Week 4 has me showing my age with a reference to the iconic flexible green man from the 1980's........ good old Gumby! I never thought he would have anything to do with running, so I guess it shows how much I didn't know 4 weeks ago.
Our Monday night training run was going to be 4 miles this past Monday. I'm on to the trainers now, I already knew this would be more than 4. I was actually looking forward to it all day, in seeing if I could do it and just getting out for some physical activity. What I wasn't looking forward to was the wind. I was dodging branches in my driveway, I could only imagine what I'd be dodging on my run.
After our words of wisdom we headed out. I fell into my groove and noticed Joe jogging up beside me. I think the entire running community knows Joe. 36 out of 36 Boilermakers under his belt is no small feat. Joe helps with training and seems to just want to help people become runners. He loves the sport and wants to share that passion with newbies like me. I figured Joe was just popping in for a chat and would run on by. He started talking to me about the Boilermaker, giving me tips, and then giving me tips on my running. He told me the wind was hard, but that I could do it. He told me indeed we had some hills, but he had some surprises for me. Culver Ave was the run, and the hill is long and gradual, and running into the wind was like running through frozen molasses. I wouldn't recommend it. Joe told me he was going to tell me how to run the hills. I was just focused on survival. I could barely answer him, and I was really hoping he was going to run along. No such luck. He watched me run the first hill, and told me we would stop and get water and run all the way back. I was thinking he may be the Boilermaker guru, but this man was nuts if he thought I could run 4 miles. Actually 4.14 to be exact.
Joe told me to look down at the hill, not to look up at it. To pump my arms, and adjust my pace. Somehow I made it to the top and was now sprinting down. He told me to drop my arms, just drop them to my side. He said I would notice the difference right away. And I did! My shoulders and neck felt better. My breathing got under control. Suddenly I could talk and wasn't struggling. He told me there were 25 elite runners and the rest were average Joes, no pun intended. The elite runners will keep pumping their arms down hill, but I needed to recover to be able to make it back up more hills. I needed to be Gumby. To relax, to be that flexible green guy. I used this tip on the rest of the run and true enough, I made it back without stopping. I actually made it back! We had run from the start line to MVCC and back.
I am gearing up to run my first 5K this weekend. Armed with the things this group has already taught me, I think I am ready. My goal is just to finish. I am racing against myself only, and I am excited to show myself what I can do. Go Gumby!