Monday, July 8, 2013

Running: Wardrobe Malfunctions and Fires!

Well, today was my first unsuccessful run...

Before I had E, I tried one of those "Couch Potato to 5K" running regiments. I made it to about week 4, which I think is somewhere past the "couch potato" stage but before the "recliner recluse" portion of the training.

The thing I liked about it was that it gave me mini goals to work toward and a to-do list. I could measure my accomplishments. So, I found an app called Personal Running Trainer, here. It provides you with a virtual "coach" who talks you through a running routine. There's also an option to have him talk over your music, which I love. We started with a little right into the Danger Zone!, courtesy of the Top Gun soundtrack. That song always foreshadows disaster.

I felt kind of awkward. I was in a hurry this morning and had grabbed some old sweatpants instead of my workout leggings. I didn't worry about my shirt until I got out of work and remembered I had put on some kind of silky, cheetah-print blouse today. I wondered if it would make me faster.

I tried to shake my weirdness, my insecurities. The music played, and Coach began his soliloquy about the joys of running. I started walking. Five minutes later, I realized that the "training" hadn't actually begun, and the 20-minute timer hadn't started. Ugh. I hit the fast-forward button.

"Ok, now begin walking."
"Yeah, one step ahead of ya, Coach."

I imagined Coach recording the audio for this training session, sitting at Dunkin' Donuts, eating an eclair and sipping on an iced caramel latte. I fantasized about spotting him from across the room, sauntering over to his table with a shy smile on my face, and saying, "May I join you?" He'd smile back at me, powdered sugar in his Tom-Selleck mustache, and say, "Now we'll begin running. You'll run for 45 seconds, then return to walking for 2 minutes. Start running now." Dream over. Pout.

"Yep, got it, Coach," I thought, as I waited for a real runner, in appropriate fitness gear, to jog past me and out of sight.

I started jogging. To my surprise, it felt great! Better than yesterday. It was more natural, instinctual. I focused on my breathing and music -- an old Ting Tings song.

Then I felt a strange sensation, like something sliding down, over my butt cheeks. Swish! My pants fell down! What!? How!? Why!? I quickly pulled them back up, looking around to make sure no one saw me. I tried to understand the physics behind what had just happened. Had I really lost that much weight? I convinced myself that my silky shirt must have been stuck in my pants and contributed to my pantaloon avalanche...

I started running again. Ah, so invigorating! Then, swish! My pants dropped again! I gasped, dropped my iPod, and reached for my pants that were now almost around my knees. I went back to walking, and trying to understand advanced-level physics and friction.

Coach brought me back, "Ok, you've completed your first 45-second running session. Now return to walking for 2 minutes. I'll let you know when the 2 minutes are up."

"Whew!! That was a good one, Coach! Really feelin' the burn over here..."

I imagined he was actually talking back to me, "Good, Gretchin! I can tell you're in it to win it this time!!"

"Yeah, about that... I, um, have a cramp. I think I better sit this one out."

I walked at a good pace and jogged as long as my pants allowed.

I walked around the corner of Main Street, and chaos... Sirens and fire trucks everywhere. People swarming. Traffic stopped. I thought someone had reported me as a flasher, but I soon noticed a house with smoke billowing out of a third-floor window. The street was blocked.

"We'll, I can't run in this," I thought, as a more-dedicated female jogger blew past me in cute jogging shorts. Show off. I'm sure I inadvertently sneered at her as she stared at my cheetah-print top.

"What!? Wanna race? Yeah, that's what I thought! Cheetahs are really fast, you know!!" She had headphones on...

I made it to the corner of the next block, squeezing through people. I had a bit of a moral dilemma when I had to run around a handicapped guy, so I walked for a bit longer. Perfect timing, though: if I had made it to the corner a minute earlier, I would have been hit by a curb-jumping fire truck.

Once around the corner, my car in sight, it started to downpour.

I only have a 20-30 minute running window, and my time was up.

Good things:
-I've scoped out a new running route.
-I wasn't arrested.
-I didn't lose a race to anyone.
-I've claimed cheetah print as my version of "tiger blood and Adonis DNA."
-I have a good excuse to buy new running clothes.
-I've learned that, as awkward as I feel, there's always a greater level of attainable awkwardness.
-I still did it. Yeah!

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