Friday, July 29, 2011

Maggot Zero: How Not to Run

Big Changes are afoot in my professional life, and they are sucking up all of my time. Not a move but a major redirection, and I’ve been struggling with a) do I want this opportunity (that was a big yes) and b) how do I make it happen without disappointing too many people and killing myself in the transition (that was a big HAHAHA, good luck with that!).

I have a couple of balls in the air here at the blog, and they will have to stay suspended for the time being. Instead, I am bringing you a real treat: A special guest post from the best blogger who doesn’t blog, Maggot Zero! She was the person who inspired my very first Maggot post, and she has been running ever since — while ignoring half of my advice. I present her to you as a combination precautionary/inspiring success story (her whole life is kind of like that, in fact).

How Not to Run
by Maggot Zero
You know the scene in every war movie where the hard-nosed drill sergeant informs his recruits that they’re “the worst goddamned group of sorry-ass maggots I’ve ever seen”? I usually roll my eyes and think, “Dude, you probably say that to EVERY group of recruits. Statistically speaking, most new recruits are probably of a comparable level of sorry-ass-itude!” (Yes, I can suck the fun out of a movie like the last few drops of Dr Pepper from an $8 soda.)
When it comes to running, though, I AM the worst goddamned sorry-ass maggot that Sarge has ever seen. I am the sneaker-clad equivalent of the guy who somehow manages to discharge an M16 into the base commander’s Jeep during the second week of basic training. But if my long, colorful history of running mishaps is good for anything — other than delighting my friends, family and people who happen to be driving by as I accidentally inhale gnats and stagger into shrubs — it is as a cautionary tale for YOU, dear Maggots. For the benefit of freshly-minted runners throughout the blogosphere, I present: How NOT to Run.
  • Go Too Fast. Completely ignore DoctorMama’s wise, oft-stated advice to begin running at an embarrassingly slow pace — surely that maxim does not apply to YOU! (Spoiler alert: oh, yes it does.) Despite having no prior athletic experience, rip up and down the streets like a rocket-propelled blancmange. Develop excruciating shin splints. Treat said shin splints by alternating between sprinting and hobbling. Surely THAT is every bit as valid a running technique as “slow and steady,” right? ... right?

  • Refuse to Accept Constructive Criticism. Let’s say you’re a bit ... ungainly. You fall up stairs. You walk into parked cars. You may be the master of your fate and the captain of your soul, but someone ELSE is the captain of your body, and they have a drinking problem and/or some neurological issues. Nonetheless, assume that you know EXACTLY how you should be running. When your friends and family attempt to provide feedback (“I never realized that running looked like ... that”), become extremely hurt and offended. Reschedule your runs for 11:00 PM, when there are fewer souls present to witness your spastic lurching. Several years later, realize that everyone was right. Accept that you have spent years not “running,” per se, but “doing a rapid, horizontally-mobile version of The Robot.” Cry.

  • Don’t Watch Where You’re Going. Run when it’s dark out. On cracked and buckled sidewalks. Adjust your MP3 player constantly. Get distracted by interesting [foliage/constellations/toads]. At least once per week, snag your toe on something, lose your balance and find yourself in a sudden, bloody embrace with the concrete.

  • Don’t Dress Appropriately. Wear all-cotton clothing ... as the commercials say, Cotton is the Fabric of Our Lives. The hot, thick, chafing, poorly-breathable, sweat-accumulating, non-drying fabric. Spend your entire run tugging various folds of sweat-soaked cotton off and/or out of your body’s various nooks and crannies. Between that, the spastic lurching and your impressive collection of road rash scabs, you are TOTALLY HAWT.

  • Don’t Stay Hydrated. Drink nothing the day of your run. Fifteen minutes prior to the run itself, chug a can of warm diet root beer, or possibly a spoonful of icing from the half-empty can in the fridge if no root beer is available.

  • You Know What Might Make a Good Pre-Run Snack? A Dozen Spicy Chicken Wings! Because while there are many reasons to run — for fun, for sport, for your physical and/or mental health — none of them are quite as compelling as “because you’re one agonizing gut-cramp away from accidentally fertilizing your neighbor’s hyacinths.”
The morals I draw from this story?
  1. Listen to me, damn it.
  2. If Maggot Zero is still running after five years of this nonsense, you can run too.


Elizabeth said...

Maggot Zero, I am going to have to politely insist that you start a blog of your own. You gave me a serious case of the church giggles as I read this at work.

sarah said...

thank you- that is fantastic advice. i am resting out an injury and really needed a laugh. so thanks!

kate said...

Oh my god - I just laughed so hard I gagged. Maggot Zero, I salute you.

Anonymous said...

I will never look at a spicy chicken wing in quite the same way again!


Unknown said...

