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kyle cassidy

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This is not a fitness blog, but I just ran the #PhillyHalf Marathon... [Nov. 17th, 2013|10:37 pm]
kyle cassidy
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[music |the replacements: alex chilton]

This is not a fitness blog, but I just ran the #PhillyHalf Marathon...

... so I'm going to talk about it real quick, and then I'll get on to the week with George R. R. Martin and last week in Hollywood with movie people and comic book superstars and all that. So bear with me.

When I was a kid my great-uncle taught me a card trick and said "You'll have to learn to appreciate this one yourself, because nobody else is going to care about it," and that's been sound advice for life. I know most people's eyes glaze over when you start telling gym stories, but it's important to me and this is where I write the things that I want to remember.

I signed up for the Philly Half Marathon sometime after the last one because I didn't want to have an excuse not to stay in shape and I ran at least 13 miles one day a week along with two other shorter runs. This time I wanted to break two hours -- I wanted to break two hours the last time but missed it by six minutes.

The organizers said we should get to the race TWO HOURS before start and expect it to take an hour to get through security ... so I went to bed at 7:30 the night before and set my alarm for 2:55 am. Got up, ate breakfast, cleaned the house and rode my bike out in the darkness. It was an interesting time to be awake. I could see the runners creeping across town, they were awake, and maniacs driving like drunken vampires trying to get home before the sun, they were awake too. I parked my bike under an overpass because it looked like it might rain. In actuality security took, really, less than one second. I didn't even have to slow down. As I was walking to the gate some guy said "do you have any bulky bags with you?" I said I didn't -- and since I was about to run 13 miles and essentially dressed as a superhero in skintight everything it was a kind of silly thing to be asking.

I wanted to try and find my friend Patricia who was running with the wheeled athletes (she wrote a guest blog about her training) and while a bunch of people let me through barricades, I got thwarted at the last one and couldn't get into her corral. So I snapped a photo and only just now did I notice that Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is blocking Patricia in the shot -- which might be why they didn't let me in. Anyway.....




Clickenzee to Em-hizzhonorisen!



I got into my corral ("green") and found myself standing next to the 1:50 pacer.

Pacers are people who are so freaking good at running that they can run at exactly a particular speed, so they get drafted (or possibly paid) to have signs with their pace time and if you want to finish in that time, you just stay near that person. I got this brilliant idea, which I let Twitter know about because Livejournal still doesn't have a decent mobile app.





The race started and I suddenly got a bit weepy thinking about how I felt a year ago and how far I'd come and as I crossed the starting line I forgot to start my GPS watch and then I got further distracted by award winning photographer Joseph Kaczmarek who shouted and waved from high atop a crane. He shouted, I waved, he snapped a photo, I found myself wondering if there'd be a cat in it somehow because every photo of a murder scene he ever photographs has a cat in it.



(No cat)


Thus distracted I ran an entire mile before I realized my watch wasn't tracking me, I turned it on and realized I'd lost sight of the 1:50 pacer, which was difficult because his sign had a bunch of freaking BALLOONS attached to it.




Waiting for the magic to start. Clickenzee to Embiggen!



So I got paranoid I'd lost him and I started running faster and sure enough, there he was, about half a block in front of me, so I started trying to catch him, which, in retrospect was stupid, because you're supposed to conserve your energy the first half of the race and go fast the second half (this is something called a "negative split" and all the cool kids are doing it) but try as I might, I couldn't close the gap so I kind of resolved myself to not breaking 2:00 -- this was somewhere around mile three -- and it got a little easier then.

yadda yadda sweat pain gatorade NINE MILES AFTER THAT

Someone from the Intharwebz made a sign with my name on it and was waiting at mile 12 and I figured that was where I'd make my move and I just threw all of the very little I had left into it.

Which reminds me -- I wanted to say something. Occasionally people will say "It's great that you love running" or "it's great that you found something that you love to do" and I want to point out I don't like running, it's kind of awful. I had a conversation with my nephew about this a few months ago, he's a real runner, like the cross country type with .02% body fat, and he said something along the lines of "successful running is just distracting yourself from the pain for as many fractions of a second as you can" -- and that's kind of it. It hurts, you see a lake you think "lake! I wonder if you can rent a canoe here" and hey! you've distracted yourself from the pain for like half a second and then it goes back to sucking again. So, anyway, I poured it on at mile 12 and it sucked and I tried to distract myself thinking "it's only ten more minutes, it's only three more songs, this is almost over" and then I thought I'm not fat anymore and this makes me happy, and if this is what it takes to make me happy, it's what I do. And the last mile got more bearable. I was able to keep that on repeat, more or less, (imagine that every 1/4 of a second you also think THIS SUCKS YOU NITWIT, STOP RUNNING RIGHT NOW -- that's what you're fighting against. I've wondered lately if the amount of discomfort is the same but the duration is different -- like you get the option to get all your pain at once rather than spread out. When I was heavier I was uncomfortable all the time -- my back hurt, I had difficulty sleeping, it was fatiguing to walk up stairs -- it's worse when you're running, but it stops when you finish.

