Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I know why I love running

These past three days have reminded me of a huge reason why I love running.  It is so wonderfully simple.  All you have to do is throw on a pair of shoes and run out the door.  It can be light, dark, or raining; you can leave from your home, office, car, or wherever.  You can also get by with carrying next to nothing.

Now with that in mind, lets explore my attempts at alternate activities to keep my endurance up.  To prevent my inevitable decline, I need to be out there almost everyday doing some form of aerobic exercise. 

On Sunday, I rode my bike for 2 hours on the NCR trail and made a little over 27 miles.  I've never rode a bike for that long, and have not used one in years.  I was more than a little sore after that one, but content.
On Monday, I rode my bike for almost nearly an hour.  I would have liked to go longer, but I ran out of daylight.  This was in part because I was still not completely proficient at reattaching my wheels.  The bike only fits well in my car if I remove both wheels (both quick release).

So I think, no big deal.  On Tuesday, I was planning on hitting up the gym for some aqua jogging, then riding the bike afterwards and probably getting close to 2 hours of activity in.  Of course, I had not been in a pool in years and do have a slight fear of water.  Regardless, I jumped right in and did my best.  It worked reasonably well, though next time I'm using two water belts so I actually stay afloat.  Since I'm so damn thin, the belt just rides up, causing my level of buoyancy to be over my head.  It's difficult to aquajog when it feels like I'm sinking the whole time.

However, I was encouraged knowing that the aqua jogging would be a viable answer.  I decided I would be back as soon as I could get a 1 week free pass to the gym I tried.  In the meantime, I thought I could get another hours worth on the bike, but oh was I wrong.  Once again, by the time I got out, daylight was fading.  I had stopped off to buy some much needed accessories such as blinking lights and a cage to hold water.  Once I was finally ready, I once again had trouble getting the bike together, especially in reduced lighting.

After some extreme frustration, and half wanting to just to take off at tempo pace screaming "LOOK HOW MUCH SIMPLIER THIS IS," I decided to just take the rest of the night to figure my bike out and eliminate some of this trouble.  So I figured out a way to get the bike in my car with only removing the front wheel, which is 1000x easier to put back on.  With my blinking lights installed, I also knew that I could ride in reasonably lit areas at night.

So Wednesday rolls around and I now have a master plan taking form.  I decide that I'm going to bike to work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  On the way home, I can bike to the gym, do some ellipical or aqua jogging work, then bike home.  On Monday, Wednesday, Fridays when I don't have time in the morning to bike to work, I can just go for long rides in the afternoon, and possibly stop off at the gym at least one additional time (to make sure I get my money's worth).

To move this plan along, I had to practice some city riding (since my commute to work would be in the city).  I decided I would park in Canton near where I work, ride across town to roughly Pig Town, then hit up the Gwynns Falls Trail for some harder paced riding.  My assumption was that the urban riding would be a bit slower since I would have to be careful.

Riding through the city actually proved quite fun and a lot safer than I thought.  I stayed predictable, was very visible, and always assumed no one could see me.  The biggest danger in city riding has to be cars pulling out of street parking, or car doors opening, so I kept a big eye out for that.  I was actually surprised by how careful other drivers were around me, I felt more noticed on my bike than I ever did as a runner.

I got to the Trail in about 30 minutes, and decided to go for another 15-30 minutes out on the trail before turning around.  It would be a long ride overall, but about half of it would have been at slightly relaxed pace.  Everything was going well until I decided to stop for water.  At that very moment, when I was over 9 miles from my car, I realized my rear tire was flat.  A very small piece of glass wedged into my tire was to blame.

Of course at this point it started drizzling, and it was getting colder out.  I was actually closer to my apartment than my car, but both would have taken hours to walk to while dragging a bike with me.  Thankfully, I was able to call one of my running friends who so graciously picked me up and drove me back to my car.

So once again, despite my best efforts and intentions, I did not accomplish what I wanted to.  Once again, I became so frustrated by the fact that everything seems so much more complicated than running.  If I wanted to do a long run, tempo run, or speedworkout, all I had to do was get out the door and it would be done.  Now, every time I step out there, something goes wrong.

Trying to stay positive has been tough, but I won't give up.  Tomorrow I'm going to buy an emergency pump, replace the tube in my tire, and buy 1 or 2 extras to carry around with me.  I will have my pass to the gym by Friday, and I will get on an elliptical and back in the water soon.  I'll have to wait until next week before biking to work now, but that's ok I suppose.

My MRI is on Monday and the follow up appointment is on Wednesday.  By that time, it will have been 3 weeks since I've done any serious running.  If I do not have a fracture, it may almost be healed by then.

In other news, I have my bib # for Boston....#444.  They are given out based on qualifying time, so I know I would be starting near the front.

If I'm healthy for that race, I already decided I'm running it with nothing to lose.  Even if I blow up and have to do the 10K death march, I don't care.  This experience has really made me appreciate running that much more.


  1. I couldn't agree with you more about why I run. If I've got my shoes I'm good to go. None of this worrying about gyms and bikes and flat tires.

    Glad to hear you're at least finding some sort of alternative to running until you can get your MRI.

  2. You certainly don't need a stash of tools and spare parts to go running!