Friday, October 1, 2004

A Long, Boring Blog About Exercise: You've Been Warned! (but I had fun writing it)

OK, I've now jogged to or from work the short way (2.3 miles) 4 times, and I've gone the long way (4.25 miles) 3 times. I'm still biking too, because that's the only way I can carry stuff to/from work.

As a reminder to you who are on the edge of your seats about my work commute, the short way is all on roads-- 1/2 mile in the woods leaving my neighborhood, 1/2 mile in the woods on the road that goes alongside the state park, and then 1.3 miles on campus which is a blend of woods and farmland, so it's pretty well shaded. There is a sidewalk on campus. Not too many cars, but there are some.

The long way is 1 mile on roads (same thing- 1/2 mile out of the neighborhood, 1/2 mile to the State Park entrance) and then 2.25 miles on trails, and another mile on a busy street that crosses the interstate, but with a sidewalk the whole way.

I like to go the long way better than the short way, but I get so sweaty that I can't do it in the mornings on the way to work, only in the evenings going home. On the long route I see more wildlife. Yesterday heading home I saw 6 or 7 deer. Lots of teeny baby deer that look just like Bambi- all speckly. And dogs. People with dogs all over the park. I like the dogs. :-) Except yesterday I was chased by a hound dog whose owner was nowhere in sight and he was BIG and it scared me a little.

I've been biking to work for almost 3 years, on roads, on mtn bike trails, on routes as short as 2 miles and as long as 12 miles each way. I loooooove biking to work. Maybe I'll feel that warmly about jogging someday. Maybe. It is a completely different workout to jog than it is to bike. You can't coast when you're jogging, so there's no rest time. On the other hand, hills are way easier on foot than on a bike, so it's also less high-intensity to jog. If you see a big speed hump, you can WHOOSH rush up to it on the bike and go FWOOP!! FWOOP!! and get a thrill. On foot, it's more like --fwap--fwap--fwap--fwap--fwap--fwap--fwap--fwap. Overall, I'd say the jog is harder than the same time on a bike mostly because you can't use wind to cool you off and you can't coast downhill. I'm getting blisters on my toes. That can slow me down. I usually get a stitch in my side when I jog. I don't get that doing anything else, and I don't know how to prevent it. :-(

It doesn't help that I am 1) the most high-maintenance jogger in the world and 2) the slowest jogger in the world. Oh, you don't believe me?? If I have to pee, I hate jogging. I won't jog with a backpack. If iPod bounces *at all* on my arm on in my waistpack, I get aggravated. If my bangs bounce and touch my forehead, I get aggravated. Same with my sunglasses on the bridge of my nose. If I can hear sweat beading up on my headphones (yes you CAN hear it!!), I will stop and wipe them off. If my shorts ride up a little and my thighs rub together, I get aggravated and start running all chicken-legged to shake them loose. I've turned my ankle doing this. more than once. I don't like to run if I just ate, or if I'm hungry. Shoes too tight, shoes too loose, shoestrings too long so that they bounce and touch my legs? Grrrrr. AND- that 4.25 mile jog on the trails takes me *1 hour.* So, how many mph is that?

On the other hand, *nothing* bothers me on the bike. I can wear pretty much anything, I don't care if I'm sweating, or if my eyes are watering from the cold, or if it's a million degrees out, if I'm thirsty, hungry, just ate, have digentional distress, none of it matters. It's all tuned out by the joy and rush of wind, speed, scenery, flipping the proverbial bird at auto-commuters everywhere.

So why am I jogging? Well, like I said, I want to feel that way about jogging, too. I didn't always love biking so much. I can remember once, when I was a teenager, telling my dad (who has been a bike racer for over 30 years and is now a cycling coach) "Dad, biking is *your* sport. I just don't like it as much as you. I'll stick to aerobics. I'll never like biking all that much so just stop bugging me about it, OK?" Some of my fondest memories of age 12-15 were riding the tandem with my dad on the weekly Monday-Wednesday Lakefront training rides in New Orleans. This was a 6-mile loop that passed along Lake Ponchartrain and looped back on Robt E Lee Blvd. To get hills in there, we'd cross an overpass that took you over a canal into New Orleans East. Then, I tried racing. At the time there were no girls racing, which I now see as the major problem, but didn't realize it at the time. Anyway, I was competing in races with the 15-17 year old boys. And compared to them, I STUNK. How fun is it to always come in LAST place in EVERY race? It didn't matter that I was first in my "class" (junior women) ...biking just wasn't so much fun anymore.

OK enough regression therapy. Back to jogging. Eventually (especially if I can beat the Stitch In The Side) I'm hoping that jogging be fun, too. If not, well at least it's good cross-training. For a few years I was swimming a lot (now you want to see slow-- WHOO! 1 mile per hour, oh yeah!) and I think there's a triathlon in me somewhere. And I can ride fast enough now that maybe I won't come in LAST place...

If anyone knows what the heck that stick in the side thing is, or how to get rid of it, please tell me!


PartnerInCrime said...

I get the side-stitch when I jog too, and I have no idea how to prevent it. I also inherited bad knees from my dad's side of the family, so I can only jog on treadmills or cushioned tracks. Which is infinitely more boring with the lack of scenery. Anyway, my method for avoiding side-stitch is to jog for a couple of minutes, walk for a couple, then jog again, etc. etc. I think it's a lack of oxygen thing, and it seems that if I slow down and catch my breath, I'm ok.

Dave said...

Side-stitches are no fun at all. I remember from a while back being told that one of the main causes is shallow breathing (as its the diaphragm going into spasm that is the cause). We were told to always concentrate on deep breathing while jogging.
Which for someone in my shape was more than a little difficult. ;)

Cat said...

I read one place that you're supposed to do "yoga breathing" when you jog. Ha! Yeah, THAT's gonna happen:
I like PIC's idea- if it hurts, stop doing it until it stops hurting! :-P