Run

9 Months Later…

No.  Nobody is pregnant (which… actually is too bad in some ways.)  It’s been a long time since my last post, and a lot has happened.  I ended up having to stop my paid writing gig because I frankly couldn’t keep up with the deadlines in addition to my full-time job. Meanwhile, I bought a house, which any of you who are homeowners know is essentially a full-time job of its own… and it came with a number of expenses that I didn’t count on (despite my outlining a budget in advance.)  It was a serious financial struggle, but it’s gotten better and I’m slowly digging my way out.

There’s also been a total solar eclipse (which I was not able to make the totality for…) and more recently we were hit by Hurricane Irma.  It was a monster storm that I’m certain you saw on the news and it was impressively strong even when it hit Orlando.  With that said though, what we got was nothing compared to the coasts and the Caribbean before that.  Some in Irma’s path were literally destroyed, but in contrast, the worst experience we had was power loss.  That’s not to downplay the heat though, a lack of air conditioning on 90+ degree days (and nights!) will wear on you.  By night three (of six) the heat was draining, stifling, and had a major effect on our sleep quality.  Combine that with the fact my house gets running water from an electric pump in my well, and you can imagine it was an unpleasant week.  It also amounted to a lot of small, unexpected costs, but I have to say the Chinese take-out that was open when literally nothing else was (even Waffle House!) were the real MVPs.

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Irma was just a little rainstorm…

Socially… well… I don’t know.  I’m not isolated, I have some new friends, and I’m seeing more of people whom I’ve grown close to over many years.  But I’ve also lost some people.  Not specifically as a result of them outright leaving, but more a matter of my becoming a lower priority in their life.  I’ve mentioned before that it frustrates me when somebody speaks the world of you but doesn’t back those words up with action.  Eventually, you just have to face the fact that they simply don’t want to admit how little you mean to them now.  It’s not a matter of meanness or intention, more a matter of priority.  Some people aren’t as good at admitting they are selfish as I am.  Regardless, I’m not lonely, and I don’t think I’m going to be anytime soon… even if I still feel like finding “the one” is probably not realistic anymore.

Work and the house have been all-encompassing.  I’ve been (kinda) lazy and haven’t really done any sort of dedicated workout since I last posted. That is, until tonight when I decided to see if I could still push out a respectable 5k after not running for a year.  (Spoiler alert: I can.)  But I need to do a lot better.  My friend Leslie has returned from Japan and one of her first executive orders was signing us up for the Spartan Race come February.  For those not familiar it’s a 5k (roughly) but it’s 3+ miles of insane obstacles, so I’m going to need a lot more stamina than a 5k, especially if I’m going to help the others on my team.  It won’t hurt to tone up a bit either, my laziness hasn’t made me fat, but definitely fluffier than I prefer to be.

I’m going to re-apply myself here.  I’ll be house-sitting for my boss over the next two weeks, so I’ll have some time.  I’m in a place now where writing makes sense for sorting out my thoughts and sharing.  I also have an article I’ve been saving from my paid gig.  It was requested, but then decided it was too racy for our audience, so I asked the editors if I could publish it on my own site and was given the rights to it.  Check it out, I think you’ll find it pretty enlightening.  If all goes as planned I’ll have it posted tomorrow.  Until then, welcome back and thanks for reading.  Stay tuned…

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Stay tuned!

 

 

 

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Run

I’ve spoken briefly before about long-distance running being my cardio of choice.  In the past I’ve done Capoeira and a Tae Kwon Do based mixed martial art as well, but running has stuck with me more consistently than either of those.  The reason is simple: It’s mine.

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Current: Much better.

Obviously the concept of running isn’t mine, but when I run, it’s just me and my music.  When I first began running years ago in Seattle, it was mostly indoors on a treadmill (and later a really nice indoor track at WSU.)  The advantage of such things was climate control and smooth, even terrain. The disadvantage was that it’s boring and doesn’t prepare you as well for the outside world.  But the thing is, especially back then, I really didn’t like  running.   I didn’t know how to dress, so I was in typical, long gym shorts and I wore Nike GOLF shoes (yes seriously…) because they were the only real “athletic” shoes I owned and I figured they were “good enough.”  Thankfully at that point I was probably only running between 1-3 miles anyway or I might’ve actually damaged myself.

So, I needed cardio because my girlfriend at the time (who was SUPER nice about those things) actually admitted I “could lose a little” and my diet at the time consisted of Fast Food, Pizza and the occasional deli meat and cheese sandwich (those were good though, I miss those.)  Regardless I was chubby, and the Tae-bo videos I was doing at home weren’t cutting it.  So how do you convince yourself to do something awkward, uncomfortable and stressful on a regular basis?  Simple: distraction. Running is where I would develop my ideas, sort out my days, and figure things out.  I would do everything I could to take my mind away from the fact I was running because the moment I started focusing on the fact that I was running, I felt everything, my legs clumsily plodding on, my bronchial tubes contracting in protest and my heart racing trying to keep enough oxygen flowing to my muscles that were threatening to go on strike at any moment.

