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A slight case of overreaching - if you can't be witty, then at least be bombastic [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
kyle cassidy

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A slight case of overreaching [Jun. 9th, 2013|10:33 pm]
kyle cassidy
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[music |Bittersweet Drive: Duet]

The people who run the Odyssey Half Marathon figure that if you're crazy enough to run ten miles, you're probably crazy enough to run thirteen, so they scheduled their race just a few weeks after Philadelphia's ten mile Broad Street Run, though what actually got me to sign up was hearing two guys discussing Broad Street saying that ten miles was a good "amateurs distance" I was like "what the heck? I just ran ten freaking miles and I don't get to join the runners club yet?" So I signed up.

I'm easily manipulated like that.

Thanks so much to Tzuo Hann Law for this photo.
You can clickenzee to embiggen it.

My practice runs were kind of hit or miss. I did have one while in North Dakota working on the North Dakota Man Camp Project where I ran 11 miles through the badlands with two of the researchers which was pretty awesome. Especially when the road was blocked by freaking bison.


That was a pretty great run with wonderful scenery interrupted only by a really grumpy park ranger with an AR-15 who seemed to have a very bad case of "I have a big gun in an empty park and nobody to boss around but these dang bison." And last week I had a pretty horrendous 10 mile run along the Schuylkill river that I should have started at 5:00 am but made the mistake of waiting till 8:30 for and got cooked like a freaking pie when the sun came up.

Anybody who knows running knows that in the week before Your Big Run you're supposed to taper, which is to say, not really run much, if at all. You don't get any better in the 7 days before your race and you're supposed to relax and watch TV and not drink booze or eat fatty foods. But on Wednesday I figured I'd go out with the West Philly Runners (my teammates for today's half marathon) and I ran four miles and it was swell. And then the next day one of my running buddies who couldn't make it to Wednesday's run said he was running and since he's a weight-loss-running-buddy I take it as some sort of sacred contract to always be the rah rah rah positive force (and he does the same for me) and the three miles we were suposed to run turned into four and then five and then I figured since we'd done five we ought to sprint another mile because, you know, stupid, and about half a mile into mile six I felt this PONG! in my left calf a sharp pain like I'd taken a stone from a slingshot to the leg and I charged through it but when we were done I knew I'd screwed up. It didn't get better on Friday and I spent most of the day foam rollering it and Saturday as well, and so I rolled into Sunday with a brand new Sports Related Injury of my own overreach that common sense would have kept me from getting and therefore once again on the day of The Big Run I wasn't sure that I'd be able to finish.

trillian_stars and I rode out to the race on our bikes at 6:00 in the morning and it was pretty glorious, a wonderful, cool day. I'd not run a step since Thursday and really wasn't sure if 100 yards into it I'd just go "ak! ak! ak! not finishing!" and quit so Trill stayed close to the starting line but when the gun went off I was guardedly optimistic and I ran at a pretty slow pace. The course was really beautiful. One of the several gifts that running has given me is seeing places that I'd never see -- not just in Philadelphia, (although particularly in Philadelphia) but like the frozen river I ran on in North Dakota and the frozen forest I ran through in Minnesota with the Arctic Running Club. Living in a city you (and by you I mean me) tend to spend so much of your time in the useful places rather than the beautiful places. When one of your goals is moving your body the definition of Useful Places expands to include the Beautiful Places. My leg hurt pretty consistently but I was running behind a guy wearing a shirt that said "NO WHINING" so I figured I'd just suck it up and power through.

Round about mile nine the sun came up and it started getting hot and I found myself trying to figure out exactly how I felt. Tired? Not really. Uncomfortable? Not really. In pain? Not really. But to some extent all of these rolled together but the overarching thing, and the completely inexplicable thing, was that despite feeling generally tired, uncomfortable, and in pain, that I felt good -- I felt maybe proud or something not sure what it is, but with my leg aching and my sweat band filled to the point that it could hold no more sweat and it being hot out, I felt happy. I think to some extent I was happy that I'd run nine miles just a few months after I was winded walking up a flight of steps and happy that I was sleeping better and feeling generally better about myself physically. But it's really hard to quantify.

Looking at my GPS watch I realized I could probably finish in less than two hours and thirty minutes and I stepped up the pace a little and, like she could read my mind, trillian_stars texted and said "don't push it." (She, like the NSA was also tracking me via my phone, but unlike the NSA she was also sitting under a tree reading Jane Eyre back at the West Philly Runners base camp.) The last couple miles is all up-hill and right before the finish line there's a big, giant, steep hill that was killing a lot of people, but it was so close to the end. I put pretty much whatever I had into the last half mile and finished in 2:37:17.

Finish like you're fighting a bear for your life.
(iPhone photo by Trillian Stars. This one doesn't get any bigger.)

Someone handed me a medal and if felt like all that hurt & tired and everything over the past weeks had been put in a car crusher and squashed down into that bit of metal and handed to me. Here, we got the bad out and magically imprisoned it in this disk.

I would have color corrected this image, but I'm pretty sure this is an accurate depiction of what my face looked like.

