Monday, August 12, 2013

Choose Your Running Partner Carefully When Doing C25K

 I recently confessed that I have officially begun the “Couch to 2K” program. I also explained my running partner is our 1 ½ year old Heelie (Heeler/Collie mix) puppy.  She is my shadow. About 6 PM at night she starts whining. She’ll start pacing and go sit by the front door – our normal exit to go for our evening run. By 7 PM, she is just beside herself. She’s whining, and she’s talking with an occasional bark. If she sees me get my tennis shoes on, there is dancing in circles. When I start stretching, she is running through my legs in circles, attempting to lick my face, and doing everything in her power to wheel me closer to the door. I get through with my stretches, and it’s time to exit the building. Sunni (that’s her name, aka Big Baby) has on a choker collar and leash. For the first 100 yards or so, she’s pulling me until she realizes she can breathe easier is she slows down.  Then my Iphone dings and this bossy woman says, “Begin running.” She really is a bossy so-and-so, and while her voice might be pleasant, her message isn’t.

Now my dog is a mixed breed. She’s a heeler and a collie. Both breeds are very smart. Both breed are herders by nature. When the kids are in the back yard or anyone she wants to play with, she will come up from behind and wrap her front legs around them…literally wrap her legs around you. Goofiest thing I’ve ever seen a dog do. For the most part, Sunni has been an excellent running partner, but she is still a puppy, and sometimes we have ADHD issues…rabbit, black cat, squirrel. I run out in the country, so we have encountered each of these.  Typically, Sunni is to my right. The one time she caught sight of the black cat darting back into the woods it happened to be on my left. Yes, that means she crossed my path.

Now, I need to explain to you about my history or running and more specifically running with a dog. My first baby was a Shepherd-Chow-Heeler mix, and when we lived in Plano, I’d run her down to the park and let her play. On the way back, I could drop her leash and she’d stay by my side. One time Patrick decided he’d walk with us to the park and walk back. It was when we were returning that the calamity occurred. I told Patrick I would be running the last 100 yards with Kelly (that was her name), and I’d see him at the house because Patrick didn’t run. So, Kelly and I ran out the last 100 yards, and as I was crossing the street to our home, Kelly spotted Patrick who was already on that side of the street. When Kelly saw Patrick, she darted in front of me, wrapping her leash around my feet, pulling them out from under me. I went down like a load of rocks. My shoulder dug into the Texas red clay, and my head bounced off the clay. I couldn’t brace for my fall.

Patrick ran up with Kelly, laughing his head off, telling me to get up because the neighbors were out. I told him in no uncertain terms to not to touch me and to take care of the dog. Upon his return, I had managed to sit up and realized I was quite hurt. We went into the house where I tried to take a bath. When we realized the problem wasn’t getting any better, we decided I needed to go to the emergency room because  I couldn’t raise my right arm. He had to help me dress. I had put on a button-down shirt and had grabbed a pair of shorts. I asked him to pull the shorts up, and I began to move my hips side-to-side. Now, you have to remember this is early on in our marriage before children, so this whole concept of moving the hips to get the shorts over them was a new concept to him. In frustration, he told me I needed to wear something with elastic in the waist. I asked him to pull on the hem to take them off. As he began to pull, he asked if I was going to do the side-to-side hip thing. I told him, “No, that’s for when you put on the shorts. You squeeze to take them off.” I thought that was going to do him in right there.  We did make it to the emergency room and were told I had fractured the bone where the ball goes into the shoulder joint and that it looked like the tines of a fork. LOVELY!

So, here I am running with Sunni on these rural roads keeping her on a short leash when the black cat darts back into the woods. Sunni begins to bolt in front of me. I start losing my balance, but thankfully, I catch myself before face planting the roadway.

Should you decide to start the Couch to 5 K program, a word to the wise, “Choose your running partner wisely.” My daughter flaked out, and my dog makes the run more of an obstacle course for the unbalanced. But I guess I’ll continue to run because otherwise, this obnoxious dog will continue to whine, cry and talk to me until I do. She’s an excellent motivator. She’s relentless. She’s a good running buddy.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

C25K -- OMWord! I'm going to die!