Over time I went from daydreaming to focused thoughts and battles with my own inner demons (some of which I obviously, admittedly lost…  those jerks are stubborn…) but as my thought processes became more involved and focused, my attention

We all have our demons...

We all have our demons…

went further and further away from the running until I developed a sort of auto-pilot that could potentially go on forever.  Imagine distracting yourself by sparring with another version of you inside your head.  You have to think of each movement, each strike, each block and the reactions to all of those things.  Then add in the fact that I’m an avid anime watcher and gamer and you’ve got all kinds of fantasy things going on (flying, weapons, energy beams, etc.)  It gets intense in there.  So all this distraction, and then all of a sudden you come out of it and realize you’ve already got three miles down and you don’t know where the time has gone.  That’s how I developed my natural pace, by distracting myself.

Over the years my runs evolved, by the time my ex and I broke up and I was back in Seattle I was up to five mile runs along with a workout (though still indoors.)  The nice thing about a treadmill is that you can manually speed yourself up to improve your pace and then allow your mind to wander off again.  Probably the only downside to this is that as you get comfortable, you can incrementally increase your pace, but the numbers deceive you, and though you might feel better about going 6.2 miles per hour instead of 6, the affect it has on you is minimal (granted any improvement is improvement.)

Moving to Florida was when things got serious, but not right away.  While I attended Full Sail I have a very similar routine involving runs at LA Fitness on a treadmill.  At this point I had to try a little harder to go into my head as that particular location has an abundance of attractive women in tight clothing… it was easy to get distracted.  To be honest (and this is just my personal opinion) I’ve always felt like LA Fitness is the place you go to be noticed (both genders.)  People seem flashier and it just feels like more of a “look at me!” mentality compared to a place like Planet Fitness where you just go to get the job done.  Maybe that’s just my personal experience though…

Capoeira:  The goofy looking upside-down one is me.

Capoeira: The goofy looking upside-down one is me.

Eventually I finally hit a point where I was just bored with running and tried other things.  There was about three years that I totally supplemented my cardio with Capoeira.  The desire to run would come and go, but I never felt motivated enough.  It was during my fourth year that I felt like I had become considerably lazier than I had been previously.  Additionally, though Capoeira was a fantastic exercise and gave me a great personal support structure, it didn’t do much to deal with my inner-demon.  In fact, because of the combatant nature of the art form and the rampant egos of some, it actually FED that side of me and brought it out from time to time.  I resolved to return to my runs in addition to Capoeira.  There is a convenient running trail that I can run to from my house with beautiful scenery and wildlife (but you have to watch for snakes.. and gators.. seriously.. I almost injured myself avoiding a snake on today’s run.)

Around this same time an avid runner joined my Capoeira group and invited me out to the Disney runs she liked to do.  At the time I had a bit of a crush on her, so I was feeling very motivated to impress her.  Since five miles had been my staple, I had to adjust to the upcoming “Race For the Taste” length that was a 10k (6.2 miles.)  The adjustment was easy and the run was magical.  I finished at a very good pace and felt inspired for more.  Over time I increased my distance to the point that just last year I was able to complete the Walt Disney World Marathon without stopping.  What an amazing experience (walking to the car shortly after finishing.. not so much.!)  I took a bit of a break after the marathon but have picking up my consistency more recently.  Even with a couple weeks off I can easily run a 10k at the drop of a hat, and could very likely finish a half-marathon with some struggle.  But the Walt Disney World wasn’t my last marathon.  This year the funds didn’t line up right but I’ll be back one way or another.

Walt Disney World Marathon! Magical!

Walt Disney World Marathon! Magical!

These days the hardest part of the run is getting my lazy ass out of the door.  Once I manage that, the run is good.  I’ve evolved a great playlist to motivate me while I go and have 3 different courses to run depending on where I am.  I don’t drink water during my runs because I want to be ready for cardio under any circumstances (you know.. impending zombie apocalypse rule #1: Cardio!)  As much as the meditation aspect is great, and I feel great after my run, my main reason is still the reason I started:  so I can come home after, eat my Magnum chocolate ice cream bar, drink my ginger ale and sit around writing a blog about why I run while feeling no laziness or guilt what-so-ever.  It keeps me acceptable for bachelor-like activities and extends my life span.

The Oatmeal (Best. Internet Comics. EVER.) wrote a highly entertaining and touching comic about why HE runs long distances that resonated with me and I think you will enjoy (far more than all these words, hence I put it at the end of the post.. suckers!)

Check it out here: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/running

It really is beautiful (check out his other stuff too.. hilarious!)  In the meantime thanks for reading!