A few years ago, Jake and I started to jog, as an attempt to stay healthy and fit. Mostly just outside, around our neighborhood. We were getting into it, trying to get a little more distance and challenging ourselves. As the seasons changed and it got dark earlier, it got more challenging, and after a tumble in which nothing was really harmed, but still hurt, I wasn’t so willing to keep jogging outside in the impending winter. So for New Years, we took advantage of the offers that gyms put out there, tempting people feeling a little extra jiggly after the excess of the holidays, and joined.
It’s been interesting to see how going to the gym has effected my perception of my own body. I never did any sports growing up, and distance running was always something my body tried to actively dissuade me of, so I don’t have anything to compare this to. When we’re being good, and getting there on a regular basis (I’d be lying if I said we didn’t accidentally take off a month here and there), I don’t honestly notice much of a change in my weight or shape. But I feel more pride in my own body, knowing what it is capable of. And I totally dig that. And feeling more pride in it has made me re-consider things I once saw as flaws. I’m less concerned about how big my hips are and more pleased with the muscles my thighs hold.
After a while of running at the gym, I started to wonder how I would do in a more public/pressured run, like a 5k race. Then I found out there was a crypt run in October at a large cemetery in Chicago. Perfect! I wheedled Jake into joining me, as it contained many elements of interest for him. We did a few weeks of training outside, since we’ve primarily been doing treadmill running. We tried to get a few hills in, average a distance of at least 5k, and do that a few times a week.
It was quite cold when we got there (about 40F), but we left our layers in the car. So we immediately put the t-shirts we received for participating in the race on over our shirts and hoodies (which I hear might be kind of gauche in terms of running ettiquette? idk). Dunkin Donuts was handing out teensy cups of coffee, which we took advantage of, huddling around them like bitsy campfires that we could wrap our hands around. There were a bunch of people dressed up in various Halloween-y costumes, vampires and zombies, etc. They had a good soundtrack playing by the start line, the Halloween movie theme song, and Thriller by Michael Jackson, of course.
Once the race started, we warmed up quickly. They gave us glowsticks (see above) so we could see each other, and the route was lined with little battery operated flickery candles, and some of the more interesting sites were lit with colored lights, and there was plenty of light from the streetlamps just outside cemetery limits, so it wasn’t very dark at all. I’d set a loose goal of finishing in 40 minutes (more because I do better with a specific goal than anything else) and we finished in 35! Jake had the GoPro with him, so he captured some of the actual running/route portions of the 5k:
It starts just after the 2:50 mark if you wish to skip to the relevent section.
I know that compared to other runners, it’s not much. But I’m not jogging/running for others. I don’t honestly see a marathon in my future, but I’d really like to do a color run next year, and I would totally do the crypt run again!
Let me take a moment to plug my very favorite app for running: Runkeeper. It has options for different kinds of excercise (walking, running, cycling, etc), keeps track of your route, pace, and calories burned, if you put in your weight. It can link to a playlist on your phone so that you can be listening to music/podcasts while you excercise. I also LOVE that it gives little 5 minute updates, telling you what minute mark you’re at, the distance achieved, and average pace. I find that really boosting, because I’m competitive with myself, so it always makes me push a little bit faster. The only potential downside is that it is really intended for use outside. So when I jog on the treadmill, I have to manually log that information instead of using the app as I excercise. That doesn’t bother me, though, as at least now I have one place where all of my excercise is logged.
Since this all sounds so very glowing, I kind of feel like I should say: Runkeeper has no idea I exist, they did not pay me to speak kindly of them. I just am really impressed with this app.
Some other fun things Halloween-y: Haunted Mansion, Part 1 Stuff You Missed in History Show Notes and Podcast and also part 2. It’s hard to see in the first pic, but my favorite running tshirt is a Haunted Mansion one!