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For all of you wanna-be runners out there (And I say that with the utmost respect, as I am one of you). A word of caution: If it’s been awhile since you laced up, might I recommend not lacing up on 60 degree inclines.

I recently had to opportunity to go on a “Freedom Fest” in San Francisco. I cashed in my miles and booked a solo trip for some much-needed rest and recuperation. I was all sorts of jacked up to see the city, explore, eat, wander aimlessly, and kick-start my running career. (Did I mention in a moment of panic and sheer aimlessness I signed up for a half marathon in less than 6 months?!!!) I flew in late in the afternoon, found my way around the city on the BART, had a lovely sushi meal, explored a little, and promptly fell asleep early.

I awoke the next morning before 6AM, lets face it, old habits die-hard even on vacation. I sprang out of bed, dusted off my running pants, and laced up; fresh-faced, bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed, ready to seize the run! I went down to the hotel lobby where they were rocking (loudly) some GaGa song, and felt renewed energy I haven’t felt in a long time. I was pretty darn motivated. I walked out the front door and stopped. People were passing by the hotel, clutching their collars around their necks, holding fiercely to their umbrellas, and gawking at me with my running shoes on and headphones in, as if to say “She can’t be serious.” I stood there a moment, both taking them in and allowing them to take me in. By God it was raining in San Fran, and these people thought I was bananas! I flipped to the next song on my playlist and took off running in the rain. I don’t know if you’ve run in the rain or snow before, but where I’m from, if it’s not a freezing rain, it’s a blast to run in! I quickly passed the “huddle walkers” and started off on my laced up adventure.

I made it 1.5 miles. Up hill. Both ways. I thought my legs were going to just break off and walk away, possibly middle-toe me on their exit. My lungs were burning for oxygen, my head was dizzy. It was an impossible run. And it was my first since August.

Fool.

But I was proud of myself. I was alone in a new city. I was out on a run in the rain. I was rocking 15 minute miles up hill the whole way. I deserved a Starbucks for this! I stopped in at the nearest SB, ordered my traditional, and walked confidently out the front door. It was here that I realized, holy biscuits, I’m totally lost in this city. Up is down and right is left in SF. So much of the city is surrounded by water, so if you can see over the hill to know there’s water there, depending on where exactly you might be in the city, that could be west….that could be south. Or was it North?

No sweat I thought, I’ll wander. Maybe do some Christmas shopping along the way. Maybe I’ll even stop in and disturb the Prada people with my sweaty, rain-soaked mess of an excuse for a human. I wandered aimlessly, fully believing my direction would right itself in the end, and sipped my SB happily. Eventually, my venti was gone, and I was starting to recognize where I was. I was feeling so upbeat and positive that I thought, “Why not run again?”

Let me just point out this obvious flaw for you: Do not have a Starbucks after a run, then decide to run again once it is gone.

This was a fatal flaw, lets just say by the time I ran through the front door of the hotel I must have been a sight to see: Dripping wet, red-faced, bent in half, near dead. The broken elevator could not get there fast enough, and there was no way I was running another 6 flights of stairs.  Needless to say, I made it to my room, and spent the next few hours recovering.

Always be motivated and excited by the newness of your situation and be certain that your coffee intake is situationally appropriate.

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