Thursday, January 5, 2012
Beer Running, Tandem Treadmilling, And Running In New Year
Ages ago-well, more like 16 months ago-I had the good fortune to be selected as a test subject in a study for an article in Runner's World magazine regarding running performance and alcohol consumption. It was a great excuse to run, drink some beer, and go through all kinds of cool testing that I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. I chronicled the experience here, here, and here, and then just waited to see what would come out in print. After the story was pushed back several times, I wasn't sure that we'd ever see it in print. Well, this week, it finally ran (pun intended). It was a hoot to read it, and remember how things went down with people whom I was only somewhat acquainted with back then whom I'm fortunate enough to call friends now, including "The Lightweight" Bryan (featured in one of my posts this summer after his amazing Leadville Trail 100 finish), and badass trail runner Cynthia, a top finisher on the women's side at the Imogene Pass Run this year and regular at the yoga studio where I've been practicing since August. It wound up running at half the length it was originally written, and with none of the photos taken during our study ran in the article. So, if you'd like to chuckle at Bod Pods, and running with all kinds of crap strapped to the face, you'll have to check the pictures in my above links. I know we looked pretty funny, but I'm thinking we're a bit more photogenic than that frightening Homer Simpson picture on pages 54 and 55. Although I know the group was too small to draw any major conclusions, it was cool to see that we ladies held our own.
Another big event for the week was an annual gathering to celebrate and run in the new year. I went last year, and it consisted of some hula-hooping, a little Kentucky moonshine courtesy of Bryan and Elizabeth, and a freezing/life-affirming midnight run during which I donned a running skirt, swore a blue streak until my legs became numb, and then ran from 2010 straight into 2011. To the outsider, it might've seemed strange, but this was such a cool way to ring in the new year that I knew I'd be doing it again. This time around, Elizabeth was putting together a video compilation of the year in running, and all while back visiting family and friends in Kentucky. It started to get amusing when I'd get texts asking "what race did so-and-so bruise their foot in?" or "what race had the bowl with the animal in it for an award?" but it was fun to recall each of these races while being point woman in the research department. Although I'd helped some, I really had no idea what Elizabeth had come up with, so it was a real treat to view this and check out all the experiences had by folks in our running community.
There was other fun at the party as well, including the revival of tandem treadmilling. My friend and Dirty Girl teammate Shannon joined me for an attempt at treadmilling for two. All I can say is that the results are not pretty; we'll have to practice if we ever hope to be better than the likes of Ace And Gary, featured early in the 2011 running video. There was also a surprising musical portion of the evening, when we learned that longtime club member Liz can play a mean guitar and sing. And, yes, there was alcohol, oh alcohol. I don't often cut loose like that, but it just sort of went that way between peach smoothie awesomeness being blended in the kitchen, my own beer on hand, and some preservative-free red wine being uncorked late in the evening. This was all while some of us were decked out in the night's theme of "Polyester, Or Clothes That Should Be Recycled." It was a curveball, but I'd say we rose to the occasion.
After that night of craziness, I had one of those rare "Man, I am not motivated to do ANYTHING" kinds of days, but did manage to make it to the hot yoga community class in the afternoon. Runner/partygoer/peach farmer/smoothiemaker James was there too, and I laughed when he said he was going to be keeping an eye on me to make sure I didn't pass out. Once again, though, a little bit of physical activity proved to be just the ticket to hitting the re-set button. It was a brutal class after the party, but I felt a gazillion times better at the end.
Getting back into the swing of things, I'm excited to start a surprisingly busy January as far as running and racing goes. Track night is still going strong, and I had a workout this week that is proving to me that even a little speed work goes a long way. We have a self-supported 30K and 60K coming up this weekend, and I'm legitimately toying with running the 60K as a training run. It's probably an awesomely bad idea, and I may very well do the safe thing, and stick to the 30K. The weather's been great this week, though, and I am hearing the call of a longer run. I'm also buying into the theory that sometimes you have to go a little to far and cross that line to see that of which one is really capable. I won't be the first to finish and may very well be the last, but that's not my motivation. Watching that video on New Years's Eve, and seeing some of the impressive stuff accomplished by my friends, from first Imogene Pass Run to 50-milers, 100-milers, Ironmans, and beyond...it gets me to challenge and push my own self-imposed limits. I know the road to success in such events is paved in sweat and blood, but that's what will make success so sweet in the end. 2012 is going to be all about pushing through those walls, learning to be limitless in goal-setting, and holding myself accountable to doing the work to make those goals.