Monday, May 14, 2012

Uphill Battles

It doesn’t matter where I run from my house, I have to finish my run with a long hill.  This is good for me, of course.  In the spirit of “getting in shape” and “training for a 10K” (both of which I am, ostensibly, doing), having to push myself up a big hill after I’ve already been running for 30 minutes (I just started training for the 10K – later, this hill will come after 50 minutes of running) is good for me.  Good for my muscles and endurance and mental toughness.


It’s also bullshit and I hate it. 


Well, I don’t hate it before the run.  And I guess I always feel pretty good after I do the stupid hill, but while I’m running it?  Yeah, I hate the damned thing.


I still do it, though.  I leave my house on a regular basis just so I can hurl my body up that hill half an hour later. 


I have lots of running friends, runners even, who push themselves to run half marathons, marathons, and ultra-marathons (Uber-marathons? Ultimate marathons?).  I know people who do triathlons and ironman triathlons.  I have a lot of respect for these people, and a part of me hopes to feel capable of running that far someday (currently, a larger part of me screams hell no).  Most of them listen to music or books on their long runs, but I have this paranoia, one of many: I’m afraid that, in becoming engrossed in my music or a book or whatever, I will not hear a car about to hit me, or a dog coming to attack my dog, or an explosion behind me that would otherwise cause me to take cover. 


So I don’t listen to music.  Instead, I have long conversations with myself.  I compose blog posts that don’t get written.  Or they do, but in my head they sound a lot better.  I also daydream myself into crazy confrontational situations where I have to stand up for someone’s rights and I make amazing, impassioned speeches in a public forum that have people reeling from impact.  In my head, I am that cool.


Or, I obsess about ways in which life could go wrong.  Lately, it’s skin cancer that has me all riled up.  I apply sunscreen three times a day.  I don’t even wear moisturizer on my face, I go directly to SPF 50 and slather it on my whole body first thing in the morning.  My kids are constantly coated.  I know two women who, in their TWENTIES, developed skin cancer.  That’s scary.  And I’m totally at risk.  But I probably shouldn’t fixate on it the way I do. 


I don’t carry anything with me when I run (save the dog leash because, yeah, I make the dog go with me), so I sometimes think about how, if I twisted and ankle or had a heart attack running up the freaking mountain to get home, I would have to rely on the kindness of strangers to transport me to the hospital.  Though it’s unlikely that I would be offered a ride in a stranger’s car due to the presence of my big, mean dog.  I’d probably end up doing just like I do with that God-forsaken hill and gutting it out until I got home.


The really great part of this is, when I get home, safe and sound, no heart attacks, no knees blown out, no gunfights, having saved the world in my head (today I gave a great speech to nobody about why our children will be puzzled that there ever was a national fight over marriage equality and will wonder why some people see “gay rights” as anything separate from “human rights”), I get to reward myself with a glass of wine and some chocolate (after stretching).  Which I probably would have consumed anyhow, but this way I feel as though I earned it.  After all, I made it up that hill.


Jennifer L. said...

So awesome that you're training for a 10K! I love those! They're just hard enough to make you feel like you ran a fair distance, but easy enough that you can totally make it. I really wanted to run one last Saturday (even though I really haven't trained for it at all) but of course my life is way too complicated to let that happen. Kudos for getting out solo for a good run! My excuse is always that I can't push the running stroller up all the huge hills around our house and then there's never a time when I'm home that I can go without the kids. However, my older boys both ran a 2.6 mile fun run with me a few weekends ago, so maybe I'll be able to make us all take turns pushing the baby while we get a run in! Yeah, I know that will never happen, but it certainly happens in my thoughts. Unlike you, I don't have grand speeches or even amazing thoughts while I run. Instead it's more like my to-do list keeps running through my head or I get some terribly annoying song stuck in there. I think it's great that you give your mind a workout at the same time! Good luck with all the training! Nothing like the feel of completing a race to make you feel invincible and refreshed!

Margarita Primavera said...

I have full on conversations in my head when I run too :)

And I do listened to music - with very low volume for the same reason that you don't listen to music at all (especially when I'm running with a deaf dog that won't help on that department).

And I definitely recommend When Matt started going out on bike rides to the middle of nowhere by himself I told him he wasn't allowed to do that without some kind of ID on him, and now he requires the same from me when I go on runs.