Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Akimbo Running

Or, Why $1 Dollar Doesn’t Make Up For The Pain of A Long Run

Months ago, I profiled my own scientifically proven speed building technique called Limbo Running. You all learned a 100% proven effective speed technique, giggled along as I twisted fartlek to say “fart lick”, and were introduced for the first time to the Church of Garmin. Looking back, that post contained it all…including my first mention of orphanage robbery! Pride!

During Monday night’s 20 miler, I stumbled across another training technique I had been inadvertently practicing. And it happens to involve one of my favorite English language words: akimbo.

To refresh, I had wimped out on Sunday’s planned 20 mile long run due to water. It was raining. It makes my make up run. So, under a cool, breezy 62 degree Monday evening, I decided to knock it out post work. Or, at least, go as far as I wanted before making up some excuse why I couldn’t finish. If I interpreted the comments from Monday morning’s post correctly, there were many along the lines of You are crazy to do this after work and You must be a super nunchuk ninja and Why are you so devilishly handsome? (Some of these were implied but came through clearly to me. And thank you.)

Understand that my work day doesn’t really prevent me from knocking out a long run afterwards. I sit on my increasingly flat, nearly concave ass all day. In fact, rather than fatigue, my legs are nearing atrophy by the time my day ends. I’ll go a couple of hours at a time in the same seated position until my head thunks down on the desk sending me into a startled, co-worker seeking frenzy. The biggest danger I face is rising from the chair to my weakening legs for another cup of coffee (mornings) or water (afternoons) or restrooming (sprinkled throughout the day but more in the morning due to the coffee). I could pull a hammy if I elevate too quickly. Construction workers, firemen, police officers face their own job related dangers but I doubt any of them could pull a hammy standing up. So who has it worse?

The plan was 20 miles broken into a 7 mile loop and two 6.5 mile loops. At the end of each loop, Roctane Gu and Gatorade. I wanted to go easy on the first loop, pick it up on the second, and then ease back on the third again.

Yeah, right. I did whatever I wanted once the tunes started playing. You try “easing back” during some spirited Linkin Park. It doesn’t happen.

First loop came in a bit faster than I wanted.
Second loop was about right.
Third loop was too fast until about mile 17 when a few nuts and bolts started loosening and dipped my pace by 30 seconds or so before pulling it together for the final mile.

20.0 miles
2:22:58 time
7:09 pace


A bit too fast for what I was looking to accomplish on this run. My 21 miler in two weeks will need to be slower. I’ll need to ditch the Linkin Park, Metallica, and Killers for some Peabo Bryson I think.

Of interest, at mile 18, what did my wondering eyes see but the unmistakable image of a green folded bill sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. Please be a $20. Please be a $20. Being a ninja (implied and thank you), I did a front back flip landing a perfect crouching tiger right in front of the monetary target.* Sensing no hidden dragons in the brush, I cackled with glee and swooped up the folded bill. And ran on.

Fudge pops. A dollar? Who walks around with just a dollar anymore?? Oh, right, some snot nosed kid on his way to the candy store I passed a mile ago. Tough shit, kid, it’s my dollar now. Here’s a free lesson: Don’t wear baggy pants or I’ll steal things from you.

Afterwards, basking in the glow of knocking out the first twenty miler for this training season, knowing some kid got screwed out of SweetTarts, and dining on a reheated ham steak**, I noticed that both of my elbow joints and the chiseled muscles above them were sore. Calves sore? Yep. Hamstrings? A bit tender. Ass muscles? Not as concave as they were a few hours ago. But, elbows???

Then I remembered that, as the miles increased, I caught myself tensing up. My shoulders and arms became more rigid. In fact, I distinctly remember my elbows bowing out away from my hips causing my hands to turn inward. I was running akimbo. If I was setting a wicked screen in basketball, this would have been fine. Or blocking for a tailback. Or even trying out for a part in the background ensemble of Pirates of Penzance. But not when running.

Several times, I reminded myself to relax and loosen up.

Limbo running? A wonderful training technique. Akimbo running? Not recommended. Unless you want to look like the biggest elbow pointed akimbo dipshit on the path.

So, here I sit today with long run completed. One dollar richer. But elbows sore and interfering with my ability to prop my head up and feign work concentration while getting some zzzz’s.

I would trade all of the found dollars in the world to stop my akimbo running.

Happy trails.

* Meaning: I eased gently to a stop, bent over slowly with an audible ‘oh, shit’ and then trotted back into a run praying my Achilles wouldn’t snap.

** We are the folks that buy “ham steak”. Don’t judge.

_____________________________

Incidentally, is Srod the only one of you that is going to point out that a pumpkin is a fruit and NOT a vegetable? I served one up for you people and you failed. Now do you see why you didn't get that special edition 200th post?

31 comments:

Marcy said...

Wow Nitmos you're a balla now. Actually that's more money than I've ever come across. I guess people are tight with their dough around here.

And WTF is ham steak?!? LOL

Nat said...

(It's a steak made of ham Marcy. LOL.)

Up here, the dollars are coins. At mile 18, I'd ponder leaving it there because reaching down to pick it up could damn near kill me. For a toonie ($2 dollar coin) I'd consider it.

