So, judging by the reaction I got to last night's post, I think I may be a touch addicted to EVE to the detriment of other things. Let's find something to replace that with!
I've always liked running. As a kid, I could effortlessly run 1500m races and do well, and win at 400m and stuff. I tried some longer distances too, 4k, 5k. It was good. But then I got older, discovered alcohol, self abuse, developed growing-related knee pains I could use as an excuse and suddenly university happened. Just as suddenly, university finished, and I was thrown out the door into the real world.
Fast forward nearly 18 months and I've become, in my own words, “a fat bastard”. I'm not really fat, but my general fitness has dropped off as a result of years of ignoring myself, years of inactivity sitting at computer for work and play and years of eating truly terrible food. Like… I've taken deep pleasure in eating some of the least healthy food imaginable. Ever heard of a Kentucky Hot Brown? It's like everything that will kill you, conveniently consolidated into one, big plate. Essentially, it's the Carol Vorderman approved debt solution of the junk food world.
It kinda has to stop, y'know? I've become increasingly unhappy with my body image over time. Not publically - it's not stopped me from leaving the house or anything, but it's been nibbling away at the back of my brain. Every time I look down I see a belly that I've worked damn hard to grow that, to be honest, I don't want. If I don't start to fix it now, when am I going to start?
Ever the geek, I browsed to the SomethingAwful.com forums. I can't tell you how much I love this website, and how significantly superior I think it is to Reddit. Actually, I can, but just ask me, k? There exists a forum called ‘You Look Like Shit’. Front and centre there was ‘The Running Thread ‘13’. What's great about the SA thread structure is that the first few posts are a well written dump of the collected knowledge of the Goons that inhabit SA on a given subject that's been iterated on for a few years - no hunting around for good information. The running thread is an incredible example of this practice - worth the $10 door tax in itself. Advice for every part of running and every style. Equipment, distances, surfaces, trail running, warm ups, races, training. The whole lot. It reminded me of when I used to run, and enjoy it. “I should run, again” I thought, “I've been trying to have a weekly run. I should do more than that - that time I ran in the rain made me irrationally happy. I should do it more.”
So I did. I went down to the gym and ran 5k.
I really enjoyed it. Like, really enjoyed it. There's a disconnect that happens - my brain turns off, and I go into the ‘zone’. Time flies by, not much happens in my head apart from thinking about the run, and then it's over. I come out, back into the real world and feel better about everything. I went back to the thread and read more, and read about good running form and read about all kinds of groovy things. I decided my first investment in my health would be shoes. So I did research, read up all over the place and finally, with the help of RunBlogger picked up these:
They're pretty awesome. Comfy as hell, and the really push me into the barefoot style of running - up on the balls of my feet, bouncing and upright, supposedly more natural & better for you - with the zero drop design. It feels really good. After the first 5k in them, I felt like I could take on the world, and had little to no tightness/soreness in my legs. After the second 5k? Yeah, I was hobbling about the place like a crazy old hermit today. Old, creaky muscles being used and abused in new ways - I don't think I've ever ran 10k over 2 days before.
Tonight's a well deserved night off and I'll be back on the treadmill tomorrow for another 5k, hopefully.
I'm tuning my brain into pacing correctly, at the moment - when I sprinted, I would run as fast as possible on the treadmill for 1500m, walk it off and stop. I tried doing that the first night - I wasn't doing 5k quick enough for myself, so I blasted off at high pace and got very out of breath very quickly. It didn't feel good, but I dialled back and all was well. The next night? Slower and steady pace, just above the overall average from the night before. Tomorrow night, I'll go slightly harder, but again at a constant pace. I'm still exploring and understanding my limits so I can build on them - not just meet them and give up.
One funny thing that I've noticed, though - I don't like running with headphones in. I think it's the only activity I can happily do in silence.
Five weeks left with a treadmill just downstairs… I wonder how far I'll run before I come home. Let's have a sweep - closest to the distance wins a salad.
(Also, let it be known that this about running from The Oatmeal is one of my favourite things on the internet)