Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm not going to go for the easy jokes.

I almost didn't want to mention my new training method to Bubba, because I knew he would make a bunch of lewd jokes and not take me seriously, and with the pain I'd caused myself with this new thing, I really needed to be taken seriously - in the sympathy way.

So I tried to be all, "Hey Bubbs, can you hand me the remotey because I'm so wrecked from my run this morning that I can barely blink my eyelids?"

But, of course, he was all, "What happened this morning? Did you run farther than normal?"

And I was all, "No, I just tried this new training thing and it tried to kill me."

And he looked at me with the suspicious raised eyebrow of someone who doesn't understand why someone else is inflicting so much pain on themselves when they had every ability to avoid it and was all, "What is this thing and why did you do it?"

And I was all, "Oh, it's this thing where you run super hard for a set period of time and then slow down for half that time and then repeat, sort of."

The raised eyebrow did not come down. He just continued staring at me trying to tilt and lean my unbending body toward the remote.

"Uh huh. Sounds complicated."

"It's called a fartlek and I don't know what it means and it's awful and I'm really sore so just give me the remote and stop staring!"

OK, so I lost it. I really wanted the remote. And I knew that someday I'd say the word and have to face the jokes, so I just decided to jump in front of that bus sooner rather than later.

You know, the Fart Licking, Stink Liking bus. The one that requires beans for fuel and sounds like vvvvvvvvvvvvvrrrrrrrrrrrttttttt when you're doing it and so on.

Oh yes, the jokes were classy. And just as bad as I knew they would be. Because it's impossible to take something like a fartlek seriously until you go try it and then you know - it is seriously painful.

And, for the record, "fartlek" is a Swedish words that means, "speed play", which is appropriate because when you run fartleks or you fartlek or you're fartlekking (I have no idea how to conjugate this word or what part of speech it belongs to) you're sort of playing with your speed. Essentially, you alternate running at your fastest pace with running half the time you ran your fastest pace with your slowest pace. And you repeat until you're nauseous, jelly from the waist down or dead.

I was a combination of the three when I rolled into the driveway after Tuesday morning's piddly 23 minute run. During which time I did the following:

1 min: Warm up at 9mm pace
2 mins: Fastest pace (somewhere between 7 and 8)
1 min: Slowest pace (almost walking)
2 mins: Fastest pace (somewhere in the 8s)
1 min: Slowest pace while trying not to throw up (jog barfing)
1 min: Slowest pace while trying to get my pace back to respectable levels (between 8 and 9)
2 mins: Fastest pace (in the 8s)
1 min: Slowest pace while contemplating throwing myself in front of the city bus (probably somewhere in the 10s)

And so on until 23:35 had passed and I'd arrived THANK GOD WHY AM I DYING? back at my driveway.

Plus, it was around 39 degrees when I was fartlekking about town and it was the first time I'd rocked the running tights and my hamstrings were still way sore from all the yardwork I did over the weekend when I had to prune back my meadow (sounds weird and porny, right? I know I'm not the only one that thinks that.) for winter and and and and and it hurt.

I even had that same tunnel vision, wandering the yard aimlessly while groping at inanimate objects for support, ripping clothes off experience that I usually only expect after a race. And, honestly, this probably goes to show how ineffectively I'm pushing myself normally, if one fartlek run can put me in the infirmary. I even had that burning lungs things going on, and I hardly ever get that, though it could have been because it was so cold out.

But, and for this nothing else matters, I took a minute off my previous time for this route.


Which means that, if I don't puss out between now and Thanksgiving Day by reverting back to my lazy No Garmin No iPod Run At Whatever Comfortable Pace ways, I can best my 5K time from last year's Turkey Trot.

And that, folks, is my sole training strategy right now. I just don't want to blow my 5K PR.

But, since I've been so whimsical and lazy about my running strategy lately (specifically, I have not had a strategy and have decided my route and distance based on the number of cute dogs I see along the way), I had to come up with something extreme.

Running fartleks seems to take care of that requirement rather handily. Because it feels pretty fucking extreme when all my parts are screaming at me to STOP GOD DAMN YOU and I keep going as my vision narrows to a pin point on the horizon and I hope to hell I don't crap myself or trip on the crack in the sidewalk I can't see because of my exertion-related vision loss.

I'm not usually this extreme with things, but this ongoing desire to improve my pace has me doing crazy things.

Speaking of which, I plan to fartlek again tomorrow morning and, Crazy Part Alert!, I will be fiddling with the Garmin tonight to get it to beep at me at 2 mins, 1 min, 4 mins, 2 mins and so on so that I don't have to waste the energy of swinging my eyeballs down a million times to check my watch as I run and barf.

Apparently, I hate myself.


  1. Wow, you don't just have a bush. You've got an entire meadow to groom! Awesome.

    Also, I've done fartleks. In high school. For cross country. I HATED them. And I have actually run to the point of barfing, which is hard to believe if you know me at all. I hope never to do that again in this lifetime.

    You kick ass!

  2. I don't want you to barf on the sidewalk or crap yourself. But for all entertainment purposes- I hope Bubba is on camera stand by.

  3. I've read about this training/workout method before, only it was called interval sprints. Better by far than a fart lick. But hey, whatever floats your boat.

  4. Hahaha. Well, that word would definitely open you up for comments, but it's not too bad. I was quite relieved -- when you started off and mentioned lewd and training method in the same sentence, I was afraid you'd bought a shake weight. So, thank you for that!

  5. You are, I presume, familiar with the term "masochist." Because you appear to be one.

  6. It is the quickest way to see huge improvements. Those Swedes. They know what they are talking about. We did hours worth of fartleks in the pool when I was a kid. You are going to do so great.

  7. Me too, same as Wendy. Fartleks in high school cross country with Mr. Binford. Oh, hell. I am amazed and impressed you do them now! Of course you do. You are awesome.


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