Wednesday, July 28th – Friday, July 30th…….So I skipped my Wednesday TFK workout for the chance to take my Mom out for dinner for her birthday. I needed to take a second training day off to further assist my left heel in the healing process. But not wanting to dismiss a scheduled workout, I set out solo on Friday evening to execute the team’s weekly speed work training after hitting the gym for a bit and lifting weights. It’s strange – I understand why there are mirrors in the gym – so that people can see their posture and technique whilst performing the various exercises with dumbbells and other equipment. It’s a fantastic concept…for a human being whose brain works according to the design. There is one issue though: my brain does NOT work normally. The cheese fell off my cracker a long time ago. The elevator doesn’t go to the top floor. I’m a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic. (OK, lab rats – here’s your chance: what other sayings can you come up with to describe a guy who really needs a check-up from the neck….up?)
As I stand in front of this huge floor to ceiling mirror and select the 70 pound dumbbells to perform shoulder shrugs with (and for all of you playing the home game, a shoulder shrug exercise is designed to work the neck and shoulder muscles. You hold the 2 dumbbells in your hands and let your arms fall to your sides. Then you quite literally shrug your shoulders 10 times in a row, as if you are saying “how the hell should I know?” to someone…..ten times in rapid succession), I am basically forced to stare at myself. Now I don’t know about you, but I hate it when anyone ELSE stares at me – so staring at MYSELF quickly starts a mental argument between the two hemispheres of my brain: the Left side of the brain being the analytical side, and the Right side being the creative side. I’ll try to provide the Cliff Notes version of this argument…..
Left: (speaking to himself, but rather loudly) “Wow – this shirt makes us look heavy. I do not like the rather asymmetrical geometric shape that this shirt provides the illusion of.”
Right: (overhears Left mumbling to himself and decides to chime in) “Loosen up! Stop being so inflexible! Besides, the most important thing is how comfortable it feels on us.”
Left: (getting his synapses out of joint due to the unsolicited feedback) “Look Mr. Creativity – Mr. the Cup is Half Full – Mr. Who Gives a Crap about the Details – the angles are all wrong. Look at us in this mirror. Our goal is to develop a more triangular shape to our frame, yet this shirt makes us look like……well….like an oval. Do you understand that the oval isn’t a very attractive shape?”
Right: “Stop complaining – we are trying to finish our third set of 10 repetitions, and I cannot hear us mentally count.”
Left: (Cracking an insulted tone of mental voice) “Are you saying that I can’t multi-task? I know exactly how many reps we’ve done.”
Right: (Sarcastically) “Oh you do? Well look at our face. It’s bright red. And see the furrowed brow? We’re wondering just how many reps that last one represented. Nice going, Mr. I Know How to Count – Mr. Precision – Mr. Attention to Detail….”
Medulla: (In a condescending tone of electric impulse) “Both of you please shut up. You’re going to give us all a migraine.”
Left: “Technically, Med – may I call you Med? Because your full name sounds like a Greek demi-god that turned her victims to stone with a glance – you are correct. The constant bickering between myself and my not-so-better half does cause us to develop the mental equivalent of charliehorse.”
Right: “Well if my other half would stop over-analyzing every little……”
Shoulder Blades: (in unison) “Idiots. That was 19. You just overworked me. You really are the Three Stooges of this poor excuse of an athlete.”
……and with that, I put the 70lb dumbbells away, and moves on to complete my routine, completely unaware of what was to follow.
After going to the gym, it was time to leave the office for the weekend – and what better way to begin the weekend than by taking a light run through the park. So I changed into my running clothes, grabbed my ipod and left my apartment with a spring to my step that the simple concept of Friday afternoons place in my feet. At about the three mile mark I came to one of the more draining hills on the course – so I began to swing my arms the way the coaches taught me….and that’s when I felt the ache. I over-worked my shoulders and neck at the gym. I did too much. I pushed through the five miles without any form of real injury, but the lesson was learned: try not to over-train. It can lead to a serious injury that would force you to miss training sessions that are key to the overall marathon preparation process.
I went to bed sore all over….which wasn’t exactly the smartest move ever made. Why? Because at 7am Saturday morning I come face-to-face with the 59th Street Bridge for the first time in the training program. This bridge was been the bane of my existence each of the past 5 years running this marathon. It comes at the 15 mile mark of the race, waiting for you to make the sudden left turn onto its ramp. We’ve looked each other in the eye 5 times now…and each time I’ve been the one to blink first. Well not tomorrow. Tomorrow I’m going to layeth the smacketh down on that bridge’s roody-poo candy ass. (Wow – I cannot believe I’ve resorted to using catch phrases of retired famous professional wrestlers. I had indeed hit rock bottom and have begun to dig).
“What matters is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower