I got up this morning and even though I really, really did not want to, I went for a run. Granted, I went for a run after I had already lounged around and read half a book online and caught up on all my RSS feeds and Holidailies reading, but the important thing is that I went for the damn run at all. And more importantly, that I am going to keep on getting up and going for runs – at least in the short term, until the 5K in January is over, and then likely I will grimly sign up for another one, just to have a reason to continue to force myself to keep doing this thing.
It has been a little over a month since I last went running (and for future reference, when I refer to ‘going for a run’, it is actually me going for a ‘slow jog’). It is not exactly my favorite activity, but then pretty much no exercise-related thing rates high on my list of favorite things to do. If only knitting, or baking, or canning, or reading burned more calories, I would be in the very best shape. But even though I harbor an extreme dislike of the whole jogging/running thing, back in September and October I actually made it through the entire 9 week Couch to 5K program. And all because of zombies.
You see, a few years back, I heard of the Zombie Run somewhere over on the east coast (Boston, maybe? Who the heck knows), where it was a 5K but there were zombies, and I thought that looked like a whole heck of a lot of fun. And I said to myself, hey, if one of those ever happens in my area, I ought to sign up and take part!
And then this summer I stumbled across a Facebook post about this run, and I remembered that promise I had made to myself, lo, those many years ago, and I signed up. Not as a zombie, mind you. As a runner. And I am SO not a runner. Plus I convinced a bunch of friends to also sign up (some as zombies and some as runners), because if one is going to go through pain, one should never do it alone.
But I downloaded the C25K program onto my phone and I forced myself to get up three times a week, and oh it was hell for the first few weeks. But then I got to the week where I ran for ten minutes straight and while there wasn’t that mythical runner’s high, I did feel pretty awesome about that particular accomplishment, considering that only a few weeks prior, simply running for a full minute straight was pretty awful. And by the end I was jogging along (slowly, oh so very slowly) for the full 30 minutes, and while it was never enjoyable, at least I wasn’t collapsing into a heap in the middle of the road, so yay for that.
Then run day came. We gathered in the middle of our particular pack of runners. They fired the starting gun, and we took off. And they tossed giant handfuls of some kind of pink powder into the air as we went running past. I suspect it was supposed to look a bit like blood. But I managed to inhale a bit of it, and then had to do an immediate sprint to try to duck around the first crowd of zombies who were trying to steal our ‘lives’ (flags).
Do you know what you never do during the Couch to 5K program?
Sprinting, that’s what.
So…yeah. I tried really hard to run, at various points along the rest of the route. And I did at least walk the entire thing. But the combination of the sprint plus inhaling whatever the heck that powder was, did me in. By the time I was about halfway through the run, I was having a hard time catching my breath. By the time I got home afterwards, I was wheezing, and coughing every time I tried to breathe more than shallow. This, my friends, is what is called an attack of exercise-induced asthma. It is also not fun.
Years ago, a doctor told me I have asthma. I am not entirely sure *why* he told me that, as I’ve never had an issue with it (maybe he figured it was the reason why I was allergic to the world – who the heck knows), but he gave me an inhaler to use. I only ever used it when exposed to some of the things that made my allergies flare up so bad I couldn’t breathe (exposure to critters of the rodent / rabbit variety). But since I went on the shots regimen, I haven’t had an issue with that anymore. I stopped carrying allergy pills and an inhaler around with me a few years back.
Luckily I live with an asthmatic, so he tossed me one of his extra inhalers as I came in the door. After a few puffs of that I could breathe normally again, although the medication made me all kinds of jittery for a few hours afterward.
But anyway. Back to the running. After the zombie run was over, I told myself, hey, running isn’t all that bad. Maybe I can keep on doing it. But the problem is, without having the deadline of a run to prepare for, my willpower was shot. Plus November was full of Nanowrimo, so an entire month went by and no running was done.
My friend and I signed up for another 5K in January – this time without zombies, or stupid pink powder, or any of that crazy sprinting crap. It’s going to be an ordinary 5K, where we can shuffle along at our snail-like pace.
So I am back to going running. It’s not fun, and I wish I was doing a bazillion things other than running the entire time I am outside, but at least I am doing it. Because they say exercise is good for you, and unless I manage to stumble and break something (and bear in mind we are talking about the woman who managed to snap a bone in her foot walking barefoot down a carpeted hall, so don’t think it can’t happen), it’s something that I am going to try to keep on doing because it doesn’t require any equipment, and it doesn’t require any skill, and it counts as exercise.
But next time we do a 5K, I am going to bring an inhaler with me. Just in case.
‘Tis the season for Holidailies.