Monday, October 3, 2016

Chin-ups, trail run, chainsaw: an inadvertent triathlon

Triathlons are not my thing. Except for the kind that happen accidentally and involve chin-ups, trails and chainsaws. Saturday got off to a gloomy, overcast start, but as the day wore on, more and more awesomeness ensued.

I am not registered for any races this fall or winter. I actually enjoy training far more than racing so I decided that's what I'd do: run and strength train for the pure enjoyment of it. If I end up doing any races, it will be a last minute decision. If I don't, I'm perfectly content with that too. In lieu of a goal race, I set a different fall goal for myself: do at least one full, unassisted chin-up or pull-up. This may or may not have been the result of all the detective shows I watched on Netflix all summer. I noticed that the person-hanging-off-a-building was a common plot device. (Why do people always run up to the roof of buildings when being chased? Unless you're meeting a helicopter up there, this is a terrible plan since you have limited your means of escape to 1) the way you came, which is now blocked by the person pursuing you or 2) plummeting to your death. Lose-lose.) This got me thinking how long could I last if I had to hang off a building? Not very long. A pitifully short amount of time. Which got me thinking I should do something about that. And that's how I ended up ordering a chin-up bar from Amazon. I assembled it and put in the guest bedroom doorway. It's very easy to put up and take down, but I leave it there all the time so I see it whenever I walk down the hallway. Which I have to do anytime I go to the bathroom or bedroom. Whenever I see it, I jump up and try to do a chin-up or pull-up. So far, this consists of me jumping up, lowering down halfway, pulling myself back up, holding and lowering slowly. I can't do a full chin-up yet, but I'm hoping that will happen eventually if I keep at it. At least, that's how the plan formed in my brain at 5:30am on Saturday, day 1 of the Cockamamie Chin-Up Challenge.

Why was I awake and doing chin-ups at 5:30am on a Saturday? This may or may not have been the result of the overactive and apprehensive brain of which I am the owner. Tuesday morning's run and Wednesday morning's hill repeats had felt fine. But Thursday morning when I tried to run, my leg hurt, the kind of hurt that's inadvisable to run through. I stopped a mile into the run and went to spin class instead, where nothing hurt except for the terrible, terrible music. I'm still awful at pain-to-English translations, but I interpreted this particular leg pain as a signal to take a rest day. So on Friday, I stretched, foam rolled and iced and on Saturday I hoped for the best. Alison was planning on running four of the Mendon 10K loops. I decided to play it by ear (leg?) and join in for however long my legs felt like going that day. It was cloudy and in the 60s when Alison, Bob, Stacey and I headed out to get loopy. That first uphill out of the parking lot always makes me feel like oh shit! this is a very bad idea. But a funny thing happens on long runs. I get in this zone of happiness where I'm just running along chatting and the miles and hours pile up without my realizing it. Soon we had finished the third loop and Alison was heading out for her fourth. I felt pretty good but didn't want to push things too much. So I decided to follow Alison up to the water tower, then head back to the parking lot while she continued on (She would go on to run a total of 28 miles that day! Like it was nothing!). Once we arrived at the water tower, I had intended on taking the short cut back down to the parking lot. But somehow I did not do that. My legs took off the other way before I realized what was happening. It's true that I have a terrible sense of direction and little to no spacial memory. But I also think my legs have a mind of their own. So I did not end up doing what I planned to do, but I did end up back at my car at exactly 20 miles. And all's swell that ends swell I suppose. I chatted with Bob, who was back at his car after running three loops, and with Steven and Chris, who had just arrived and set out to run a loop. I went home to shower, eat and run some errands.

Then a very exciting thing happened! I got a message from Todd saying that he was coming over with saws!! There was a large tree branch in our backyard that had cracked - from lightning or tree disease or overzealous woodpeckers - I don't know. At this point, it was probably one windy day away from crashing down into the backyard. Luckily, it was too far away to have fallen on the house. Even more luckily, I have a Todd in my life (Everyone should have a Todd. He's the best). And Todd has lots of fun tools. Tools I didn't even know existed. Like a saw on a long extendable pole. So Todd got to work sawing through the rest of the branch with the extend-o-saw (I'm pretty sure that's what it's called). Meanwhile, I practiced my Karate Bo moves with this long bamboo pole Todd had brought to duct tape to the end of the extend-o-saw if needed (Bo and stilts, these are my only life skills. What can I say, I know my way around a pole). Once it was mostly sawed through, Todd threw a rope over the branch and pulled it down. It was an epic and very satisfying crash (sorry neighbors)! This was where the real fun began, as Todd gave me a chainsaw (possibly poor judgment on his part) and I cut the branch into firepit-sized chunks. Chainsawing is loud and sawdusty and so much fun! I don't think the chainsaw liked me as much as I liked it though, because periodically it would just give up and stop working. I gave it back to Todd, as it seemed to like him better. Infinity of thanks to Super Trail Steward Todd for helping me turn a dead tree branch into firewood! Fall firepit fiestas coming soon!

And thus concludes my very first triathlon, a trifecta of chin-ups, trail loops and a backyard chainsaw massacre (sorry trees).

Lyric of the moment: "No I don't wanna sit still, look pretty." ~Daya "Sit Still, Look Pretty" (This song is hilarious. See also: "Snow White, she did right in her life. Had 7 men to do the chores. 'Cause that's not what a lady's for.")

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