We will now continue with my saga of (not really) epic proportions, concerning all things related to running and my life. (For Part I, click here.) When we left off in Part I, I had just dropped out of Air Force ROTC at the very beginning of 2010. Now, for the next over-a-year, I did NOTHING sports-related. Nothing athletic, nothing nothing nothing at all. Well, actually, there was one moment in early December of 2010, when I received one of UNL's "N-nounce" email updates. (In related news, I will never lose my affinity for clever marketing/naming ploys.) This one in particular was notifying students of the Rec Center's spring semester Marathon/Half-Marathon Training Class. There was a (literal) split-second where my brain had enough time to think "Hey, maybe I cou--" before reality leapt shrieking into the void, laughing hysterically at my folly.
It wasn't until March of 2011 that I had a certain amount of lucidity. This eye-opening moment, when I finally realized running might be something I could possible enjoy, came about as a result of a queer ("queer" as in "weird," not "gay." Although mostly gay too. See: K. Delker, A. Barrier) activity called "hashing."
|This was the "Stillwater Hash House|
Harriers Halloween Homecoming Hash,"
or the "SHHHHHH"
|Pictured: A. Barrier; gay.|
|More gay; a cute bumblebee (who now happens to be his wife,|
The hare plans out a trail--usually cross-country, and usually absolutely terrible (especially if my dad is the hare). This may very well include poison ivy, barbed wire, thorns, nettles, and pretty much anything else that could hurt you. The hare takes off ahead of the hounds, carrying a bag of flour. He then uses the flour to leave a trail of poofs of flour on the ground, known as "hashes" (Ah! The lightbulbs are starting to flicker on, I see!), which the hounds then follow. The objective is to catch the hare before the run is over. If this happens, the hare gets his leftover flour dumped all over him and is ridiculed for years to come.
|The "chalk talk," where the various markings are explained.|
The "unfortunate looking woman" in red is my dad.
|This is a symbol meaning "true trail," which is|
one of the few things on a hash which you can
|I'm not sure about the sanity of letting lots of drunken Air Force|
officers (and idiot pilots) around fire, but hey, it's nice and warm.
|You also get flour dumped on you when you get named, which|
happens after you've run five hashes. The names are also usually
rude, lewd, and crude. Some goodies: Boy Scouter, Cornholio.
|After the on-after. It was COLD! I'm front center; Mom is behind|
me on my right; Dad is the orange hat in the background that's
started drinking again.
|I'm second from the left; I'd ventured into the realm of|
something-other-than-blonde hair for a few months.
|My good friend Duff and I, doing a slow-|
motion dramatic run-up to the finish line.
This time, I was actually at the Rec when the first posters went up advertising the Marathon/Half-Marathon Training Class, and I was signed up before the N-nounce even went out to the student general population. (This was actually one of the first times I realized how much of an "adult," relatively speaking, I'd become: my parents offered to pay the $100 class fee, as well as buy me a new pair of running shoes, for my Christmas present that year--and I was overjoyed. When you finally start getting excited about receiving clothes and shoes and stuff for Christmas...congratulations, you're all grown up.)
That $100 was the best present I've ever gotten. The once-a-week class covered a wide array of topics, from what to eat, to how to stretch, to the physiology and psychology of running. The $100 included not only the class, but also a "run analysis" with a member of the Physical Therapy department, where they film you running and give you tips on how to better your form (usually $100 itself, I believe); access to the Rec's PT staff; a training plan special-tailored for you and your abilities (or lack thereof); a thrice-weekly Yoga for Athletes class; and featured speakers to talk about nutrition, massage, and lots of other things. Probably the biggest way I benefited from the class was just that: it was a class. I had to go once a week. It wasn't for credit, but the over-achiever in me knew better: it helped me stay focused, even when the Lincoln National Guard Half-Marathon was months and months away.
I gradually increased my mileage, stamina, and speed over the spring semester of 2012. At the end of March, I ran my longest distance yet: the 10-mile State Farm Run. I finished with a time of 2:02:50, which was just over my hoped-for goal of 12:00 min/miles, and promptly collapsed on the grass just to the east of the finish line. When I finally got up the strength to make it inside for some orange slices and a cup of water, the lady in front of me in line turned around and said, "I saw you finish, and thought 'Boy, it looks like she really pushed herself!' Nice job!" That made it all worthwhile. (But sheesh, don't get me started on the lack of water stops on that run, or the fact that it was just 5 miles out, 5 miles back, or the fact that it didn't start til 9, so I didn't finish until past 11, and even though it was still March, it was quite warm by then. But yeah, worthwhile.)
Okay, I hate to prolong this to another post (kidding about the "hate this" part! This way, I still have something to write about!), but I'm going to prolong this to another post. Run, Tory, Run: the Spellbinding Conclusion will be appearing soon on a computer screen near you.
Bis dann! (That's pronounced exactly the way it sounds, although just to clarify, the 'a' in "dann" is a long 'a'. "Dann" sounds like "dahn," and the phrase "bis dann" simply means "until then"!)