My sister, Lori, has been running for about a year and has completed two 5Ks. I always told her if I was running there will be a boogie man chasing me or I was running towards a pile of the World’s Famous Chocolate. As a matter of fact, if I ever have to go to a seedy side of town that requires me to pack, I go with law enforcement, and I’m pretty sure I can outsprint most of them that I go with. I once saw a t-shirt that read, “I’m a bomb technician. If you see me running, you should too.” That’s kind of the only reasons I’d voluntarily run anywhere.

It’s not that I’m opposed to running, not in the least. As a matter of fact, in high school I was a sprinter who ran second leg in the relays. We ran the 400 and 800 meaning each runner ran 100 yards and 200 yards respectively. Sprinting does not require endurance. Sprinting requires speed. I am made for speed. During one tournament, our relay team needed to place in one more events for our school to get a trophy. The team would have to run a mile meaning I would have to run 400 yards. Just for the record, I had never trained to run the 400, and as I found out at the end of my leg, you don’t run the 400 like you do the 100 or the 200. You see, once the baton is slid down my forearm and put into my hand, I ran one speed – full speed ahead. In the 400, I learned you are supposed to run fast, but sprint – blow it out -- the last 100 yards. Why does this make a difference you ask? In sprinting, I took short quick breaths. In the 400 I should have taken deeper breaths. As I’m running the last 100 of my 400 leg, I cross the line and pass the baton and promptly pass out…on a gravel track. I slide leaving bits of my leg on the track. I had road rash on my left leg from my ankle all the way up to my knee. It was the nastiest thing I had ever seen, and it stayed with me well over a month, so I got to see a lot of it.

So, why am I writing about running now? Two reasons. About a month ago, my husband had chest pain that went up into his left arm. After testing, it was determined he would need a heart cath at 47 years old. Second, my daughter made the mistake of saying that she wanted to be a runner. She said she never wanted to compete but wanted to be a runner. I said, “Great! Let’s do the Couch to 5K program.” In case you are unfamiliar with this tortuous program, you start with a five minute warm-up walking. Then you run/jog for a minute then walk a minute. You do this little routine for 20 minutes with a 5 minute cool down at the end. The first day we did it, Erin cried every time we had to jog…EVERY TIME. I heard through her crying, “I hate you,” and “I don’t like running.” The second day on this regimen was a little better, but by the third day, she was back to hating me again, and she told me not to talk to her while we ran. Know what I was saying? “You can do it, Erin. Push through it. You can do it.” I also was telling her to run on the balls of her feet, so she didn’t pound the pavement. Apparently, she is free to talk to me, but I may not talk to her even if it is to answer HER question. The second week, she decided to take Pearce and leave without me. That was fine even though I have to admit I was a little hurt. I was looking forward to running together. Instead I got my big baby (aka Sunni – a Heeler/Border Collie mix), and she has been my running partner ever since. Erin has since given up running. By the way, the second week you jog 1 ½ minutes and walk 1 ½ minutes for 20 minutes. For me it’s more like, limp, limp, lope, lope, and suck down some major wind.

I just finished week three, and I’m pretty sure that whoever wrote this app was not running it in Louisiana at 7 PM at night in the summer when the air is so thick you where it, and you sweat the moment you walk out the front door. Some days, I outrun the dog. Other days, she wins. This week we jog 1 ½ minutes, walk 1 ½ minutes, jog 3 minutes (sucking wind and praying the rapture happens), walk 3 and repeat. By the time I come home there isn’t an orifice on my body that isn’t pouring sweat, and there isn’t a muscle in my leg that hasn’t jumped.

I keep saying I’m going to do yoga on the days I don’t run, but I have yet to work that into my life as wife, mother, employee, chef, chauffeur, purchasing officer, educator, maid, laundress, and the other many hats we as women wear. I’m learning to breathe deeper while praying I don’t suck in the Louisiana state bird, the mosquito. I don’t know if I’ll ever run a 5K, but I’ll know that I have the capability.

For all of my fellow forty-somethings, take care of your health. Your children need you. Is it pleasant? Not in the least, or it isn’t for this out-of-shape woman. But my children need me to be around a lot longer, and so do yours. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my running partner won’t stop annoying me. She doesn’t understand it’s only a 3 night a week program. And yes, I’m interpreting the looks my dog is giving me. Doesn’t everybody?