Anyway, some minutes later, I crossed the finish line, Mayor Nutter, unexpectedly appearing out of nowhere, hi-fived me, and, once again, everything went white and I couldn't see. I was worried that I was going to have another "exercise related collapse" but they tell you to keep moving so I kept moving, but, of course, I was blind, which made it difficult. But someone hung a medal around my neck, and someone else wrapped me in a space blanket, and some guy saw I had my phone in my hand and he said "hey! do you want me to take your picture?" and he did.




Clickenzee to Embiggen!



And I walked for a long time in a straight line and eventually my sight came back, a little at a time and I kept walking. Since I hadn't started my watch at the right time I wasn't sure if I'd come in at under two hours, I suspected I might have, but knew it would be close. Eventually I found myself sitting against a tree with a bag of pretzels, germaphobically realizing that after hi-fiving the mayor who'd been there since 5 am I had the DNA of every person in the city on my sweaty hands and I was using them to shove food into my mouth; but I felt so good I can't really describe it.

So there's the truth.

I don't like running. But I like being someone who runs.



Official time in. I did it, knocking 8 minutes off my previous time.







(Patricia came in 1:59:17 in case you were wondering.)




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Comments:
[User Picture]From: coffeeem
2013-11-18 03:57 am (UTC)
This whole post makes me so very happy. So. Very. Happy.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-11-18 04:09 am (UTC)
that i know someone who wrote a ZOMBIES FREAKING RUN episode makes ME so very happy!
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[User Picture]From: trishalynn
2013-11-18 06:53 pm (UTC)
In contrast, this post makes me sad because I don't like the idea of running and part of what Kyle wrote (" I want to point out I don't like running, it's kind of awful") reinforces the fact that as inexpensive as it is ("just put on shoes and run"), it's definitely not the physical activity for me and I need to find something different to achieve my fitness goals.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-11-18 09:59 pm (UTC)
Once you've slogged through the initial awful, which is probably whatever it takes you to get up to running a 10k, then there's a lot of other stuff that doesn't hurt. Running 5k slow? That's no problem, and I can have a nice conversation with people and not really breathe hard running a 5k slow, I can enjoy the view and all that. But you kind of only get to that point by pushing at the bag that you're inside of. Running's a great thing, I imagine it's a bit like climbing a mountain where it's cold and wet and hard work but then you get to the top and you say "holy smokes! look at that view!!" -- The reason I started was that it seemed to be the most efficient way to get fit. Looking at the number of calories burned doing stuff I was like "well, I can spend a week on this elliptical or I can run 2 miles on this treadmill..." I'm not really sure if I ever like it, but I can tell you that you do get addicted to it -- to the point that you look forward to meting up with your running group so they can kick your ass and you can come in last but then hang out with them in the bar being sweaty.

Don't give up on it just yet.
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[User Picture]From: trishalynn
2013-11-18 10:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the words of encouragement, but I think what I really need is to get off my butt and find a place where I can do ballroom or belly dancing, as I also need low-impact exercises due to a neck problem. Pushing at the bag, though... something I need to think more about. (After I get used to reducing portion sizes, though.)
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-11-18 11:06 pm (UTC)
I think the most important thing is that it's regular, whatever it is, and if you like doing it, it's much more likely to be something you do regularly. that and portion control and you got it.
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[User Picture]From: Zoe Sotet
2013-11-18 04:16 am (UTC)
You broke 2 hours! Congratulations!

I think in the back of my mind I just always thought people who do stuff like this must just like running. I can't imagine putting so much energy into something I don't enjoy.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-11-18 01:57 pm (UTC)
I enjoy the accomplishment, and I feel better about myself, that's all good stuff. Ultimately I guess I enjoy all of this better than my alternative, which was to feel tired all the time -- I'd love to be fit from just sitting on the sofa, but I realize now it's not in the cards.
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[User Picture]From: dampscribbler
2013-11-18 04:44 am (UTC)
Congratulations! Sounds rather like the late stages of labor, before the birthing part, though I'm betting you get more sleep afterward.
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[User Picture]From: thebiblioholic
2013-11-18 05:12 am (UTC)
Congratulations!
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[User Picture]From: lois2037
2013-11-18 06:02 am (UTC)
Congratulations!
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[User Picture]From: howlokitty
2013-11-18 02:39 pm (UTC)
Cheering on my dog helps me get through runs. Like he needs the motivation.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-11-18 03:36 pm (UTC)
when i run with dogs it's usually them dragging me which makes it a little easier.
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[User Picture]From: ms_violet
2013-11-18 02:58 pm (UTC)
You're awesome and I'm so proud.
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[User Picture]From: tsarina
2013-11-18 03:15 pm (UTC)
You are really goddamn awesome Kyle, and not because you live this exciting life with authors and rock stars and everything. But because you did a thing, just for yourself, that was pretty hard and crazy.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-11-18 03:36 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks. I feel that way too. It's slow, but you just keep grinding at it every day and eventually, there you are.
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[User Picture]From: tripleransom
2013-11-18 03:16 pm (UTC)
WooHoo! Congrats.