Sarah said...

The best things I have ever found on a run:

1. Pears. Growing on a tree right next to the road. They were just asking to be plucked.

2. Green herons. Two of 'em, fishing from logs in a weedy pond.

But no money. So clearly you win.

Also, I've caused my hamstrings to go into violent spasms simply by stretching my legs out under the desk. So I can injure myself in a seated position. Top that whydontcha.

Betsy said...

Praise be thy name.

Xenia said...

I sympathize with your job-related hazards. Only not the job part. I still need to get one of those.

I've bought ham steak a time or two myself. Apparently we're from the same kind of people. *shudder*

Roisin said...

Akimbo running could be the title of a book. Or perhaps a nick-name.

Philip said...

Great post and impressive run! David Horton, the amazing ultra-runner who runs more miles every year than I will my entire life, does training runs looking for change. (I forgot what he calls them...) His goal is to find a penny, a nickel, a dime, and a quarter in one run. A challenge for you...

Big said...

At Biggby last night I saw a little saggy-pants snot nosed kid crying as he was dejectedly walking away from the candy store—and I felt a sense of joy.

Thank you for brining that joy into my life.

Vava said...

You guys still have 1 dollar bills? Man... At least you're changing your money into multi-colour formats (or so I hear). After years of making fun of our currency, the US has seen the light - of course that would have totally taken away the suspense you felt as you approached the bill. In any case, you did that kid a favour - he probably burned some extra calories looking for that dollar before settling in for the evening in front of his tv, gaming "console", computer...

SJ Goody said...

To combat akimbo, I suggest doing intermittent ape like exercises... loose arms, hands hanging below your hips. And, feel free to vocalize your inner monkey. :)

joyRuN said...

Akimbo is an improvement for me. Used to flail around like I was drowning.

Last time I reached for a dollar on the boardwalk, a bored delinquent had put a string on one end & yanked it out of my reach.

Never again!

tfh said...

Akimbo-- isn't that Peabo Bryson's younger brother?

Sorry. Your fault. You reminded me of Peabo and now I am going to be cracking Peabo jokes all day.

Nice 20 miles!

*aron* said...

freaking elbows... i noticed in my SFM pics that i have one that likes to stick out too... i am trying to make it stay put!

great job on the 20 miler!!!

Vanilla said...

I still remember fondly when the Nuggets drafted Akimbo in the 1991 NBA Draft.

Kristina said...

I am sad to admit that I run akimbo all the time. If you look at any of my race photos, I always have my elbows out. I actually nailed someone in the arm at the trail race by running that way, so it's not all bad.

Charlotte said...

Peabo bryson on a long run??? I'd be speeding up just to get away from him. There might be incidental carnage as I try to rip the ear phones out.

Running akimbo. Love it. I too get sore elbows on occassion - usually after TM running (trying not to whack my hands on the 'mill!) Now that I have a name for it, so much more awesome.

AddictedToEndorphins said...

On a student's budget, a loonie (or dollar) is like a million. Well maybe not a million in this day and age, but it's still worth stopping for!

:) Great job on the 20 miler!

chia said...

I'm officially jealous of your times Nitmos :-). Akimbo or no, you're still a running God to some of us!

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Akimbo sounds like a mixed martial arts move.

Ms. V. said...

I see Gob from Arrested Development and the Chicken Dance.

http://tinyurl.com/4tynbd

Ham Steak? Um, we are a civilized people.

The Young Family said...

Congrats on the 20 miles... I must say impressive time, I am just a bit faster than you! (if you double your time!) yes it took me twice as long to finish 21 miles... I am taking that 1 mile longer than your run... man I am so much better than you, no it wasn't that I couldn't add while running! lol. I so wish I could run a 7 minute mile! ** I should be bowing down **

Em

Two Left Feet said...

at least while running akimbo you can defend yourself from all those other violent runners trying to pass you. elbows can be dangerous weapons, man.

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Thank you for making me pee my pants at my desk. That's sort of a work-related injury, eh?

God where do you get this stuff?

Girl on Top said...

I need to keep my eyes out next time. It sounds like I can make a living out of running.

Let's see: the last thing I picked up was a Coke Rewards cap. Not a bad start. 3 points for my account!

RunColo said...

Roctane Gu, you must be rich!

seejessrun said...

Wow nice run. I feel the same way at my job. I often wander the halls aimlessly to keep my legs from atrophying.

Amanda said...

Hmm chiseled elbows... never really considered what I could do with chiseled elbows, but maybe it wouldn't hurt my arms so much to sit at this desk all day...interesting.

Amanda said...

oh and not to burst your bubble but I did find $300 while running in college... no I did not try to find the rightful owner, god clearly left it for me so I could eat... or go drinking whatever

Brianna said...

Leave it to you to get sore elbows . . .

sRod said...

Victory! Yea me for catching the small stuff.

Viv said...

Man, I missed me some of the Nitmos sarcasm humor. You are such a bad a$$ with the 20 miler speedster. i will be adding Metallica Linkin Park to ipod and delteing my Pebo.