T-33: The Countdown Begins

Welcome to the Warrior Path

The countdown begins: Warrior Dash, the third instalment, takes place in five weeks’ time. This year, we’ve invited more friends and family to join us: a dozen mud-covered participants in all. I began training earlier, too, though three months is hardly time enough to generate any kind of cardio endurance. I’ll be in better shape, sure, but I’m quite certain that I won’t be loping effortlessly through the forest anytime soon. I would be gratified, nonetheless, if I performed little better than Warrior Dash I, July 2011, when, overconfident, I started too fast, got a wicked stitch within about five-and-a-half minutes, and hobbled through the rest of the race, cursing my stupidity.

Last year, I jumped into training in a fit of terror only  three weeks before the race. I kept an online training diary throughout, figuring the consequent blog material would serve as an additional motivator. I quickly became addicted to my daily run-climb-crawl-and-report routine.  Last year, my performance was predictably pitiful*, and as I slogged through, I swore I’d never do it again. Six months later, in Deerfield Beach, Florida, I did it again. This time with no training whatsoever but a modicum more common sense. I learned the wisdom of starting at the back when I’m not in shape, running easy and basking in the relative joy of a flat course.  There is still so much to figure out: how to work with a nervous stomach; how to attack (or not) the endless hills of Horseshoe; and the all important, what costumes shall we wear?

And then there’s the training.

This year, after a long winter of inactivity, and a month or two of erratic attendance at the gym, I committed to being better prepared. In mid-May – nine weeks before Race Day – I began to walk-and-run regularly, with fitness workouts wedged in between. When I flip back through my training journal, I am pleased to see how much I’ve managed to show up since that time. I feel better, too, happier on the whole, more energetic, fitter and stronger.  The fitness program my personal trainer designed for me  helped, fool that I am for a great interval workout. I am still slow; I still get tired, but that’s okay. The point is to show up and give it what I’ve got. Whatever that is, we shall see.

And so far, I’ve learned (or been reminded?) of a lot, too:

  • Exercise is the world’s best anti-depressant and  mood booster;
  • When you’re fed up with work, a one mile walk  (or two, or three if necessary) is an excellent antidote;
  • When you’re fed up with your spouse, (or more likely, with your own attitude about your spouse) a, tough workout will rearrange your perspective pretty quickly; and
  • If you have a massive tension headache – the kind that starts in the middle of a shoulder blade and runs tautly up the side of your neck – then a run in an excellent way to work it loose.

Really, I should know these things by now. At forty-four, I have trained plenty in a variety of sports and disciplines. I know the truth. I just forget sometimes, and fall into the occasional pits of inactivity and consequent despair.

T-33 and counting!

*“Pitiful” is relative, I suppose. I actually landed in the top fifteen percent of my age-group, placing 82nd out of 530 participants. I suppose I should stop whining and start running more.

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