Besides, now you look more like that skinny guy in your icon...
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-11-18 03:50 pm (UTC)
yeah, I think that was 1999. zowza.
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[User Picture]From: ceciskittle
2013-11-18 03:52 pm (UTC)

You gave me happy tears

Somethings that I have learned playing derby are.
Yes it hurts.
Yes that pain will go away, just in time for another one to come up.
Sometimes it totally is about distracting yourself long enough to finish.
Finishing is always worth it.
And this is the one that I have recently come to realize, I constantly need reminding and reassurance that it is worth it. It's easy to let "THIS SUCKS YOU NITWIT, STOP RUNNING RIGHT NOW" be louder than, "FINISHING IS TOTALLY WORTH THE PAIN, LOOK AT SOMETHING SHINY FOR A MOMENT AND DISTRACT YOURSELF". And today you are my reminder of that. Everyone has that voice, and the trick is to not listen.
Thank you Kyle.
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[User Picture]From: vampiress144
2013-11-18 04:34 pm (UTC)
\o/

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[User Picture]From: ladycelia
2013-11-18 05:20 pm (UTC)
Woot! Yaygoyou!
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[User Picture]From: aikigrrl
2013-11-18 08:15 pm (UTC)
This is exciting! Way to go. And I feel this way too. I dislike running. I like finishing and saying I did it.

However....I'm interested in this "everything went white" thing. Did you look into that further? That'd be concerning to me.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-11-18 09:17 pm (UTC)
"Exercise-associated collapse (EAC) commonly occurs after the completion of endurance running events. EAC is a collapse in conscious athletes who are unable to stand or walk unaided as a result of light headedness, faintness and dizziness or syncope causing a collapse that occurs after completion of an exertional event. ... EAC is perhaps the most common aetiology confronted by the medical provider attending to collapsed athletes in a finish-line tent,... EAC is now believed to be principally the result of transient postural hypotension caused by lower extremity pooling of blood once the athlete stops running and the resultant impairment of cardiac baroreflexes."

http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/45/14/1157
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-11-18 09:18 pm (UTC)
I had one after broad street that actually involved me ... collapsing ... twice. Bottom line, after you cross the finish line, don't stop moving.
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[User Picture]From: aikigrrl
2013-11-18 09:31 pm (UTC)
Ok, good to know! I'd heard that too, but didn't realize that's how it manifested.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-11-18 09:52 pm (UTC)
Apparently it happens all the time. I know to watch out for it now. So I either keep walking or lay down and elevate my legs. usually a combination of both. Just make sure if you feel like you're going to fall down, sit down first. :)
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[User Picture]From: aikigrrl
2013-11-18 10:07 pm (UTC)
I'll keep that in mind. I've only done 5ks, but I'm wanting to train for a half!

Edited at 2013-11-18 10:08 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-11-18 11:10 pm (UTC)
That's a good goal. There are a whole bunch of training schedules on line, pick a half with a cool looking medal a few months out and go for it! If you run easy and slow down when you get tired you won't go all fuzzy at the end :)
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[User Picture]From: lawbabeak
2013-11-18 11:08 pm (UTC)
Yay Kyle! Yay Patricia! Huzzah for overcoming the suckage of it!
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2013-11-19 02:43 am (UTC)
Very awesome!
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[User Picture]From: matociquala
2013-11-19 02:44 pm (UTC)
FUCK YEAH KYLE CASSIDY DOT TUMBLR DOT COM!

I have a bunch of mantras like that. "Ten more minutes!" "I can do anything for a mile!" "I don't stop when I'm tired; I stop when I'm done." and the ever popular, "I run because I can."

I don't love running--though that's getting better, on shorter runs, especially. And shorter runs now means "Six or eight miles."

But I love being able to run. And I love being able to walk eight miles sightseeing, and do a handstand, and touch my toes...
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[User Picture]From: aa
2013-11-20 12:35 pm (UTC)
Way to go, Kyle!
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-11-23 10:26 pm (UTC)
hope all is well! haven't seen you around for a while!
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[User Picture]From: handworn
2013-11-22 08:54 pm (UTC)
Well done!

I'll have to use that distracting-yourself-from-the-pain way of thinking, myself.
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