners. In fact, the whole of our workout they spoke of past races run, and man, it was intimidating to be barely able to breathe while hearing about 26.2 miles. Talking about “the wall”. Yeah, ladies, we hear that! Our wall, its right here on this next hill.

I don’t mean to seem especially negative, there were definite highlights in this week’s training. The upside to running along side, or slightly behind, actual ‘runners’ is that you get usable advice. My person was advised to try looking down when going uphill because it all looks flat when you’re looking at the ground. Normally, she finds a fixed point to focus on- sort of an ‘up & over’ mentality. Not sure how well that’s working out for her because I can feel her struggling on those hills right along with me. She said she’s going to try it next time which can only help me too. I got some sage advice as well. The third set of running, midway up the biggest hill (of course!) I noticed that we were basically running in place. Seriously, the tree to the right of the path did not recede behind us even after like 4 steps. Strength saw it too and actually called out to me,

Get on your toes, girl!

Which totally worked! Up on our toes and just like that, we were moving again. I don’t what was more shocking, that we were no longer running in place, or that she was so willing to help that Strength took a chance of outing us both as ‘real’ to do the right thing. Not that any of the ladies above us would’ve even noticed, so caught up in their own convo. In fact, they continued chatting in the parking lot long after the training concluded which allowed us to do the same. It feels really nice to have a friend. So good, that I almost forgot about this whole Jim situation with my person. Almost.

Tomorrow morning is the big, early morning, date. I should probably hold off judgment until I have more information, but really, what else could it be?

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That Last Run- it Kicked. My. Heels.

The ridiculously un-Spring like weather of late has thrown us off schedule.¬†Our Learn to Run course is typically held on Thursdays, but this week’s forecast caused it to be canceled a day in advance- rescheduled to be held on Friday evening instead. Not to be outdone by the continued wind and cold, we headed out for an extra “homework” run Thursday when everyone got home from work. Each week, we have to repeat what we have learned at least twice and though we plan for three, four is optimal. With four walk/runs under our belt this week, I felt completely prepared for class- all proud to be making the effort to attend the non-mandatory make up, temps once again the low 30s be damned!

As usual, there was the warming up and stretching before we could be on our way- the plan was walk four minutes, run for two- five times with a three minute cool-down walk. Easy peasy, right? I mean, we’ve been doing one minute at a time all week. It’s always rough in the beginning but by the time we return home each time, it has gotten easier with each interval. So, when the coordinator yelled “run” for our first two minutes, I knew it would be tough, but it would get eventually get easier each time. Except that either that chick’s watch is way broken, or two minutes is an eternity. Seriously, hours seemed to pass by the time she said we could walk again. Hours. The heavy breathing ban from last week must’ve been lifted because I could hear my person panting away. Seeing as how long two minutes felt, I knew recovery time would be twice as long and so, wasn’t going to stress. Except that before I felt ready I heard the cry of “run” from up ahead and off we went again. This time it was even harder. Conversations swirled around and I tried to find a fixed point up ahead to concentrate on as the seconds p a s s e d, far slower than the shoes on either side of me. Three weeks later, she said we could walk again. All I could think about was that we weren’t even half way done and if I didn’t die right here on the path, my person would and either way, we’d be lying on the cold, hard ground, unable to move. At this point, even walking wasn’t making things easy.

Have I mentioned the hills? The park path is like a rollercoaster. & really, its March, when will that promised land- “the track” be clear of snow and usable? Everyone keeps saying how fabulous it is- all flat and downright cushiony. Not what I would call helpful information at the moment. I am thinking awful, terrible things about the people singing these praises when minute sixteen arrives, 2 minute run number three- and we are mid-incline, I shit you not. Only we’re not running. I am like, I know I heard the “run” call and then I know that even those behind us did, because I can hear them tell my person that we’re all supposed to be running. Her reply…

I am incapable

left me cold. As in nothing to do with the weather cold. What? Incapable? Like, ever? Like, for now? Every one is passing us. I am watching their shoes continue to advance further away and we are still walking. I can hear her breathing and it ain’t pretty, folks. Turns out my person has a running buddy- a sporty chick with super cool shoes, both of whom are far more advanced than either of us. I’d noticed her the other weeks, I hadn’t realized our proximity was deliberate. Within moments it was just us four and the two of them, the rest of the class long gone. Not complaining, it was actually much nicer that way. I could hear the encouraging words being spoken above and before I knew it, we were running again, having only missed out on 2 minutes. My new friend, Serious, also whispered encouragement as we somehow managed to just about, kinda, almost complete two minutes. I remember little else- there was more walking, more support from Serious and I think some more running. There must have been that cool down walk as well. I can recall standing in the parking area while everyone was participating in some post stretching and I could actually feel my person wanting water- that’s how thirsty she was. I could also feel her wavering on her feet & when I looked up, man, was she pale. Her cheeks had been bright as cherries a moment ago. The only stretching she was managing was bending at the waist and let her head hang down, in a duel effort to get the blood flowing to her brain and keep the black spots at the edge of her vision to herself. I was practically feeling sick to my stomach right along with her. Before I was able to decide if bringing her to someone’s attention was wise, or dramatic, everyone was saying their goodbyes and we were heading back to the car. A bottle of water and a half hour car ride later, we were home and I could tell she was feeling much better. I was so relieved I could’ve cried.
Except that we’re going to have to repeat this a few times over the next week.
We both cried.

My new friend- Serious. We'd never have made it through this week's run/walk without the support of Serious and her person.

My new friend -Strength. We’d never have made it through this week’s run/walk without the support of Strength and her person.