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.
|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:
- 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.
- 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?