Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Six Miles or Anatomy of a Run

My six-mile run begins and ends at beautiful Bethel Beach, which is acres upon acres of swamp marsh and vast expanses of  beautiful vistas. This one happens to be of dead trees, but trust me.  It's pretty.

In a fit of winter madness, I signed up for a 10K run at the end of March even though the farthest distance I'd ever previously run was 5K, otherwise known as half as far.

Oh, also, I am 47 years old and not exactly strutting around like some spring chicken, a term I seem to have grown fond of lately, no doubt due to my love/hate/mostly shock that there's no more spring chicken in my lifetime relationship with aging.

No matter, I gradually built up to barely running six miles.

My particular route begins and ends at Bethel Beach and takes me well over an hour, usually about an hour and nine-ish minutes.

Numbers, details, specifics and particulars are not my forte, which was made abundantly clear when I signed up for a 10K as opposed to a 5K.

My only goal for this 10K is to finish without walking.  Pace and speed are a worry for another year.* I was born a sprinter. Distance running is a foreign concept to me. 15 to 16 seconds for the hurdles, and that was it for me.  All done.

As such, this particular 47-year-old jogger is not used to tapping into endurance, which is really a clever word for patience when you were born a sprinter.

Distance running easily bores me, and that translates into my becoming completely unmotivated.

Which is why the Bethel Beach route is so wonderful.

There are many things to distract you from agony boredom.  These same things also distract you from wondering, about one mile into the thing, why you suddenly feel electric shocks shooting through your right leg, which quickly turns into your right foot feeling utterly and completely useless and numb even as you continue to plod along.

You wonder what would happen if you suddenly collapsed here in the Middle of Nowhere since you're dragging one foot like Quasimodo-- even if you're not entirely sure that Quasimodo actually dragged one foot.


Who would find you and how would they know who to contact?

This is what flashes through a disturbed person's mind when they're a hypochondriac 47 and running six miles.  In the Middle of Nowhere.

That's why I look forward to seeing these goats.

These are the very same goats that sprung loose and jumped directly in front of my car one time.

(Click here for that story and photo).

Now, though, the goats and I are BFFs.  They call out to me whenever they see me, jolting me out of my Quasimodo-like foot deformity/death is nigh thoughts.

The little shed below is near the goats.  I compliment it every time I go by, but not out loud.

The goats might think I'm crazy.

Eventually I get to around the two-mile mark and remember there is a very legitimate reason why my right foot feels numb and electricity is shooting through that leg.

A couple of years ago I actually did lose some use of my foot attributed to nerve damage caused by......wait for it.....sitting at the computer too long with my legs crossed.

A nerve conduction test (also known as Modern Day Torture condoned and performed by doctors nationwide on a daily basis) confirmed there was significant damage. A year later, though, everything was just about back to normal, like the doctor said.

Click here for my 2008 post on that delightful experience.

Anyway, it starts to talk back to me on these six-mile runs, that cheeky little nerve.

Daffodils  are barely visible to the right and left of this house if you squint. 
Or pull out a magnifying glass.

After the goats, I pass some boisterous chickens who always make it clear they're the boss of their territory. The chickens mean I am close to this gorgeous house, which always beckons me to pay her a little attention. I'm very happy to oblige even if around this point I'm not feeling so great.

The goats, shed, chickens, and this house do a good job of distracting me from all that though.

There. That's a little better.  That sea of yellow on the right = daffodils.

My favorite part of the run is when I see a red barn off in the distance.  The red barn means I'm nearing this lonely horse, who always says hello even if I do look like Quasimodo a little distressed.

This horse tells me I'm nearing the halfway mark, the turning around point.

Poor baby is for sale. He always looks so forlorn.

And I am all about turning around and heading back.

Here's what the turning around point looks like in summer.
(This was taken a while back.)

This is almost 3 miles from Bethel Beach, where the car is. So even if I can't run back I am forced to at least walk.

