I woke up this morning and lay in bed for a while. No alarm woke me up. No alarm woke me up because it’s Sunday and there’s no reason to have an alarm set for Sundays. Six days a week my alarm goes off at 6:15. Five of those days I get up, get some coffee, read the news while listening to NPR and drinking coffee, make breakfast, and put on a suit (my professional armor) and go to work. On the sixth day I get up, make some coffee, drink my coffee listening to NPR and read the news. Then I put on layers of running gear (my armor against the weather) and go on long runs with the Liver Team. This morning none of this needed to happen. Sure, there would still be coffee and NPR, but no armor was needed. I knew I should go for a run and get my legs loose after yesterday’s 14+ mile run, but as I lay in bed casually checking my email and then looking at the weather (14 degrees when I woke up), this thought crossed my mind “I don’t wanna!”. I had flashbacks to being a child and dreading the thought of enduring an entire school day. As I lay there slowly groaning to myself, I realized, I don’t hafta. There was an entire gym at my disposal with things I don’t use that I could use!
If you know me well enough, you know I have a bit of sports ADD. I’ve tried a lot of things. Soccer, baseball, swimming, track, skiing, sailing, rowing, lacrosse, rugby, tennis, and I’m sure I’m forgetting one or two here. The only ones I’ve ever been truly and innately good at are skiing and running. My legs can take a thrashing my mind can’t always comprehend. The runners up include sailing and golf, both are two of the things I can relate to my father about. Sailing solo was a great pastime, I was a much better crew on multi-person boats than as skipper. I’m great at reading the nuances of the wind, especially on Lake Hopatcong with all its strange coves and points that cause the wind to swirl and pulse in unpredictable ways. Golf is where I finally started to bond with my father, which was cut short by an injury (or rather and series of related injuries) which has left him unable to play anymore. I also stopped playing regularly just as my short game was turning into something otherworldly. Everything else was just dabbling. Including rowing. Through ages 14-16 I had a near obsession with rowing. I borrowed (and by borrowed, when I tried to return the ghetto rowing shell, was told I could keep it) from a family friend and pursued the sport with no training, no direction, no proper equipment, and ended with a lot of blisters. So, today going to the gym I decided to use one of the Concept 2 rowing machines.
On my way to the gym, my decision was solidified by the fact that everyone who ran past me was looking miserable and was stutter stepping. Although, I started to feel guilty that I wasn’t being badass and training in the cold. Then I remembered I ran 14+ miles yesterday in the cold. I got to my gym, hopped on the machine, and set the workout to a 5K deciding that was good enough. A 5K on a rowing machine is not a 5K in a road race. Many people think rowing is a sport of upper body strength. While having a strong back is important, driving with your legs is where much of the power in rowing is derived from. By 1/3 of the way through, my glutes were on fire and my forearms weren’t exactly happy with me either. By the time 1600 meters was left on the mark, I couldn’t help but think that normally I’d laugh at one mile. This time it felt like an eternity. For every one stroke I did I yielded roughly 9 meters. When I got to 400 meters I couldn’t help but envision myself rowing one lap around a track. I gave it my all for the final 200, because, well, normally I could sprint that like it was my job. I wound up finishing in 22:22, only a ittle over a minute slower than a normal 5K race pace for myself. I don’t know how rowing and road racing translates, but I’m pretty sure I need to start running 5K’s faster.
In other news, last week when I was at the gym, the personal trainers were playing with a body fat calculator. Being kind of curious I asked if I could have mine measured, so I held the machine in front of me and it returned 7.2% body fat. This is approaching professional athlete level. I asked if they could get all old school and bust out some calipers to take another measurement. 6.8%. Let’s just average the two, that’s still only 7%. I’m not saying this to brag. I’m saying this because it’s unnerving me. I know my metabolism is fast, but damn. I went out and bought some of this to up my calorie intake. I wouldn’t mind hovering someplace in the 8-9% range. This might be a reason why I’ve been so tired lately.
This week’s mystery injury? That funky electric feeling in my heel? Well, first let’s examine mystery injury diagnoses of past months. Guillain Barre Syndrome. Lupus. Achilles Tendonitis. And this time? Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. Well, 1 out of 4 is great, other wise I would be in some serious trouble. It turns out it was nerve issue. My calf was tightening up doing god knows what causing some nerve to be very unhappy with me. I stretched (a lot) for a few days. When I started running yesterday for about the first mile there was still some shock feeling, then it went away. Nothing afterwards. Nothing today. Just keep stretching.
I would like to thank Ashley Burk, my uncle Don Clark, family friends Sandy and Michael Hornick, and my very own father, George Kimmerer for the great late week surge in donations! Help me keep the momentum going!
Song Stuck in my Head Passion Pit — The Reeling