The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Run

I had a bad run yesterday. No, like really bad. I’m not saying The Exercise and I have hired divorce attorneys yet, but we’re in counseling and considering a trial separation, is my point. The Exercise is totally sleeping on the couch. It’s not looking good.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been training for a RAGNAR that goes down in about a month. I basically have 18 miles to run in three sections over about 30 hours. I have to run 8.3 miles, then 6 and finally 3.6. I have been training regularly since early November, but lately I’ve taken a bit of time off here and there for the big anniversary trip and because I’ve encountered an IT band injury. I’ve been working on stretching and various other things to get my knee back in shape, but as RAGNAR approaches, I’ve been worried I need to get some decent mileage in so I’m not unprepared for the big 8.3 run.

Yesterday I planned to do 7 miles. It’s officially the longest run I’ve ever done. I did 6.5 at the very end of the year, and I did 6 a few weeks ago (before I figured out why my knee was hurting), but 7 was a new obstacle.

Suffice it to say 7 remains an unattained goal for me. I have, however, accomplished the new low of bailing on a run. That was a first for me.

In order to convey just how not only painful and soul-killing, but in typical Elizabeth Newlin fashion, ridiculous and idiotic this run was, I present to you: a screen shot of my heart monitor graph. I’ve labeled the parts worth mentioning. It really tells the whole story.

Ok, so I’m sure you know how a heart rate monitor works, right? This graph shows my heart rate on the left and the time on the bottom.

A: This was the first 3ish miles of the run. It wasn’t great, right from the start, but I was surviving. If, by ‘surviving’ you mean running as slowly as is possible for it not to be called walking and still sucking wind. I had stretched and iced and put this weird-ass magical voodoo tape on my leg before the run with the hope of keeping my knee pain under control. The knee was actually feeling great. Unfortunately, the new shoes I bought to facilitate the knee healing were banging the hell out of the big toe on my right foot.

B: This was where a car of elderly Canadians pulled up along side me on the road while I was running to ask me for directions. Who stops people while they’re running? Apparently lost tourists do. In addition, of course to the serial killers looking to snatch you off the street and cut you into tiny pieces.

C: During this section I had turned a corner and was actually running downhill, at my exact same pathetic slow-motion jog, but you can see my heart rate continues to climb. It’s like my body was getting wussier with every step. (Side note: I used to see people running really slow and pity them. Like, Dude, why are you running in public that slow? It’s embarrassing. I was an asshole and this is clearly karma. I’m pretty sure caterpillars were passing me.) This is also when I started to notice pain in my hip. Not in the hip of my left leg that’s been bothering me with the IT band issue, mind you. No, that would make too much sense. This was sharp pain in the other hip. And of course every step on the right foot felt like a hammer to my big toe.

D: The last few minutes of the downhill straightaway my heart rate climbed up into the 180s and I could not get it down. I was sucking wind hard, my hip and toe were throbbing and I knew that as soon as I hit the stoplight and turned right I would be straight uphill for a full mile.

E: This is where I hit the stoplight, took one look up the hill towards home and said fuck it and quit running. It’s also where I saw stars, immediately developed a stabbing pain under my rib cage and briefly considered heading into the CVS on the corner and calling someone to come pick me up. Or 911.

F: During this period I walked and had the following conversation with myself.

Me – Ok, so I’m going to walk 2 minutes and then try running again, right?

Me Also – THE HELL YOU ARE. Are you feeling the stabbing pain in your chest that’s probably a heart attack? And your right leg is about to fall off at the hip, you know that, right? You’re insane.

Me – I’m not going to quit this run. I need to finish. Only losers quit.

Me Also – Losers and people who want to live past today quit. And why do you even care so much? Didn’t you start this whole exercise thing to lose some weight? You’ve lost almost all of it; WHY ARE YOU STILL RUNNING? It’s not like you’re ever going to win. Wouldn’t this time spent torturing yourself be better used on your writing aspirations? Or even quilting for god’s sake? Something you don’t inherently suck at?

Me – I hate you. I also hate me. And I hate my ribcage and my big toe and my hip. Although, I think the voodoo tape might actually be legitimately magical. It’s just tape stuck to the side of my thigh, and yet, the only part of my body not in agony at this very moment is my injured knee with the magical tape on it. What. The. Fuck.

Me Also – If you turn in half a mile up you can cut across the desert and get home at least a mile quicker. This limping along pathetically on the side of the road is humiliating.

Me – Yeah, but there’s a six foot concrete wall separating the desert from my neighborhood.

Me Also – You can hop that, no problem.

Me – Oh really? I’m so worthless and pathetic that I can’t run two more miles to finish, but you’ve got tons of confidence I can scale a 6 foot wall in this condition? Now who’s insane?

Me Also – It will be so much faster.

Me – You had me at humiliating.

G: This is where the walking was taking a really long time, and even though I’d already committed to bailing on the run and had started the (very long) short cut, I convinced myself the pain in my chest was almost gone and I could try running a little bit.

H: I realized I was lying to myself again and the pain was not gone. Three snails and a turtle breezed by me. I considered laying down in the desert and allowing vultures to pick the flesh off my bones.

I: Here is where I made up a little song about how much I suck as I wandered through the desert toward my house. And I crossed paths with a 70 year old man out walking. I could tell he felt sorry for me.

J: This is when I got to the wall right across from my house. The heart rate monitor lost connection because after my first attempt to get a running start and jump as high as I could and try to pull myself up to the top of the wall failed spectacularly, I threw my leg up as high as I could and caught the edge of the top of the wall with my toe and my monitor became dislodged as I scraped and clawed up to a sitting position.

K: This is where I sat for a minute at the top of the wall and wondered if any of my neighbors had witness the spectacle I’d just performed. I also wondered if you can be fined by the HOA for acting like a jackass.

L: And where, finally, almost 6 miles after setting out for a 7 mile run, I limped back into my house and vowed not to speak to The Exercise for a really long time.

I’m not convinced I’m going to be ready for RAGNAR.

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