Dear DM- one of the upsides to recently being laid off from work is that I now have no excuse not to run every day (now every other day, per your advice). I would like some advice on how to sustain and improve running, since it's been a couple of years since I did any kind of workout at all.
Two weeks ago, I started running at a local park which has a 1 1/4 mile track, with signage every 1/4 mile. I started shooting for 1/4 intervals running (slowly) and walking (quickly) and have pushed up to as far as 1 mile slow jogging continuously at this point.
If I do that though, I can't sustain any more running for a second circuit, so I don't know if I'm diminishing my cardiovascular return. I've gone beyond any ego issues- I know I'm a dreadful, ugly runner- but I do want to maximize the impact. I'd eventually like to be able to run around the track twice at a steady job, uninterrupted- how do you think I can best build to it?

Richard J. (of Kirsten and Lucy)

DoctorMama said...

You know, I would love to see you and Maggot Zero in a race.
What I want you to do is STEP AWAY FROM THE TRACK. Or rather, jog away. You are looking for frustration, boredom, and defeat on that track.
Go off the leash and run by time only. 15 minutes out in any direction, 15 minutes back home. Build a little time from there bit by bit.
In a few months you can go back to the track and beat its butt, but only for fun, and only once.

kirsten said...

i want to be a maggot too! all the cool kids are maggots!

SarcastiCarrie said...

I am not of the Dr. Mama school of maggot running. I did couch-to-5k. I was awesome, so I trained for months and months (slowly...glacially) and ran an 8k and promptly landed in the doctor's office (not even able to walk in) with tendonitis on the outside of my foot (the tendon over the metatarsal for the pinky toe, I think). I bought new padded shoes (running store people say I supinate) and took 8 weeks off. How do I prevent recurrence 'casuse hot dang, I didn't like that at all?

DoctorMama said...

SC: well ... I'd say do the DoctorMama school instead of the couch to 5k? (Of course I'd say that!) Though the cto5k seems a fine method, maybe something even gentler would be better. (Also: you did an 8k. They only promised a 5k!)

K: you were born cool. which is not to say you shouldn't try it ...

SarcastiCarrie said...

Oh, I should clarify then. I did couch-to-5k, and it went really well. Then over the next 6 months after completing that, I worked up to an 8k. I never increased more than 5% distance in a week.

Mary_Flashlight said...

Oh DoctorMama! I was an all fired up runner (I'm the one who said I was finally running after years of being either pregnant/nursing, or morbidly obese, or all of those combined) and I've had to take off the last month because I ended up having my colon removed because of diverticulitis complications. It still hurts just BEING right now, besides thinking about walking and very slowly running.
So when I'm able, do you have any suggestions for things I should do differently than your normal runner? Or, will I just be a "normal" runner who happens to not have a colon? Thanks!
LOVE that my captcha word is "dopeing" - wish I had better pain meds!

Anonymous said...

I second Elizabeth's motion: Maggot Zero, please please write more! Or start your own blog? I haven't laughed that hard in a while, you are awesome.

- Texas Anon

Anonymous said...

Hello Dr. Mama --

I have been lurking here for about five years, and running for seven. My question is this: after a fairly brisk 5-mile run, I sometimes take a little pause for, say, a stoplight. Then, when I start up again, I feel light-headed. I generally run through it, taking deeper breaths than usual, but what causes this? I figure if it was life-threatening I would have died years ago.

E. said...

I agree with Elizabeth's opening salvo in this comment thread. Maggot Zero needs to start a blog. She is one funny-ass maggot. Her writing in this guest post kinda reminds me of Feral Mom, whom I still get to enjoy in person but whose blog I miss something fierce. (Though she has a running blog, too, which is pretty awesome as well. Wait. Feral Mom, you're not Maggot Zero, are you?)

Anonymous said...

Question re: good running bra...I have not found a good bra that gives me support without making me feel like I couldn't breathe: I bought an Enell bra, but when I wear it, I feel like it's harder to breathe/expand my thorax. suggestions?

snozma said...

Well, I'd say 'don't be too picky if you don't have a choice.'

I wanted to run, it was cold so I wore my wool sweater. My only wool sweater. The one I had at a hotel during a work even that I had to wear later. Screw it. Also, it rained. But if I hadn't thrown caution to the winds I'd never have had that amazing run.

I suck at running, really SUCK. So maybe this is only advice for people who really suck at it and might never get better!

Nurse and Hospital Stories said...

"Don’t Watch Where You’re Going."

haha. Love this tip. Surely, you will get so many things if you obey this advice. Funny list, eh.

Peny@plus size scrubs

OB GYN Canton GA said...

This reminds me of the episode of "Friends" where Phoebe begins running with Rachel and does it all wrong, but she's capturing the joy of running as a kid. Very funny!

Samantha said...

thought you would appreciate this young artists (David Foox) work in raising awareness for organ donation. His creepy cute toys stand 3.25" tall and are one of 24 different body parts.