Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sickness Update and The Epitome of Embarrassment

First of all, thanks for all the supportive comments and encouraging words this past week. Words cannot describe how physically draining and emotionally exhausting these past five days have been for me. To think how this highly-trained and battled-tested runner’s body can transform so quickly to a giant puddle of inactive mush in a matter of a few hours is both humbling and frightening. The good news though, is that I’ve started to turn a corner and my body has shown signs over the past 24 hours that it is winning the war once again. Although I have very little objective data to support this hypothesis (since I’m stilling sneezing and coughing quite frequently), the return of subjective sub-3 ponderings for the big race is evidence enough for me that I can once again start getting excited for the big day…Yay!

But…before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let me go back and tell you about the funniest story that you might not have heard and won’t ever hear again (because I’d be too embarrassed to tell you)…so listen up, ‘cause I’m just recounting this story ONCE and never again!

Let me preface the story by saying that I generally hold myself in pretty high esteem when I go running in the local gym. Because I limit myself to using only the treadmill when I go there and since I usually run much faster than anyone around me (and must look pretty good doing it too if I have to say so myself) I feel like I’m at my element whenever I’m pounding out the miles on the conveyor belt. Also, whenever I’m there, I always make sure I’m running in a race-ready technical shirt so as to differentiate myself from the cotton wearing wannabe crowd who are mainly there just to check themselves out while doing some light cardio.

It was with a similar mindset that I entered the gym for my usual hard Tuesday workout. Although I was sick that day, with fever, chills, and paroxysmal coughing fits, I thought (stupidly in retrospect) that a hard workout would jump start the immune system and help to eliminate the virus at a faster rate.

The scheduled called for a tempo run of 5 miles at 6:19 pace. To be safe, I settled on running the first half at marathon pace (6:52) and then transitioning to tempo pace only if I felt comfortable. Because my legs hadn’t run in a couple of days and had not experienced speedwork in a week and a half, they were excited for the opportunity to run fast even if the rest of the body wasn’t. After setting the treadmill to include random inclines at a steady 6:50 pace, I started running. The pace felt hard and fast right from the outset. Although I fought to hold the breathing and heart rate to a comfortable level, it became almost impossible after 0.5 mile. As I was getting disappointed that I was slipping so soon, I puckered down, closed my eyes, and pleaded with the body to just hold on until the end of the mile. As soon as I did I felt the treadmill tilted upward. With my eyes closed, I couldn’t register what was happening so I instinctively told myself to keep the same effort as I opened my eyes in a panic. But before those neuronal impulses became coherent, I inexplicably found myself slipping farther and farther backwards until a second later I found myself running on carpet behind the treadmill! It took me nearly a second to realize that because I had forgotten about the random adjustable incline and because I did not increase my pace in response to that incline, I had just done the most embarrassing thing this side of faking the finish of a marathon – I ran off a treadmill in the middle of a crowded NYC gym. Omigosh! First thought in my head: There should be a giant caption bubble above my head right now with the words “Wanna get away?” Second thought in my head: Is there anyone around who isn’t looking at me right now? Third thought in my head: I’m wearing my San Fran marathon shirt...spectacular…what a shining example of a great marathon runner am I? I didn’t dare look around. But even above the loud ambience of the hundreds of treadmills in operation in that same room and my own headphones pumping out tunes into my ears, I could still hear the muffled giggles and feel the laser stares of a thousand eyes straight on my back. It truly had to be one of the lowest points of my running life!

Somehow, despite the whole fiasco, I had the whereabouts to jump back on the treadmill and power down the machine to a more meaningful speed. I then proceeded to run at that same pedestrian speed for thirty minutes, or as long a period of time as I thought it would take for the rest of the gym to turn over. During that entire time, I didn’t look up, but stared at the flickering red digits on the display until time was up. The funny thing about that run was that I ran so slowly and so evenly that for a long time during it, I forgot that I was still sick. No matter though, the trauma for that night had already been done a long time ago…

So there it is folks. The mystery of the ONE time the treadmill took advantage of my sickness, rejected my running efforts, spat me back out, and left me with my most embarrassing running story ever!

Hope you all enjoyed that because I’m NOT repeating it ever again! Consider it my Passover/Easter present. Have a great weekend everyone!

20 comments:

Andrew is getting fit said...

So you are human too! :)

CH said...

