Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Machismo Comes in a Little Pink Bottle

So, I don't know if you've ever spent a summer in our nation's glorious capital, but it isn't exactly a runner's paradise. Temperatures have been in the 80s well before the sun rises, and humidity hovers somewhere approaching 90% (which is, in my humble opinion, just sheer laziness--why not simply rain?). I could go on and on about the weather (that and tourists are every DC-ite's favorite summer conversation topics), but I digress.

Heat-schmeat, training must go on and over at Blair House the Back On My Feet Crowd is racking up mileage. This leads to a conversation about hydration and a completely unexpected bump in the road: the guys don't like their pink water bottles. Some background: Our first race was sponsored by another awesome running-related non-profit (Girls On The Run, check 'em out) and so the swag bag was filled with pink stuff...and hairbands. During the race itself we kept our focus on the important things: good form, finishing strong, not getting our asses kicked by 8 year old girls. But after the finish line and the hula hoop workshops (little girls, remember?) we were left with half a dozen hardened men and quite a few pink water bottles.

I hear you. "Who cares?" you're asking (probably while drinking from a chic smoke-grey Nalgene bottle). Apparently, at least some of the aforementioned hardened and full-grown men do. "But it's the twenty-first century!" you protest. Um-hmmm, sure it is. "So whaddya gonna do, Coach?" you ask (and, frankly, I don't appreciate that smirk there, dear reader). Well, I'm gonna schedule some ball busting interval and hill work, that's what I'm going to do--and share my water, I mean I'm not a monster. On Monday morning one chastened runner carried his bottle with him and found the water therein to be pretty friggin' great. Tomorrow morning we'll hopefully have a couple more. And on Saturday, when we huff and puff our way up a mile long climb on 7th avenue, we're have a whole line of big, tough, macho runners taking long and satisfying swigs out of little pink bottles.

And we invite you to come and make fun of them...you know, if you can keep up.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Fabulous Five-Miler

There's something about doing a five mile run that moves you into a whole new category; at three miles you may still be a jogger, or "somebody who runs sometimes," and four miles really feels more like "one short of five" than a distance in and of itself. At five miles though, you're a Runner.

Schoolhouse Rock taught us that “three is a magic number,” but the only thing approximating a three-miler is a 3.1 mile race, better known as—wait for it—a 5k. Mathematicians know it as the first “good prime” number (also a Fibonaci number which I don’t really understand, but find kind of fun to say.) According to Pythagorians five was mystical because it’s the sum of the first two numbers, 2 + 3. (They didn’t count “1” as a number, which is convenient if a bit confusing.) The Buddhists say there are five hindrances (there’s some overlap there with the seven deadly sins, but really who hasn’t found some redundancies between lust and envy?).

I think that at least in this context it’s significant because when you’re out of breath and bending over and somebody says, “Hey you look tired, how far did you go?” you can just hold up your hand and they get the point…and hopefully a nice cold glass of water for you. Whatever the reason, there’s just something big about hitting the five-mile mark as a runner and this weekend some of our members at Blair House were initiated into that noble and time-honored sect. Membership includes the right to complain about sore quads in public and the right to a second cupcake—“Why thank you, I think I will, you see I ran five miles today and I’m rather peckish.” But being runners as we are, it also means we immediately start thinking, I wonder what ten feels like.