In Which Jenn Runs A Sucking Simulation

Better Off Ted deal with it

I am a treadmill girl. We know this. But I know this, too: I need to get more experience running outside with terrain and inclines and all that jazz (thanks for the heads up on that fact, MCM 17.75K). And since it was a nice day on Monday, I decided I’d give the whole running outdoors thing another go.

Guys, I think I’m gonna just rip out my lungs like the Vidiians did to Neelix that one time.

Neelix loses his lungs
Don’t worry; he got some holographic ones. And then a new one from his girlfriend.

Turns out it’s not just cold they don’t like – it’s pollen, too. And they constrict, and I can’t quite manage to breathe properly. It’s caused me to pack up and go home to my dear sweet treadmill on more than one occasion. Indeed, I considered doing it this time. Or maybe just doing half outside, the other half inside.

But then I had I thought. The thought was this:

What if this lung issue occurred during a race? What if it happened during the Marine Corps Marathon? What if it happened during Dopey? What would I do then? Would I just pack it in and DNF?

Correct answer: NO. I might send companions ahead without me, sure, but I would most certainly not give up. I would find a way to deal with it.

Okay then. I decided that this unhappy lung thing would be a practice run. I would practice having a bad race. A Sucking Simulation, if you will. My chest was tight, yes, but not debilitatingly so. I felt okay to keep going.

So I ran on. I had to take a lot of walk breaks, but I ran on. And, interestingly enough, my lungs actually improved. The constriction pretty much went away. I was still unusually wheezy in the ol’ chest cavity and I’m sure everyone I passed wondered why I was huffing like I was running through fresh paint, but matters did improve. I never really got into the swing of things, but I tried some new routes through the neighborhood and got a little hill running in. Mission accomplished.

My final average was a 12:25 minute mile over eleven miles. This is not remotely good compared to my treadmill runs. In fact, I’d go so far as to label it downright bad. BUT. The Marine Corps Marathon has a pacing requirement of a 14 minute mile. BAM. Well within the limits.

In short, my Sucking Simulation taught me two things:

  1. My lungs CAN adapt. So far, they adapt imperfectly. But maybe if I run once a week outside during the summer, there is reason to hope they will become stronger in the case of air adversity.

  2. I may have a bad race – but a bad race can still be a successfully finished race.

Oh, also, can anyone recommend a less cumbersome means of hauling your water around while you run? I got tired of carrying my giant bottle might quick; I wound up hiding it in a storm drain and taking sips every time I doubled back by. I am leery of water belts because I have these things called hips.

Have you ever run a Sucking Simulation?

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  1. a) every single one of my runs now are sucking simulations.
    b) I will carry you across the finish line(s) at Dopey and I will chase you up the last hill to the finish at MCM. I feel somewhat responsible for your registration so YOU WILL FINISH. I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU BEHIND!
    c) I try to plan the runs to go past places that will refill a smaller bottle for me. Thanks, Potbelly of Bethesda.

  2. Ummm, yeah, even my races are sucking simulations at this point. But great job for sticking with it and acknowledging that even if you have a bad race, you can still successfully finish! Woohoo for positives! Assuming I don't die myself trying to complete Goofy, I will definitely help Nicole carry you across the finish line! …or she may have to carry both of us, we'll jump off that bridge when we get to it. And unfortunately I water in my hand, but it balances out carrying my phone in the other. Hmmm, I should see if I can put the water bottle in my awesome pockets?!?! (sorry, random thought!)

  3. Way to stick with it! As far as hydration goes, I feel like I've tried every option ever: carrying normal water bottles, getting a mini water bottle that clips onto my fuel belt, etc. I kinda hate all of them but they are a necessary evil, and the least worst option for me is a water bottle that is designed to stay in your hand, like, all slim and comfy with a hand strap (that has a little pocket I can put keys or a MetroCard in). This is the model I have: but they also have ones that accommodate phones, etc. It's really a lot better than a normal water bottle. I also try to pick running paths that have bubblers (or, as people who were not raised in Wisconsin call them, water fountains).

  4. That might be worth giving a shot – my water bottle is pretty hefty and in addition to being heavy hurts my hand after awhile, so maybe straps would be a help. Or maybe I can convince the neighborhood to install water fountains along the path. Everyone would benefit!

  5. I usually switch it from one hand to the other every couple of miles or so, which helps too!

  6. potentially. they're awesome pockets that are actually on the side of my leg (where pockets belong!!!) I just haven't tested out their stretch capacity yet.

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