Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Nerd in Fitness 2 - First week of running

There's a saying that all beginning is hard; but really, the initial steps of self-improvements have, despite my new found passion and drive, been beyond whatever pain and exhaustion I'd imagined. Yes, this did come as a surprise; I'm supposed to be a tough guy, despite my calm and nice demeanor. I don't cry to movies and get dentist operations done without sedation. How bad could a simple little start up be?

Initially, my only interest was the running-program. Running has always been the thing I used to loathe the most, so it made sense to start out there. The program in itself is rather simple; you go out three times a week and shift between running and walking, with increasing magnitudes of the former.

As mentioned in my previous post, the first trip was surprisingly easy. I've always had good legs, so I suppose that was to be expected. I actually ended up going for another run the following day, though I was supposed to rest (moron mistake number one there) but I still had good fun with it.

At this point, I think the mere taste of success is the cardinal point. Ones personal expectations are dramatically low; feeling this accomplishment was an amazing follow-up to the turning-point in my life.

One piece of wisdom that hit me pretty early on, was the rule number 1 of running.

Running Rule #1: Thou shall always feel like dying at 1 HP and thou stamina drained. But this be folly.

There's is no such thing as an easy run – not in the beginning.

At the initial phase of running; a debuff is placed on you that constantly tickes for an insane amount of stamina. Trust me, if you're like me, you'll see that precious energy evaporate like some unseen foe was constantly mana-draining you. But it's one of those tricky debuffs that don't exactly kill you once you hit 1 HP (WoW-runners, think of Prince Malchezaar – it's safe as long as you remember to run!) But it's enough to make you scream on the inside and go into blind panic. Yet somehow, I seemed to make it back alive every single time. Then I collapse, and lie at the floor, staring into the ceiling, wondering whether the next run will be the one that gets me...

At least one more
 Then, of course, there's the second one. This one is kind of obvious, but it's important.

Running Rule #2: Everyone has a higher level and more skill points in Athletics than you.
Yes, everyone has to start at the bottom. Yes, the mountain is tall. Yes, most people around you have been at this shit for years before you.
But holy hell, why does it hit you so hard in the face?

Pretty much everyone I ran past during the first week sprinted past me like a dervish. Eventually, I started making mental Roadrunner sounds in my head when it happened. Add on top of that, that the program required me to make occasional breaks, which would always be when someone would pass by me. At first this made me feel terrible and like I really didn't belong out here with all the grown-ups. But after the first couple of runs, I kind of started to adapt.

One thing I later noticed, was that semi-guilty-stare-down-into-the-ground gaze some people had when I ran by them, just as they were out for a walk. As if I'd just poked horribly at their bad conscience or something. Running is truly all about impressions for everyone.

Just remember; there will always be someone out there with a higher Challenge Rating than you. You don't hit that level 20 just from scratch; slaying those annoying goblins is just a mandatory fact.

For my first week, I mainly stuck to the forest because it was secluded and seemed safe. That taught me my third rule of running.

Running Rule #3: Don't fuck with the rules for 'Difficult Terrain'
This is entire subjective perspective here (like everything else on this blog, really) – but there's a significant difference from running uphill or downhill.
At first, I told myself that I ought to sprint up those hills...
Well, derp.

But it was way bigger than I thought. Difficult terrain has fucked me in wargames for years, and now it comes back to haunt my real life as well. Great. One thing that truly devastated me when I started running (see rule #1) was that I didn't pay heed to elevations, meaning I'd just trudge on and think it would be okay. It wouldn't. 

If you're like me, you need to respect such things. At least because it made me feel pathetic for not even being able to cross a small rise like that. But things get dicey real fast, and after I started regulating my running whenever I hit such passages, running them has been much more pleasant.



Eventually, I made it past my first week of running. I managed to reach the 3 minute marker (note; that would be a 2+1 marker, as I call it. Meaning, two minutes of running, a break of four minutes or so, then another one) – Pebbles, you may say, but coming from this guy who has been out of it for 25 years or so? I'd say it's pretty nifty! Following up with the exciting next week soon!

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