WEATHER: 24 degrees. Again, chilly, breezy, and dark.
MILES THIS WEEK: 20
MILES THIS MONTH: 35
So OK. This schedule I’m following is a little intimidating. Leaving aside the fact that I’ve never followed one of these things to the letter, I’ve also never committed to 7 days a week of running. And I’ve certainly never hit 70 miles per week, so the prescription of “50-70 miles per week” freaks me out. I’m not sure I’m ready for that kind of relationship with running, which is currently neck-and-neck with my thesis in the competition of who is my de facto boyfriend.
I actually wondered for a long time what sort of amateur runner reaches that (unnecessary) level of masochism/obsessiveness. I’d look at these crazy-ass schedules and just put the 70-mile-per-week question up there with the other unanswered questions of the universe, like (a) how birds have sex or (b) why people think Wilco is so damn great.
(As it turns out, (a) much as you would imagine it, only inexplicably way more disturbing, and (b) still a mystery.)
And then I met the Herd of Stringy Men.
Backstory: I lived in Minneapolis for 3 years after graduating college, and in that time I encountered many a brutal winter (three, to be exact) — winters that bring single-digit temperatures at 6 AM, making a runner want to step her spandex-encased ass right into oncoming traffic, if only because she KNOWS that ambulance is going to be heated.
Anyway. The Minnesota Distance Running Association gave us all a place to go two nights a week, opening up the Metrodome and letting people run around the concourses. And though there was a wide range of runners with a wide range of abilities working their way around the concession stands, I often managed to fall into pace with this band of middle-aged fellows.
And though I was never “one of them,” I once, in the midst of a 600m-repeat-fest, heard them going on about their mileage, and how “I couldn’t break my plateau until I got past 70 miles per week” and “Yeah, Bob, that’s really the only way I ever got my weight under control,” and “No kidding, Stanley, and plus now I have that attractive rubbery-skinned veiny thing going on all up and down my biceps and calves” and “You sure do, Richard! Can I rub your legs sensually later?” and “By all means, Stanley; I have some shea butter in my gym bag!” and so on and so forth. Of course, I wasn’t listening to any of this later stuff because I was still stuck on — SEVENTY FLIPPIN’ MILES PER WEEK! It was like discovering the dodo or coelacanth or something.
And then their spiffy watches would all beep IN UNISON (which never failed to creep me out on some level) and off they’d go for their next interval. Because these men did nothing BUT intervals. Presumably for 70 miles a week. All 140 pounds of them.
Anyhoo. These men and I eventually reached a point of eying each other with cautious respect as we untied our shoes after each Dome session. Until this one night when I pulled out my ponytail and squeezed like a quart of freshly produced sweat all over the concrete.
Stringy Guy #5 (and keep in mind that I had never had a conversation with ANY of these guys) looked me square in the eye and said, and I quote,
“Don’t act like you’re not impressed!” I yelled. He vomited. I threw up my fists triumphantly and bounded out to my car.
Actually, I think I sort of shyly put on my hat and skittered away, without even bothering to tie my shoes or my sweatpants, so by the time I got to the bottom of the stairs my pants were around my ankles and my shoes were coming off and my hair was still dripping and, thorougly shamed, I went home and watched 6 episodes of Ally McBeal while sucking non-dairy creamer straight from the container and
I’ve lost my point here, which I think had something to do with running gazillions of miles per week, and also slamming Wilco. I don’t recall, and I’ve gotten progressively tipsier as this post has progressed.
HAPPY TUESDAY! I’m out.