Monday, January 11, 2010



Running (and Skiing and Swimming)
With The Devil


My body is seriously pissed at me right now. In all seriousness (all "Joan Rivers has taken possesion of my body aside) I have begun skiing, running, and swimming. Simultaneously. Not as in I am running on skis in a pool; as in I started doing all three of these sucking-way-worse than cycling sports in the same week. This is what my cross training (oh and it is making very cross) week looks like in review:



  • Monday - Night XC Skiing. I only have two speeds: Fast and lying on the ground moaning


  • Tuesday - Crash-ridden XC Skiing/repeatedly smashing my ass on rocks


  • Wednesday - Rode 20 mile roundtrip to work on the cross bike. I felt like I had never pedaled a bike before.


  • Thursday - Started Masters swim team at Cambridge Rindge and Latin. An hour and fifteen minutes of cold, wet, chlorinated hell.


  • Friday - Drove to work, walked up and down three flights of stairs nine times, then played some Wi driving game with my nephew. I got my ass kicked.


  • Saturday - Ran home from work. Perhaps one of the dumbest things I have ever done. And that's a bold claim.


  • Sunday - More XC Skiing. You ever worn your disc brake pads down to metal but continued braking anyway? That's what I was doing to my body by that point in the week.

I hurt.


Above: Looking at the Charles River through the eyes of a bridge. Regarding XC Skiing wear Colin said to "Wear all your cold weather cycling gear (ok, maybe not the helmet) for now and don't waste another minute worrying about it." I took that literally — wearing my bibs with leg warmers (how else was going to hold my leg warmers up eh?). The river seems to have frozen in mid-flow. M did not like this photo, I have no idea why.

Swimming is hard. And the funny thing is, my kicking is the weakest part of my swimming game. Throw a leg buoy between my legs (well, don't throw it, and aim a little higher will you?) and I can truck right across the pool; make me use a kick-board and I get half way across the pool and begin to sink. I'm not joking. I stop. My feet cramp. Apparently "flutter-kicking" uses nothing like the same muscles in your legs that cycling uses. My coach (that's right) also tells me that my ankles are "too tight" which is "typical of cyclists and runners." She also tells me that I my back hair is "not hydro-dynamic" and that if I pee in the pool one more time I'm off the team.


I used to swim, but when I used to swim I would basically splash around aimlessly for an hour (if that) and then go take a communal shower with middle-aged Japanese businessmen who would slap their bodies in rhythm with their atonal singing. I really just went for the showering.


The addition of a coach to the equation makes for a brutal workout. I can't imagine having a coach waiting for me at the bottom of each of my hill intervals, "stop talking to me, I'm trying to hold my vomit in, leave me alone!"


And the running. Don't get me started. Oh, you don't actually want me to start? That makes me very sad. Fine, I'm going to go over here in the corner and tell this potted plant about my running.


I've been reading this book about a guy who goes through West Point, then Airborne school, then Ranger school on his way to Afghanistan. In Ranger school there's no "adaptation phase." They don't go out for a ten minute slow run before they go out for a six minute mile eight mile run. They just DO IT! And they probably do it in boots, not some $140 running shoes. Ya half the guys get dropped from the program due to injury (even the author has to go through a lot of it with his arm popping in and out of its socket), but this is what inspired me to run home from work.


Here's my LOGIC. My cousin Dave went through Ranger school and became a Sergeant, serving in Afghanistan. I used to play G.I. Joe with Dave when I was six-years-old, and here's the thing: I could totally hang. Therefore it goes without saying that I too can go out for a 5+ mile run — cold. Hell, I could probably breeze right through a 13 mile forced march with an 80 Lb. pack too.


So I drove to work with a bag full of running clothes and went through with my plan. At the end of the day I set out on my mission. I ride this route all the time on the bike, it doesn't seem that far, but in a pair of shoes alone it felt very far indeed. I tried to motivate myself by pretending that I was really in Ranger school, "OK when I finish this run I'm going to graduate...and then I'll get shipped off to Iraq where my nuts will get blown off by an IED." It was 23 degrees out, so the thought of a nice, warm IED warming my nether regions seemed pleasant.


Running sucks. But the nice thing about running is that you get a lot of thinking done. I did. I must have thought: "This sucks, this sucks, this sucks" 1350 times during my 45 minute run.


8 comments:

Miriam K said...

Wow. You are so dead to me. Dead.

linnea said...

Sounds like you're peaking for the Gunstock winter tri... Sorry, no swimming...

the original big ring said...

Running makes me feel like someone is taking a jackhammer to my fillings . . . . I have a lot of fillings as I grew up in the land of fairy dust and gum drops.

more photos of shorts over tights please.

Raineman said...

Being a naural sinker, your post has inspired me to try peeing sufficiently into the local swimming hole so that it gets saltier, therefore increasing my bouyancy when I try to swim across it.
Perhaps your coach has not yet developed an appreciation of such science.

zencycle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zencycle said...

Blogger Miriam K said...
"Wow. You are so dead to me. Dead."

Gee, _that_ honeymoon lasted only slightly longer than this one

Rigidnsingle said...

Gears? Running? Swimming? Whats going on?
We dont even know you anymore...

Fat Chance said...

Love the picture of M! But I think maybe you should pull it down before you get a proper ass kicking.