Clickenzee to embiggen!!!!

We hung out with the West Philly Runners and then went off to the bar, where I wore my medal, cause damnit, I earned it.

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[User Picture]From: howeverbrief
2013-06-10 02:41 am (UTC)
This made me smile.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-06-10 02:43 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: oscuridad
2013-06-10 02:49 am (UTC)
Congrats on finishing the half! From someone who has attempted couch to 5k several times, 10 miles is not an amateur distance.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-06-10 02:52 am (UTC)
I just happened to be standing in line behind some iron men at the 7-11. Ten miles seems pretty freaking far to me.
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[User Picture]From: indigo_spice
2013-06-10 02:57 am (UTC)
Bravo, Kyle!
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[User Picture]From: fluffydescent
2013-06-10 03:00 am (UTC)
You are amazing! Congratulations!

You've inspired me to push a little harder. Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-06-10 03:09 am (UTC)
I am indeed the one who will suggest that you push past everything reasonable. Temper my inspiration with someone who's saner. :)
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[User Picture]From: cynic51
2013-06-10 03:15 am (UTC)
When I was a kid my family went camping in the ND Badlands. Somewhere my father has a picture of nothing but bison as far as the eye can see in all directions - with us in our truck in the middle of the herd.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-06-10 03:27 am (UTC)
Later a ranger told me "you're ok as long as their tails are swishing. if they stop swishing -- well, running won't do any good because they can run 40 mph."
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[User Picture]From: lomara
2013-06-10 03:24 am (UTC)
What a great writeup. Plus FREAKING BISON IN THE ROAD. Great job, dude!
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-06-10 03:28 am (UTC)
Thanks. One of the great things about this whole journey has been seeing all these new places.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-06-10 08:56 pm (UTC)
the before & after shots are pretty ... dramatic. i was completely soaked by the end. i felt like a bear wrestler.
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From: angela_n_hunt
2013-06-10 04:38 am (UTC)

You are so freaking awesome and make me so jealous that I am not back up to running that distance regularly. Moving totally cratered my training and I only started back up this week.

Go you!!!
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2013-06-10 04:56 am (UTC)
This whole retelling was totally awesome. Thank you for sharing.
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[User Picture]From: mystral721
2013-06-10 05:04 am (UTC)
Pretty damned awesome! I'd lost 40 lbs and kept it off but a few months of being depressed and I put back 30. I miss that feeling of accomplishment when I'd jog up a few flights of stairs while everyone else took the escalator and walking 6 miles just for the hell of it.

You're inspiring me to get back into walking and strength training. Your progress reminds me that the beginning is the hardest part and it does get better every day. :)
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-06-10 08:57 pm (UTC)
indeed, the first few weeks are the worst. but you already know that the big gift that losing 40 pounds gives you is the realization that you can do it -- that you can, if you want, say "alright, I'm doing this again", it's familiar ground you've been across, you know the way.
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[User Picture]From: hoppytoad79
2013-06-10 06:59 am (UTC)
Congrats, Kyle!
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[User Picture]From: tabor330
2013-06-10 11:46 am (UTC)

A Grand Day Out

Thanks, Kyle - you are both insane and totally rational. I'm impressed, awed, astonished, a little sick to my stomach, and seriously thinking that maybe, just maybe, I could do this.
13 Miles seems like a long way.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-06-10 07:58 pm (UTC)

Re: A Grand Day Out

13 miles seems not so long if you're not looking at it all at once. It's much less daunting if it's just numbers. Once you see something that far away, it's CRAZY. So ... run, don't look.
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[User Picture]From: livejournal
2013-06-10 12:03 pm (UTC)

A slight case of overreaching

User ronsrants referenced to your post from A slight case of overreaching saying: [...] Originally posted by at A slight case of overreaching [...]
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[User Picture]From: ronsrants
2013-06-10 12:05 pm (UTC)
A runner is a runner if they go out and run. Distance doesn't matter. Those guys probably would say that I'm not a runner since I run so slow, but screw them, I go out and I run too!

FYI, if you care about running times, I suggest you try the Myrtle Beach half marathon in Feb. It's flat, cool, and fast. I'll join you, but chances are you will finish ahead of me.

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[User Picture]From: howlokitty
2013-06-10 02:17 pm (UTC)
Last week I either

1. Had my first sports related injury from a combo of jogging and yoga or

2. Discovered that I have a degenerative foot condition.

I was in bed rolling my ankle when my foot made a scary popping sound and started to hurt. A massage/physical therapist friend told me to stay off my feet for a day and see what happened. I did that and it actually felt better than it has in years, so he told me to take it easy for a while and see what my feet do, since I have all of the conditions that can lead to plantar fasciitis and there's a possibility this is the first sign of that. Tomorrow I'm going to jog for the first time in a week and see what happens. I'm hoping it's just my tight/sturdy self reacting badly to my attempts to loosen up through yoga.
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[User Picture]From: howlokitty
2013-06-10 02:24 pm (UTC)
Also, I feel you should create a medal for the out of shape masses you have inspired for completion of their first sports related injury.
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