However, I've not been forced to walk yet, electrical shocks, numb feet, and  absolutely ridiculous thoughts notwithstanding.

Usually the run back feels better than the first half, and I get to see the horse, the chickens, the house, the shed and the goats all over again.

They really do a very good job of keeping me motivated, even as I wonder how many teeth would be chipped (or lost) by falling face first on the pavement when my foot finally gives out.

That last mile in to the car can be brutal, even without the irrational thoughts. Actually, irrational thoughts make way for mind games at this point.  I have to convince myself that if I just keep going to the end, I'll win the lottery and be able to make ends meet and perhaps take a trip to Bora Bora.

I end having overcome certain negative thoughts by focusing on wholly unrealistic, yet positive, thoughts. And it works.

For some reason, however, my time gets worse each time I do this.


Thankfully, I'm not doing it for the time.

I'm doing it for the goats, the chickens, the house, the horse.

But most of all for me.


*This week's Gazette Journal features a story about an 80-year-old man on Gwynn's Island who runs six miles every single day, even in winter, unless it's raining.  80 years old!  Also, he's running the same 10K at the end of the month.  


Anonymous said...

Can you teach those goats to sing Gospel Chorus ? --Or at least bleat, "Step on, step on" to encourage you?
Maybe you can be energized on your training runs by listening to Edwin Starr's "Twenty Five Miles From Home" --at least the second part, when he sings "I got FIVE more miles to go--over the hill, just around the bend..although mah feet are tired, I can't lose my stride-- I got to see my baby again..

growing wild on waverly lane said...

Husband was always obsessing over getting me a goat. It is one of the few things I have never owned. If I had a goat, I would name him "Festus Hagen" after the Gunsmoke character. FYI

I have to start walking for the Richmond 10K I'm supposed to walk. I hope there's a big party at the end of that rainbow with bands and crab hats and something fun.

Country Girl said...

I could never get into running. I find it hateful. And now I can't run anymore, so the point is moot.

Ann Marie said...

I could have written this with the swap of a few key animals... give me a crab, a dolphin, numerous dogs, a 16 bazillion seagulls and we got the same story lol.

It is about FINISHING not winning... at least that is what I keep telling myself.

It is right now 509 am I am on my way out of the door to go to boot camp... I think I have a problem. My sanity has totally left the building.

Mental P Mama said...

Awwww. You are going to rock it! Make sure you always give yourself a rest day. I am going to send you a training schedule for our half;) Take it easy. And, please buy that sad horse. Your mama needs him.

Dghawk said...

So glad your traing is going well. You have only a week and a half before the big race!

And now a post script to your post on turkeys: I was reading my hometown paper on line a while ago (the Charleston, WV, Gazette), and it seems a flight from St. Pete, FL was landing at the Wayne County Airport, when 3 low flying turkeys flew into the side of the plane. Unfortunately, the gobblers didn't make it but they damaged the plane enough that they had to bring in another plane for the return trip causing a 5 hour delay.

Dumb birds.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

LLC-Unfortunately the goats are rather monotone, and they don't understand the concept of harmonizing, so I'm afraid gospel is out. It's each goat for himself bleating to the beat of his own drum. Great song...

Wild on Waverly (WOW) - It's only a week from Saturday away, and, yes, there will be bands and crab hats involved. Get ready.

CG-I hated it too, at least distance running. Don't ask me why I started this whole thing.

AM-You finished an 8K last weekend AND are doing the boot camp. Pretty soon we'll be calling you Jillian. Looking forward to next Saturday.

MPM-Thank you. Looking forward to the schedule and we WILL do that half marathon Veterans Day.

DGHawk - Well, between what I saw in my back yard and what you've described, I'd say turkeys are pretty adept at flying--but perhaps, as you say, not entirely the brightest birds in flight. Your story reminds me of The Fabio Incident at Busch Gardens, except instead of a plane it was a roller coaster/Fabio's face that made contact. This is the second time in the past days I've been reminded of this incident. Strange...