That's a funny story. Thanks for sharing it with us. You can't let stuff like that embarass you though -- It happens to everyone. Who cares if the other folks were giggling? Let them giggle.

Anyway, hope that your recovery continues. Good luck.

M*J*C said...

First, I'm so glad that you're starting to feel better!
Second, thank you for the supportive words, as I was reading your comment this morning my eyes totally filled up...
Third, thank you for sharing that story.....I was cracking up reading it, I could TOTALLY relate, and your "story telling style" was classic!

D10 said...

Glad you are feeling better. Love the story. I wouldn't have ventured to look around the gym either!

Michelle said...

Lam, that is so funny but you didn't even fall did you??

Dude, if that was me, I would be flat on my butt on the floor. You didn't miss a beat!!!

AWESOME!!!

HAPPY EASTER!!

Cheetah Girl said...

Haaaahahahahahaha! I'm not gonna lie, I totally would have laughed! But that being said, I have also been victim of embarrassing treadmill stories. My arms tend to go crazy and I hit the side rails, making the person next to me jump and stifle back a snort. I've also flung my ipod onto the treadmill and had it slingshot across into the ellipticals, twice in one workout.
Thanks for sharing! :)

Susan said...

I've always wondered what happens if someone can't keep up with the pace of the treadmill...but at least you didn't end up on your butt! I'm sure the people around you found it entertaining, and they probably won't remember you anyway...although you're probably on some other person's blog now as "the guy who ran off the treadmill."

Glad you're feeling a little better!

The Happy Runner said...

Oh no! Glad you didn't get hurt. And, um, I'm kinda glad that stuff happens to great runners like you, too. I hate feeling like I'm the only klutzy one out there ;-)

carpeviam said...

Omg, Doc! That is classic! You totally made my morning! Thanks! ;)

Ms. V. said...

Favorite line from your post:

"cotton wearing wannabe crowd who are mainly there just to check themselves out while doing some light cardio"

Seriously, I laughed out loud, and not in the LOL kind of way.

Great job at laughing at yourself!!! Hope you feel better, and you will be ready!

Running and living said...

Glad things are looking up! It's about time. I think someone should put a "danger" sign on top of the treadmills - they are darn "dangerous"! Have a great last premarathon week! Ana-Maria

J said...

First I am just glad that you didn't fall and hit your head and really hurt yourself! But it is funny!

Carlee said...

That is great and I'm glad you're feeling better. At least you didn't end up on your face...that would have been me!

runningcommentaries said...

Oh gosh! Glad you are starting to feel better! Delurking-- just wanted to say that I love your insight and the blog!

joyRuN said...

Glad you're feeling better. Dunno how you managed to avoid a complete & total faceplant though - minor consolation? I would've had carpet burn all over my face if I flew off the mill at that speed :)

Run For Life said...

I'm happy to hear that the virus is leaving your system.

Oh man alive, that's crazy but like they said at least you didn't fall on your butt and were able to get back on. Please don't close your eyes on the dreadmill again if the incline's set!

lindsay said...

too funny! there have been times lately when i have to grab hold of the hotel tm and pull myself up the belt so as not to run off the back like you did. i'm more afraid of it tossing me off a little more violently though. glad you just rolled off the back and didn't get hurt or fall - that would've been slightly more embarrassing i imagine ;)

glad you are feeling better!

Irish Cream said...

I'm so glad you're feeling better, Lam! Regarding the 'mill, don't feel bad! It happens to the best of us. Ha, actually . . . one of my favorite stories from college involves a treadmill incident. Ann & Kate were two of my best friends in college and were randomly paired up as roomies freshman year. At some point during their first couple days at school, they decided to go to the gym to run together. Well, Kate somehow managed to trip and fly off the back of the 'mill (much less gracefully than you did) and wound up in a twisted ball on the floor. Ann was horrified and had no clue how to react (although she later admitted she REALLY wanted to laugh--but she didn't want her new roomie to think she was a total jerk). Luckily Kate wasn't hurt, but how's that for making a first impression? :)

M2Marathon said...

Oh wow that is too funny! I totally would have laughed...and then probably would have fallen off my own treadmill in the process of cracking up over you! You just re-validated my decision to avoid treadmills at all costs.

sRod said...

Ah, that is a badge of honor. I've come close to slipping off the treadmill (especially during tempo runs, when I tend to run toward the back of the treadmill). However, I've never actually fallen off.

 
Clicky Web Analytics