Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Never Take Yourself Seriously

Photo: Victor Bezrukov, Flickr Creative Commons

Take the title of today's post to heart. Never take yourself seriously. Thinking you're important enough to be taken seriously only leads to bad things. Self-esteem is a myth propagated by psychology departments of major universities and the pharmaceutical companies who make billions off of people who think they need to love themselves. Screw that. Self love just makes you an asshole.

That being said, I made the mistake of taking myself seriously about that whole running thing I wrote about last week, and I've got a feeling I'm going to pay for it, physically and emotionally, before it's all over.

Anyway, today is the first day of my training regimen to hopefully be able to run that 10k race in Atlanta in July. Technically, yesterday was the first day, but according to the schedule I found online for novice runners training for this sort of thing, Monday is a rest day. I participated lightly in tennis practice, but I'm not supposed to push myself, so I didn't. Today is when my training gets tough. I'm supposed to run a mile and a half today. I'm just not sure how successful I'm going to be. Do you realize the last time I ran more than a hundred yards in a stretch? Last week. It was about a quarter mile and I was still trying to catch my breath ten minutes after I stopped moving. Before that, it was more like ten years since the last significant run.

Of course, I'm not exactly starting off here as a couch potato. I play tennis on a regular basis and I can manage multi-mile hikes with a 40-lb pack without much trouble, except for the steeper hills, a trouble I blame on the fact that I live in one of the flattest places in the country. The Great Plains are hillier than this. Despite that, a mile and a half seems a rather ambitious start to me. Still, I plan to slog through my first day and if my experience a decade ago is still relevant, I should be able to run this without walking by next Tuesday, if not earlier. Hmm. A decade is an awfully long time. One third of my life to be exact. Maybe this is more stupid than I thought.

If you're curious about the schedule I plan on using, I found a 10k training guide for novice runners by some guy who wrote a book for marathoners. I looked it over and it seems entirely reasonable. Of course, I'm not ready for that schedule and I have plenty of time, so I'm starting with the 5k novice training guide to get started. Most "Rest or run/walk," and cross training called for by the two guides will be taken care of by tennis practice, although I do plan on walking at home with my wife and little Gandhi on my off days.

Of course, I've mentioned before that I suck at sticking with things, but I've actually gone out of my way to give myself incentives to stick with it this time. I took someone else's advice and bought a pair of expensive (by my standards) running shoes by Brooks. The logic? If I spend a lot of money on shoes, I'll feel obligated to use them. Also, the more obsessive I allow myself to be, the more motivated I am. It's like with beer. I have to restrain myself from turning every trip into civilization to becoming one big beer-hunting excursion. I drive hours to play in tennis tournaments even when I know I'll more than likely lose in the first round. It makes me seem stupid, but I've stuck with those hobbies. Besides the shoes, I've also told everyone I know who would actually care what the hell I'm doing (and some who wouldn't through this blog and Facebook) that I'm planning on running that 10k in July. The reason there should be fairly obvious. Hopefully, I fear shame enough to keep running from it until I can finish 6.2 miles without walking.

And so far, so good. I bought the shoes and they're probably the most comfortable pair of shoes I've owned in a very long time. I been wearing them around to break them in and they already feel broken in. I just wish they weren't accented with red. I'm not much of a red guy. I was going for the pair that was last year's model and was discounted $30 from the original price, but they didn't have my size. That pair was accented with blue. Blue is better than red. I can deal, though, because they're mostly gray and white. I also just found out that even though I paid more than I wanted, I apparently got a good deal on the shoes I ultimately bought anyway. I didn't pay close to what they're listed for there. Also, when I drove around my school measuring out a path for my 1.5 mile runs this week, my very first guess turned out to be perfect. The odometer hit 1.5 miles just as I pulled up to the spot where I started. I even remembered to pack my running shoes and my mp3 player, fully loaded with fresh podcasts, to keep me entertained on the move. If things keep up this way, I should be breezing along at Olympic pace within a week. Of course I know good things only set up a harder hit for when things start going wrong. Now, for the rest of the day, I'm going to be worrying that I wore the wrong underwear for this. Chafing sucks.


Julie said...

I have never been a runner so I can't judge but I will do my best to tease you mercilessly if you fail in your goal. You're welcome.

Courtney said...

Every time I start to take myself seriously, I'm immediately reminded that I am full of shit.

Also, I like red.

A Free Man said...

I find that when I by expensive kit I end up feeling guilty about it when it ends up collecting dust in the closet.

Any podcast recommendations? I'm always looking for new ones!

Jacob said...

I'm pretty sure most of what I listen to you already know about. This American Life, Hardcore History, Stuff You Should Know, and Stuff You Missed in History Class.

I also recently started downloading The Moth podcast. It's a storytelling show where people tell a story (usually true) in front of a live audience without notes. A couple of their shows have been rebroadcast on This American Life. I also listen to some of the segments from Science Friday on NPR, although I've often already read about the topic in the news before the show and will skip those segments.