Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Running with Kris and the Built in Leg Massager

I love running with Kris. I should put "with" in quotes. Since he has such long leg and mine are rather stubby (actually they're a little stubbly too) he runs much faster than me. So we'll start out together and do a walking warm up. Then at the 5 minute mark Kris' watch beeps and we're off and running! Kris off in the distance and me plodding along.

If Kris and I are running in the neighborhood, he'll run out until he's about to lose sight of me and then he'll double back. We are on different running programs. So he has portions where he stops to walk. I'm at a place in my program where I am running for the whole work out. So if he happens to be near me when it's time for him to walk, we'll get several minutes to work out side by side. I really enjoy that. We talk and unplug from the day. We get to pay attention to each other with nothing to interrupt us. And we are sharing something we both love.

Then Kris' watch beeps again to tell him it's time to run and off he goes!

On Sunday we both had long runs to do. So we went up to the North side of town to run on the levy. There is a gravel and asphalt trail that runs along the levy that is a little over a 10k. Since it was the middle of a Sunday and the levy runs along the edge of a neighborhood Kris and I felt safe to run separately.

The route is an out and back. So I knew I'd see Kris on his way back. I have never ran the whole levy before but I knew about how long it was. I started looking for Kris when I was about 2/3 of the way to the turn around point. He never showed up!

There's no way I could have missed seeing him. So I must not have been very far behind him. That was encouraging. There's no doubt I have been running faster this last week. My pace stats show improvement. But I was surprised I hadn't fallen more behind him.

Another thing I didn't see was the turn around point. I was getting tired and I had expected to be at the half way point by now. Where was it!

Hey! Here comes Kris!

"Kris! Where is the turn around??!!" It must be way up there if he's on his way back. He must have hit the turn around way ahead of me.

He pointed behind him and said, "It's just up there. You are right behind me!"

I looked up and sure enough I could see it! I wasn't as far behind Kris as I thought! Wow! Cool!

So I stopped briefly at the half way point to do a quick stretch and walk while I downed half my bottle of sport drink. Then I got back to running. I was feeling good!

Until the last 3rd of the run. Fatigue started to set in! My leg muscles were feeling real good. But I was feeling that drowsy tiredness of overall fatigue. Then my hips started hurting. What is that??? They've never hurt before! What the heck??!! Especially the right one. I thought about stopping to walk. That is was a smart runner would do. But I had never cleared the whole levy before and I wanted to clear the whole thing running.

So I kept running. You know, I could've just made the goal of clearing the distance of the levy and save the goal of RUNNING the whole distance for another day. But I was so close! It was in my reach even though I knew it would be a struggle. I kept running.

Or rather shuffling. But the rules are that if I am doing any more than actual walking it counts as running! So I kept shuffling.

I imagined Kris was done with his run now and was doing his stretches. I was hoping he'd come back to see where I was because I could have used some cheering on. I kept shuffling.

I saw a bike rider in the distance. I wondered if it was the same one I saw on my way out. Sometimes that happens on running routes. You'll see someone on one part of the route doing their thing (walking, running, riding) and then bump into them again on another part of the route. I always enjoy that.

This biker may have also been a runner because as we passed each other on my way out he smiled and gave me a thumbs up as he passed. I was hoping it was him but also hoping it wasn't so he wouldn't see me struggling. I quickened my pace just in case. And sure enough I saw him morph from a grey spot in the distance to the same biker I saw on my way out. I tried to hold my posture up and smile so I didn't look so tired as he rode by.

He smiled at me again and this time he said, "Good job!" as he passed. How nice! I love nice people. That was so much nicer than saying, "Damn girl you look like you're dead but forgot to fall down." :)

So I kept running. Well, I think I declined back into a shuffle once the nice biker was out of view. But I kept going. I imagined Kris was done with his stretches and was probably sitting in the car reading and waiting for me to show up.

I kept running. But I became aware of a strange happening. Sometimes when I run I can feel myself jiggling. Most of the time I can't. I'm not sure if it's the terrain or perhaps for some reason I am running with a different gait. But sometimes I can actually feel the fat jiggling around. Well this day I suddenly was aware that not only was the fat jiggling but it was specifically the fat in my legs jiggling in waves that were moving vertically up and down my thighs.

It was like I had a built in leg massager as I ran! I'm not kidding! It was the weirdest thing in the world! And it couldn't have happened on a better day! This was my hardest run so far. So there was no better day for this phenomenon to happen! How odd! So let me tell you, I enjoyed it as long as I could.

I tried not to think about how I might look from behind. I figure if someone was running behind me and didn't like the view, they would just be more motivated to run faster so they could pass me and put my jiggling ass behind them. I'm all about motivation and encouragement. :)

The time seemed to drag on but I knew I was making progress and when I was less than half a mile out, I see Kris walking toward me. Yeah! I could use the encouragement! When we met up, I said, "Struggling. Need cheer."

Kris said in his subtle, quiet smiling way, "You're almost there."

I smiled. Kris and I are very different in some ways. He is quiet and I am a total spaz! If the tables were turned and he needed cheering I would be cheering like a psycho pom pom girl on crack!

"YOU CAN DO THIS!!! YOU'RE ALMOST THERE!" Clapping my hands loudly. "YOU OWN THIS ROUTE! THIS IS YOUR ROUTE SO TEAR IT UP!! COME ON YOU CAN DO THIS! YOU'RE LOOKING GOOD! YOU ARE STRONG! LET'S DO THIS!" And on the ranting would go until he got to the finish.

I do this with my bike teammates too. Usually when we're cranking up a nasty hill or we're doing a long distance and someone's dragging. It always works too.

Now that I think about it, I'm not sure if it's because the cheering is actually encouraging or if they just want me to shut up.

So I kept shuffling and decided I needed some musical help. I kept hitting the skip button on my I-pod until a hard fast-paced song came on. I turned up the volume and just raced it the rest of the way. Sometimes that's the only way I'll finish. By just plowing through it as fast as possible to get it over with. It worked this time.

I really felt great! Tired but great! This is why I think runners get 'addicted' to running. The endorphins are amazing! I took a few minutes to try to breath again and then did some really good stretches. Then I folded my sweaty body into the car and rode home in a nice warm (natural) chemical haze......

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