Home » Bad Advice » Running Scared (with no ashtrays in sight)

badger_runI decided not to hit Snooze this AM so I could get in an extra cigarette before my introduction to the Honey Badger Running Club down in Plymouth at 6:30. That turned out be a good idea because I had time to map out my drive to ensure I wouldn’t be late. I mean, who wants to be late on their first day? Not a problem. I had loaded up my iPod last night with about 70 minutes of songs in case I ran longer than my 2-mile goal for the day. If 70 minutes isn’t long enough, no big deal, I’d set it to “repeat” just in case. By 5:45 I had everything I needed: shoes – check; heart rate watch – check; water – check; extra coffee – check. Perfect. I had time for one more cigarette before cleaning up and heading out the door.

We met at Bramhall’s at 6:30. I was a little early, so being punctual was no longer a worry. TJ, Rob and Craig were there and some guy named Tim showed up in his hi-vis running shoes, a Nike visor and earphones that ran up inside his shirt. Shit, this guy’s a pro. That’s all I needed. Kim showed up soon after and this was her longest run ever. She seemed pretty nice, so I wouldn’t wish bad things on her. Soon we were waiting on some other chick named Pam. I was ready to get started but the group decided to wait. I certainly didn’t need people like Pam slowing me down. I decided to check and make sure my music was queued and ready to play. I just hoped I wouldn’t have to listen to the same songs too many times if I went over the 70 minutes. Pam showed up shortly thereafter and we were good to go. Finally! She seemed nice enough, even though I was already behind schedule for the day. Maybe I’d wish just a couple of bad things for her.

It’s not that I’m a big runner, or exercise freak. But earlier in the week I had decided to look for a new challenge, and TJ recommended this HBRC thing. I actually hate running and exercise of any kind. I don’t get it. I’ve heard about this “runners’ high” that people get, so maybe if I got into enough, I’d get to find out what that is.

For the rest of today’s runners the goal was 11 miles. I was going to run 1 mile, turn around and run the 2nd mile back to my car (unless that runners’ high thing kicked in, then I’d be good to go for a while). We started the run at 6:50. I thought there might have been some type of group warm up, but no. I wasn’t expecting music or anything, but I figured there was some sort of pre-run stretching ritual. Turns out the “warm up” is the beginning of the run.

After about 20 yards the red flags started to appear. TJ was talking about how nice of a route this was for a run and there were horse stables and something else, but that’s when my hearing started to go in and out. I think he said that it was hard for him to talk when he first started running, but that it got easier. I may have mumbled something back, but can’t be sure. I was scrambling for my headphones. My breathing quickly became labored. When I put the first ear bud in, all I could hear was each quick breath in then out…in then out…was TJ still talking? I looked ahead to see that Tim had left us all twisting in the wind. Turns out he’s running the NYC marathon next week. Show off. TJ was still talking, but now he was talking to Pam who was actually jogging backwards so she could face him while they chatted. WTF? I yanked the ear bud from my right ear. The noise from my lungs was amplified and I couldn’t find the “play” button on the iPod. I needed an escape plan, and fast. I now feared that the rest of the group (which was running in pairs) could hear the wheezing from the back of the pack. My knees felt like they might buckle. Up ahead there was a bend in the road. I hadn’t quite reached the mile mark where I had originally planned to turn around, but there wasn’t time to get hung upon details. I mumbled something to TJ which went something like “here’s where I turn around.” I’m not sure what he said back, and then I heard a couple other voices from ahead which sounded like encouraging cries back. There was no time to process. I quickly ran to the other side of the street and headed back to the car. I didn’t want to turn my head back to soon, so I waited until I thought they had rounded the corner and were out of sight. I counted to 10, gave a look back and they were long gone.

I immediately shifted my pace to a steady walk. As I slowly made my way back the 1/2 mile or so to the car, I thought of the songs I spent so much time carefully picking out last night that I didn’t get to hear. It took about 20 minutes before my lungs would allow me to smoke another cigarette without coughing. Luckily, I didn’t break a sweat today, so maybe I can wear my workout gear again tomorrow without having to wash them.

Journal, here’s what I know:

1. The hardest part was showing up today (I think that’s what TJ said to me as I was turning around).
2. The 2nd hardest part was smoking that cigarette when I got home.
3. I’m grateful to have been invited to the group and today’s run.
4. Today I will log my .6 mile and be proud of my accomplishment.
5. I won’t wish bad things on Pam
6. Tomorrow I will try for .7

Good luck to Tim at the NYC Marathon and to the HBRC at next week’s 1/2 marathon.

Long Live the Honey Badger!

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