When Expectations and Reality Clash (A Review of Sorts)

“Kitty! You’re back! Where have you been?”

Oh, just doing a Forrest Gump and running across the country. Except without the running. Or the “across the country”… I’ve actually just been going about my normal life with a few internet-related technical difficulties.

I did run, though.

This past weekend was The Glo Run*, which describes itself as a “sensory overload” and “a course powered with energized colors and effects jumping to music.”

 

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The description is so wildly inaccurate, they may want to be careful about getting some false advertising charges brought against them.

Contrary to the description (and any expectations you might have from the name of the race), The Glo Run is actually 3.1 miles of near total-darkness. The only light comes from the glowing necklaces and bracelets that are handed out with the race packet. In the case of my city, it was also run on an incredibly narrow gravel track. If you’re unfamiliar with this sort of thing, this means that, because there are thousands of runners in a confined space that’s covered in dust, you’re basically running through a giant dust cloud. It’s dark, so you can’t see where you’re going, and watching the disembodied glowing jewelry bobbing up and down in front of you is disorienting at best, nauseating at worst. Alone, that might have been tolerable, but the paths wound between large, stagnant ponds, with no barrier around them. With no light, the only way to even know there was water was from the smell. Perhaps that was the “sensory overload” they referred to?

There were three stations set up as “energy worlds” that were essentially tents or inflatable arches lit with blacklight. One of them had a DJ, the other two had boomboxes. Everyone stopped to take pictures, making for a nice, claustrophobic effect. This is especially true at the final “energy station”, where we had the added bonus of a fog machine on the highest setting. Yes, inside the closed-up tent. I’ll avoid talking about the DJ too much, because hey, maybe he was told to play nothing but bubblegum pop and 90’s hip hop.

The event was poorly organized, which was surprising and disappointing, as it was put on by my favorite running company. Packet pickup was a nightmare, with only a single pickup point, 40 minutes away from the location of the race. Three computers manned by surly, unfriendly staff, and a line that stretched almost the entire length of the strip mall added up to about an hour and a half wait.

The race was held in the middle of the largest park in the city, with no signs or volunteers to direct the parking or to lead you to the event. We got lucky and ended up in the lot directly by the start, so we could see the porta-potties and figured out where the race was.

The course, as mentioned, was on narrow paths rather than on the streets, despite the huge turnout. The paths went across several roads, none of which were blocked to traffic. And the end of the race actually went off the path completely, through a tent, and then… nothing. No finish line, just walk out of the tent, and wander off somewhere.

On the plus side, I did run part of it. Once we got to the total darkness, I had to slow to a walk due to lack of visibility. I also finished fairly quickly just so I could be done and go home. I guess that’s good.

The one good thing I can say about it is that, as always, the people of St. Louis were awesome and fun, and managed to salvage at least part of the evening with interesting chats and a lot of energy. I’ll keep doing races for that, but The Glo Run is definitely crossed off next year’s list.

 

*Not to be confused with The Glow Run 5K or the Electric Run, which are in no way affiliated.

A Walk In The Park

If you’re familiar with the online weight loss community at all, then you know about NSV’s, or Non Scale Victories. These are the things that remind us that we’re making progress, even when the numbers on the scale don’t show it. This is important because, even though some have a goal of losing weight, the overall goal is generally to be healthier, and NSV’s reflect the changes that have occurred in our lives as a result of our work.

I had a lovely little NSV this weekend. I had to take my car to the shop, about half a mile away. The trip there is all downhill, which means coming back is all uphill. A year ago, I would have needed to call a cab or get a friend to pick me up. Six months ago, I could have managed to walk home, but I’d have been struggling to get home in less than half an hour and would have needed to stop and rest a couple of times. Now? I made the walk back in less than ten minutes, sprinted up the steepest part of the route, and then, just so being up early wasn’t wasted, I did another half mile around the neighborhood. And the best part is that the reason I stopped was because I’d only had an hour of sleep and wanted to try to grab a bit more before work, otherwise I could easily have done another mile or two.

This is why I do this. It’s nice to lose weight, look better, fit into smaller sizes, and so on. It’s even better to be able to do the things I couldn’t do before. While a half mile in ten minutes might not be very fast, it’s a lot faster than nowhere at all for years.

Does Coffee Count As Hydration?

I’m not a morning person.

Well, that’s not strictly true. I do just fine with mornings, as long as I’m approaching them from the other side. Mornings are late nights. It’s more accurate to say I’m not a “functional-when-I-first-wake-up person.” As such, I’m in awe of runners (and other athletic types) who get up early and get their workout in at the beginning of the day. I have to cling to the wall just to stop everything spinning as I shuffle from room to room, cursing the daylight. But I figured I’d give it a try today. I set my alarm for an hour earlier than my usual time, and managed to get out of bed after hitting snooze only three times. Stumbled into the living room, sat down at the computer, and seriously contemplated just going back to bed. Then I saw this posted on Facebook:

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I thought about that for a moment, and contemplated the engraving on my ID bracelet:

I Choose To Be Stronger Than My Excuses

And I realized that if I just sat there when I was physically capable of getting up, getting my shoes on, and heading out the door, then I was weak. I accept a lot of my faults, but weakness isn’t one of them.

I got dressed, laced my shoes up, and stumbled out the door. I faltered and ached and wanted to just lie down in the park’s grass and sleep, but I kept going. My route is through a park, with the midway point at a small, man-made lake with a fountain and ducks.

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Yep. Totally worth it.