The Fast Track

Week 5.5:  Thursday was a bizarre rainy day here in typically sunny Colorado and I headed back to my gym for a run. I decided to break from the treadmill and tackle the indoor track. At my gym, the track protrudes precariously from the perimeter of what would be the 2nd floor, if there were actually any flooring besides the 5 feet wide running surface. From the track you have a bird’s-eye view of the entire gym below which is divided into three separate sections for basketball, more basketball, and joint cardio/weight lifting equipment. I borrowed a box of tissues from the locker room and placed them along with my towel in an inconspicuous location beside the track. The sign posted claimed that 13 laps was equivalent to a mile, but I wore my cell phone with running app activated to be sure, and to keep track of my times. I started off intentionally slow and tried to get past the initial sensation of muscle failure that always plagues my first mile. After the first few laps, I was surprised to find myself able to increase my pace to what I would consider more of a “run” for about the first half of each lap. I then resumed my former jogging pace for the remainder of the lap to allow some form of recovery. Truth be told, the layout of the gym below inevitably contributed to the timing of my enhanced efforts when in view of the more populated cardio room, and my recovery phase along the deserted basketball courts. I half expected people to openly look up and cheer me on, applauding my effort and perseverance in the face of grand scale humiliation, but I guess the news of my blog has not yet reached my gym. I found myself obsessively counting each lap and reiterating the number the entire way around lest I became confused and forgot a precious lap. I continued in this manner and completed the first mile with decent stride and without stopping. I took a brief tissue and towel break and checked my times. According to my phone, I am the latest and greatest running hotshot on the planet! Not only was my time under 12 minutes, but my phone thought I completed 4.37 miles in that time frame and averaged a 2:29 minute mile. It mistook me for my car. Disregarding the complimentary but far fetched mileage, if my time was accurate I completed my first mile in 11:38!  Another first!
     Nose and sweat once again contained, I resumed my meticulous logging of laps and trudged on though another 2 miles. This was the first I’ve been able to complete 3 full miles since coming down with my cold, and it felt like finally my training was back on schedule. By the end, my phone was convinced I ran 6 miles in 38:29 minutes. The app I am using is called RunKeeper, and I would highly recommend it to all other novice runners who might be similarly challenged to identify with the running world and who could benefit from some positive reinforcement. I would also recommend usage on an oval running track for optimal app performance, as I was less impressed with its record of my statistics outside. If only the race day timing mechanisms could be so user friendly! Regardless of the pleasantries offered by my phone, finishing 3 miles (confirmed by the 39 laps I painstakingly tallied) in 38:29 is still sweet progress for me. While I had to walk a bit more during the 3rd mile, I was able to jog/run nearly all of the first 2 miles, which was a lovely victory by itself!
     On Friday afternoon I stopped by the Bolder Boulder store to shop for a memento of the race. I had managed to retrieve my race day packet earlier in the week, so I am ready to go! While I was in the store, I noticed that to qualify for the topmost level, the elite “A” heat, one needs to have a time of 38 minutes or less. Once I recovered my faculties after the realization that some people can actually run that fast, I realized that according to my erroneous phone I nearly qualified to run among the superhumans. If I repeat Thursday’s effort this weekend at the track, I’m sure I can shave off a half minute from my time. Then I can revisit the store and show them my undeniable cell phone proof to gain entry into the top heat!  It would be surreal to rub elbows with the fastest of the fast; to appear competent and fast, if only until the whistle blows. Sadly, whatever accolades I would gain from being secondarily clumped with the running elite would immediately vanish once everyone started their running pace and I was left behind doing my whimper of a shuffle across the starting line.  Eyebrows would raise and I would only be able to defend my performance to a certain extent. Still, the thought is entertaining and something I cannot promise to renounce.
     I returned home to partake in another Friday night happy hour, wishing that I had nothing else to talk about. This week was the meeting of the minds with my doctor about my leakage issues south of the border, and now that my 2nd glass of wine is on board I can confidently proceed, ensured an empathetic online ear. We discussed all available options to control the ever present jostling induced dribble. We ultimately decided against pharmaceuticals which seemed not applicable to my scenario, but which I would have happily gobbled up in hopes of a dry run. We also decided against surgery. As some are unlucky in love, I am unlucky in surgery.  Instead, I opted for a home gym for the nether region. The state of the art device is newly on the market and looks like a miniature leaf blower outfitted with a deflated punching balloon over the nozzle. The entire apparatus is bubble gum pink, in what I can only assume was a blatant attempt to make it appear more female friendly. Apparently one inflates the balloon section once it is nestled properly in its southern headquarters, and then Kegles away with audio guidance and biofeedback provided by the machine. It is also equipped with electrodes that provide impulses to further zap the bladder control muscles into shape. While intriguing and somewhat exciting to have opportunity to channel electrical impulses through that area of my body, there is still the concern of potential interaction with my defibrillator, firmly implanted in the northern quadrant of my chest. I have not tried out my defibrillator yet. I would prefer to never test its capabilities, despite whatever surreal experiences may inadvertently be offered by a super charged bladder control contraption devised to tighten the spigot of my southern hemisphere. My father also has an internal defibrillator which to his dismay has inadvertently misfired nearly 10 times.  He likens the ordeal to the sensation of a laboratory frog flopping about on the table, and I am not keen on frogs in general. The fact that the medical community maintains an incessant fascination with electrical current as a means to resolve whatever ails me is somewhat concerning, but apparently not enough to make me reject it as a viable treatment option. My doctor is currently researching its compatibility with my other electrical force-field, and then there’s the ever present issue of insurance coverage. If all things are agreeable, I should be in possession of this gizmo within the week and stepping up my workouts inside and out, the envy of women everywhere! Just over 2 weeks to go and nothing but positives here! Giddy-up! I am ready to train!

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