Greetings already faithful (or at the very least still curious) readers! We are officially in week three of training – which looks blissfully easy but it’s probably a trick in some way that I have yet to discover. Before I talk about my developing relationship with the gym there is one very important piece of news to announce: NINE INCH NAILS IS COMING BACK THIS YEAR! A new album? Maybe! A new tour? Could be! …Okay so maybe not everyone thinks that that is important, but their music has practically been the soundtrack to my life so it’s important to me. Anyway. Since I’ve never seriously trained for a race before, there are some serious running accessories that I’m beginning to notice I do not have. Actually, don’t let me limit that statement to just accessories – there are some serious wardrobe items missing as well. It’s evident to me now that I have been a bit of a “fair weather” runner: warm, sunny, happy weather and never more than 10 miles (well aside from the ½ marathon that ONE time…) How have I come to this conclusion you might ask? It’s quite simple really – I have ONE, count them ONE pair of running shorts (which have been seeing the laundry machine A LOT these days) and a handful of ONLY tank tops – most tops with sleeves (of any length) that I own are not of a moisture wicking material and therefore make me question why I even have them in the first place. All but 2 pairs of my running socks are the nearly non-existent ankle socks (the other 2 aforementioned pairs are knee high and compression – apparently its one extreme or the other for me, haha!) and as for my shoes…we’ll talk more about those poor beasts next week. I have nothing to carry with me as a hydration or calorie holding device. After seeing the article published on the site last week (or the week before? You’ll come to learn I’m a poor judge about the passage of time) about drinking more water and being properly hydrated I immediately began to question if I was taking in enough fluids – not just while training, but…EVER. I mean sure, I keep a glass of water by my bed at night with the intention of consuming it when I first wake up the following morning…or maybe even during the night should the sudden need for water arise. But ever since I caught my cat drinking out of my water glass one night before I went to sleep…it’s not so much a thing these days. So I took my water bottle and applied some sparkly skull and crossbones stickers (there are 6 skulls total – which I know is an absurd amount of water, but that’s just how many stickers would fit and it looked weird otherwise lol) up one side and wrapped a rubber band around it – each time I refill the bottle I move the band up a skull and have a visual clue as to how many bottles of water I’m consuming per day. The first couple of days that I set out to track it I think I waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay overcompensated. I was drinking 4 or 5 of them each day – and had to pee at least once per hour. PER HOUR you guys. I have witnesses. They’ll tell you. It was getting beyond ridiculous. There were times I’d barely make it back to my desk to sit down and my bladder would be all: HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDE…(if my vocal chords can’t achieve the greatness of Adele I’d like to imagine my other organs could be capable somehow) and I’d be leaving the room again. So lesson learned - I’ve toned it back down to an average of 2 or 3 a day and that seems to be much better for me. Maybe it was all of those years I spent working retail and not having many opportunities for drinks (or bathroom breaks for that matter) that conditioned me into having a bladder more akin to a camel than to my fellow humans… But let’s go back to my wardrobe issues – it’s my total lack of multi-season runner fashions that made one thing certain: in order to get the necessary training in for the marathon (you know, so I’ll be less likely to die) I’d have to…*shudder* join the gym. I hate running inside. Hate it. Absolutely hate it. Did I mention I hate it? I just want to be sure that’s clear. (I hate it.) But there is something I hate just a TINY bit more than running inside – and that is being cold. Sure this winter has been warmer than the polar vortex hell-scape that we endured last winter (that I STILL saw people running in…I don’t know if I should find you insane or be impressed – maybe a little of both?), but remember my fair weather wardrobe? Yeah. Running outside is so not happening just yet this year. It’s still cold enough to me that on weekends I usually make myself a nest of blankets and refuse to emerge from them as long as possible. So…the gym it is. I’m pretty sure I hadn’t been on a treadmill in almost a year that first day that I went back to the gym. It was crowded that day, being resolution season and all, and I was happy to be able to get onto a machine without having to wait or try and amuse myself on something else. Since I wasn’t officially training yet, but still wanted to have some idea of where my abilities were; I decided to run a 5k to help me establish my baseline. I don’t remember how far into the run I was when all of a sudden I was thinking too much about my feet: what they were doing/where they were/how they were falling in front of each other/which part of them I was landing on/how I was pretty sure my socks had shifted and I was grinding the toe seam into my pinky toe on my left foot and into the big toe on the right one/how often one or the other of them hit the treadmill at the same time something happened in whatever song was on/how my shoes used to be SO SHINY what the hell happened to them? Yes. All of those things. All at once. And I COMPLETELY lost my footing. I don’t know how many of you have ever lost your footing on a treadmill – but there is this horrifying 20 million years that passes in slow motion (I told you I’m bad with time!) where you just KNOW you’re going to die. You know this because your feet, which normally are (relatively) so good at keeping you upright are sticking out behind you and your top half, most importantly your HEAD, is about to come in contact with a still moving track. Yet somehow – I didn’t wipe out. In those horrifying slow motion moments where my feet were propelled out of my control…I somehow managed to awkwardly hug onto the bar on the front of the treadmill (you know that bar where the heart rate monitor thingies are?) and a bit frantically pressed the button to reduce the speed. I’m pretty sure my face was partially smashed onto the vitals display screen too. While doing all of that I somehow managed to get my feet back on the track to take a few clumsy strides and then, as I caught my frazzled reflection in the mirror I took a slight bow to my left and to my right. Whether or not anyone actually witnessed this miraculous event – or saw me bow – I don’t know. As if that incident on the treadmill weren’t enough - I was working on a 6 mile run last week…I want to say I was about 4.25 miles into it or so. I was going along at a pretty decent speed, and I was in the middle of observing one of those surreal moments in the gym where everyone moves in time to the music playing in your head (please tell me that has happened to other people…) when all of a sudden: …I’m not sure what the correct sound effect word is to describe the feeling of your headphones suddenly being ripped from your ears, unplugged from your iPod, and almost mangled in the track of one’s treadmill all at the same time. But whatever that word is…it’s that. THAT happened. (WHAM? BLAP? KAPOW? ZOUNDS? Hmm…I’ll figure it out.) I just have to remind myself that things like that don’t happen EVERY time I go to the gym – and that if we were really keeping score in the battle of me vs. treadmill I’d be winning. Well…so far anyway. The runs themselves have been feeling better than I expected them to – though there have been a couple of scheduling conflicts that have interfered with my gym time…so admittedly I haven’t run either of the 10 mile assignments that we’ve had so far in New2-26.2 program. I know. I probably should have been grounded after missing the first one…but training can’t be all work and no play – so I went out and partied at Higher Ground and saw Reel Big Fish instead. The mild hangover was totally worth it. Until next time! -Sarah (Who wishes they had made more than 6 new episodes of the X-Files)